After a startling 25 year career, it is no exaggeration to say that composer Michael Gordon has already profoundly changed the contemporary classical music scene. This fall, Gordon remains discontent to rest. His newest album, Timber, will be released physically today, August 30, on the Cantaloupe label. Also today, a live recording of his work "The Sad Park" will be available on iTunes until December 31. The Kronos Quartet will perform "The Sad Park" at the 2011 Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) September 21 through 24.
The rhythmically experimental "Timber" is scored for six wooden 2x4s. First used in classical music by composer Iannis Xenakis and inspired by instruments from the Greek Orthodox church called Simantras, these different sized 2x4s each have a slightly different pitch. By subtly shifting the accent of sound from one player to another, Gordon is able to create a complex meditation on sound and rhythm. An excerpt of "Timber" can be found here.
Mantra Percussion, one of the commissioners of the piece, will tour the piece nationally. On August 9, 2011, the group performed "Timber" at the Upper West Side Apple Store, and the same week played at the Lowe's Hardware store in Alexandria, VA. The disc has been available exclusively on iTunes since August 2, and physical copies will be available beginning today. The physical CD is housed in a one-pound wooden case, intricately designed to become a collector's item. The CD will not be released in a traditional casing or in cardboard, making owning the album almost as much an original experience as seeing the piece live. Timber was recently featured on NPR's "All Things Considered", reviewed by Time Out Chicago, and selected by WQXR's Q2 as Album of the Week this week.