Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Rock-N-Roll with a Classical Patrol
John D. Dooley | Southern California United States | 04/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is different stuff...but I like it a lot. In fact, I like Steve Martland's music more than Phillip Glass. Phillip Glass was great for a start but once he became famous, all the songs sound the same. At least with Steve Martland the music is always different. The 1st section called "Danceworks" is simple Classical music with a rock beat, very jumpy & danceable, almost comical at times. The highlight is "Patrol", this is what many normally think as Classical music. This piece is the most haunting, loneliest piece of music I ever heard. At times the music seems like Arvo Part with its starkness, specially with the violins, yet Steve Martland holds onto his originality. Let me write it this way; if you want something different & feel very depress, either play "Danceworks" to left your spirits or if you want to remain depressed play "Patrol" to explore the uniqueness & mystery of your soul."
Nothing you haven't heard before, but some of it rather effe
Discophage | France | 01/05/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Steve Martland's controversial reputation was established in 1989 when the now-defunct, cult Manchester-based and mostly rock-devoted Factory label published its CD # 266, containing the composer's Babi Yar for large orchestra and Drill for two pianos (see my review of the Catalyst reissue: Steve Martland: Babi Yar/Drill). A few more CDs followed on Factory (including the one titled "Crossing the Border", also reissued by Catalyst - see my review of Crossing the Border). The three pieces included on "Patrol" were recorded in 1993 and released by Catalyst, a label from bmg that seemed to try to surf on the wave of "rock-meets-classical" that had brought Martland into the limelight (I'm not sure the label exists anymore).
"Danceworks" is a series of 4 short (5 to 6 minutes) pieces of mainly brass-colored, repetitive music based on simple, even simplistic melodic cells and hocketing rhythmic figures - many off-beat syncopations, but nothing more elaborate than Bossa Nova. It is reminiscent of Steve Reich. I personally find it easy to hear and entertaining, but very predictable and hence rapidly boring, but those with a taste for Reich will no doubt warm up to it more than I did. "Principia", which lasts 3:05, very much follows the same model and compositional processes. It must be a favourite of Martland, as he recorded it no less than three times (once on "Crossing the Border", and then on "Horses of Instruction" in 2001 for Black Box - see my review)
"Patrol" is a long (32:30) piece written for string quartet, instructed to play without vibrato. It is quite unique in Martland's oeuvre, in that it is dominated by music that is often slow-moving and poignantly dirge-like in atmosphere (try track 6 at 1:12, a passage sometimes evocative of Barber, or the third movement, tracks 11 to 13) rather than the percussive, high-energy style so typical of Martland. The latter is present, to be sure, and some of the compositional processes at work involve shortening of note value over constant ground-bass, giving the impression of accelerating music (track 9). "Patrol" conjures echoes of Britten's string quartets (try track 13, with violin and viola playing in unison in their upper registers, recalling the Andante sostenuto in Britten's first or the Allegro calmo senza rigore of his second) and even Janacek (track 10 at 2:22), but it really often sounds like the kind of music the Kronos Quartet likes to commission and perform, and especially like the string quartets of Terry Riley (played by the Kronos Quartet on Elektra/Nonesuch). There is nothing in Martland's Patrol that doesn't give me the impression that I've heard it before, but if not entirely original the whole is rather effective and quite pleasant to hear.
Good, thoroughly informative notes on the compositions.