Bowie is already symphonic. But last night another color was added to his music, a rich and adventurous density that easily and forcefully connected high and popular culture.
Evan Ziporyn founded THE AMBIENT ORCHESTRA in January 2016 as a People’s Orchestra for the 21st Century. Our repertoire is the 'hidden-in-plain-sight' recorded masterworks of ambient music, electronica, progressive rock, fusion jazz, and world music. We seek to transform this treasure trove of beloved recorded repertoire into large-ensemble, live human performance, to help audiences connect to the intensity - and necessity - of the orchestral idiom.
Ziporyn has built his career from the outset around ideals of cultural cross-pollination, in his own work as a composer for both Western instruments and Balinese gamelan, and in his active performing life as a clarinetist.
Exuberant blast of metal fireworks.
Spider’s Canvas is truly the most collaborative project I’ve ever been involved in. It’s not just interdisciplinary but literally interspecies. The real ‘first mover’ was the spider herself. In performance, all four humans have an equal effect on everything the audience sees and hears.
Ziporyn began with slow, pure tones, resonant stabs piercing the silence before branching out with more virtuosic language, showcasing a remarkable facility. He picked up the bass clarinet to open a suite of nine movements composed by Christine Southworth, the first of which featured dizzying, pre-recorded harmonies of what sounded like a Cambodian choir. Ziporyn's dark, elastic phrasing and rhythmic pad-popping cycled over many layers of marimba sounds, thumb-pianos, assorted percussion and the swirl of spoken voices. The suite was an unqualified creative success.
“Ziporyn’s arrangement draws out the epic sweep, translating Bowie’s introspection into letters big enough for sky-writing. It turns out the combination of cutting edge classical music and the work of an arty rock hero can sound pretty sweet”
"Distilled insights of a hybrid music come of age"
Exuberant blast of metal fireworks.
“intoxicating… Mr. Ziporyn’s music achieves alchemies of sound and spirit. The security with which Mr. Ziporyn moves between musical poles, and the subtlety with which he unites them...”
“the highlight for me was Tire Fire, a 1994 work by Evan Ziporyn, played by his ensemble, Gamelan Galak Tika – a fusion of Balinese gamelan, electric guitar, electric bass and keyboard – the work swings thrillingly between cacophony and lyricism: a portrait of cultural exchange always in flux.”
“Evan Ziporyn's three-movement "Breathing Space" is an attractive hybrid of Minimalist simplicity and Neo-Classical elegance with an invitingly meditative inner movement, "Night Sit.”
“Using his own lungs, overdubs, and a bit of echo, Ziporyn coaxes sounds from the instrument you've never imagined. The instrument shrieks and howls, shaking at times with resonant overtones and fluttering at others in delicate curlicues of music. The lowly clarinet, it turns out, can growl like an Australian didgeridoo, splat like a snowball, yelp like a dog, shake you awake, or lull you into a gentle trance.
As a member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Ziporyn has rubbed shoulders with artists like Brian Eno, Don Byron, and the Kronos Quartet. You can hear echoes of each as you listen. You'll also hear elements of minimalism, as well as touches of Balinese Gamelan, Pakistani qawwali and American funk.
This is not a Clarinet, it turns out, is an accurate title after all, for what you once knew as a modest musical instrument becomes an entree to a world of intriguing, innovative sound.”
“Tire Fire, a flamboyant fusion of Balinese gamelan and rock guitars into something new, personal and exhilarating…a shimmering culture clash”