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CD Reviews: Noah Creshevsky/If, Bwana 

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Noah Creshevsky/If, Bwana Favorite Encores
(Pogus Productions, 2008)
Pitting New York electroacoustic composer/audio collagist Noah Creshevsky against his Chester-based peer Al Margolis—aka If, Bwana—this split release on Margolis’s Pogus Productions label is an aural field day for those who revel in the more challenging strata of new music. The pieces on Favorite Encores all subscribe to the compositional aesthetic known as Hyperrealism, a term Creshevsky himself coined to denote “an electroacoustic musical language constructed from sounds that are found in our shared environment (‘realism’), handled in ways that are somehow exaggerated or excessive (‘hyper’).”

As Margolis’s liner notes further explain, within the Hyperrealist approach lie two basic genres: The first uses the manipulated sounds of traditional instruments (e.g., the raspy processed piano samples in If, Bwana’s evocatively titled “Scraping Scarfide”); the other technique creates “imaginary” orchestrations by plundering raw sonic material from a wider variety of musical sources (e.g., Creshevsky’s circular and highly rhythmic “Shadow of a Doubt,” which slices, dices, and stirs up symphonic crescendoes along with snippets of skittering violin and operatic voices). Alternating in presentation between the two artists, the seven boldly experimental, lengthy tracks here—the longest at just over 15 minutes—offer ample evidence of how, to quote Margolis, “Hyperrealism celebrates bounty, either by the extravagant treatment of limited sound palettes or by the assembling and manipulating of substantially extended palettes.”

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  • Peter Aaron reviews Favorite Encores by Noah Creshevsky and If, Bwana.


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