Joan Jeanrenaud, cello & effects – Strange Toys – Talking House Records

by | Aug 8, 2008 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

Joan Jeanrenaud, cello & effects – Strange Toys – Talking House Records THR0806-014A, 1 hr ****:  

(With William Winant, vibes & marimba; PC Munoz, beats; Alex Kelly, cello; William Skeen & Joanna Blendulf, viola da gambas; Paul Dresher, quadrachord, John Donne, text)

Cellist Jeanrenaud left the leading modern string quartet Kronos some years back, and this is her second CD since the new turn in her career.  Both make use of electronics, overdubbing, and looping in the creation of new sounds, but the previous album had only one original work by Jeanrenaud, and in this one all 14 tracks are by the cellist. The majority of them are performed solo, with some added effects created by the performer.

From that description the CD sounds terribly avant-garde, but most of the pieces are really like gentle little mini-soundtracks for movies in your mind. Jeanrenaud found that she liked to experiment with layers of sound and found sounds. She began with improvisations, but these eventually  led to her compositions.  Many of the pieces establish a repetitive groove, with Jeanrenaud playing long-lined melodies on top of the basic rhythms.  The results are fresh and quite listenable – a worthwhile part of the general effort many cellists have been making to expand the original narrow concept of their instrument.

TrackList: Sling Shot, Axis, Kaleidoscope, Transition, Tug of War, Dervish, Ink Blot, Blue Kite, Livre, Waiting, Rainkids, Air & Angels, Vermont Rules, Trottola

 – John Sunier

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