Dreamfall is the fourth full-length release and third album of chamber repertoire from New York City new music mainstays NOW Ensemble.
1) Still In Here (Scott Smallwood)
2) Dreamfall I (Mark Dancigers)
3) Dreamfall II (Mark Dancigers)
4) Dreamfall III (Mark Dancigers)
5) Divine the Rest (John Supko)
6) Trans-Atlantic Flight of Fancy (Nathan Williamson)
7) Pale As Centuries (Sarah Kirkland Snider)
8) Trust Fall (Andrea Mazzariello)
9) City Boy (Judd Greenstein)
Dreamfall is the fourth full-length release and third album of chamber repertoire from New York City new music mainstays NOW Ensemble. Sprawling in scope and ambition, the 76-minute album features seven composers - Scott Smallwood, Mark Dancigers, John Supko, Nathan Williamson, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Andrea Mazzariello and Judd Greenstein - and is by far most expansive and ambitious record for the group to date.
The ensemble -- comprised of Mark Dancigers (guitar), Michael Mizrahi (piano), Alexandra Sopp (flute) and Logan Coale (double bass) -- is currently in their 10th year as a group, but although it's cause for celebration, it's hardly cause to slow down. To ring in Dreamfall's release, the group will take to the Greene Space at WQXR on June 15, 2015 for an event hosted by Q2's Helga Davis. In addition to a performance by the ensemble, the event will feature interviews with many of the Dreamfall's composers.
The group has many more projects scheduled down the line, including a collaboration on an opera with composer Judd Greenstein, a collaboration with GRAMMY-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth at the Skaneateles Festival in Skaneateles, NY on August 22, a collaboration with the Los Angeles Opera on Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek's Song From the Uproar, and more. The full list of their performances can be found below, with more to be announced soon.
Following the release of composer Missy Mazzoli's opera Song from the Uproar in 2012 and the critically-acclaimed collection Awake in 2011, Dreamfall stakes out a striking new landscape for the group. Ranging from ferocious to meditative to grooving and beautiful, the album is similar to the life of the ensemble itself over the past few years: pulsing with an urgent message, a desire to open up, be heard, and to share the sounds of unmediated musical worlds.
In the liner notes for the album, NOW Ensemble composer and guitarist Mark Dancigers explains that "dreamfall" is an outlook on the world. He writes: "It is a state of immense freedom... The sounds on this record reflect this freedom, this sense of something a little out of our hands, and, beyond all else, the practice of making music that is NOW Ensemble."
For the past 10 years, NOW Ensemble has worked tirelessly to craft a tightly-honed aesthetic. Dreamfall is the sound of the group letting go of the reins just a little and allowing a more free exchange between the conscious and subconscious.
"Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Pale As Centuries is the album’s most striking piece. Its wary guitar theme recedes for Terry Riley-ish upper-register circles, clarinet floating amid piano turbulence and eerie concentric circles just below: it wouldn’t be out of place in the Darcy James Argue catalog."
"...The music grew and fell in waves, the eclectic selection of instruments (flute, clarinet, electric guitar, piano and double bass) perfectly mingling, full of cycles and patterns that all slotted together beautifully. A minute or so after the piece began, I knew that I would love it – not because I could predict what would happen, but because I could tell that this piece fit within a category of modern music that I enjoy."
"Sarah Kirkland Snider’s ‘Pale As Centuries’ was the standout, based on a beguiling five-chord melody subtly amplified and developed."
"Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Pale as Centuries gets a lot of mileage out of the simple guitar figure that opens the work. [The piece] builds in intensity and drive as the full ensemble enters, expanding the opening figure and introducing new material all while moving from musical collage to a single, organic musical statement."
"From its opening guitar notes, Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Pale As Centuries conjures the ornate beauty of antiquity and strips it away to show every layer and bone."
"The ensemble again switches gears for Sarah Kirkland Snider’s “Pale as Centuries,” a musical collage that combines diverse, distinctive, and sometimes even mismatched melodic fragments into a single cohesive image."