Published Jul 28, 2017Hailing from Montreal, Adrian Copeland makes snarling, feral post-classical music as Alder & Ash. His second full-length release, Clutched in the Maw of the World, takes a minimalist approach, using just a cello to stir up a dynamic range of sounds that draw equally from classical traditions and the iconoclastic sound manipulations of early rock (distorting that which is not typically distorted) and experimental drone and jazz music more interested in timbre than melody. Think Colin Stetson working his urgent, exploratory magic with wood and strings rather than brass and wind, and you're in the right stereocilia petting zoo.
Copeland's haunting, expressive leads are so memorably contoured that they'd serve wonderfully as solo cello pieces, but it's when he thrums up frazzled swaths of rhythmic, distorted and otherwise sonically manipulated accompaniment that Alder & Ash reveals its unique, wild soul. Clutched in the Maw of the World is a bold work from an exciting new voice in contemporary composition, and one that should find receptive ears in fans of the sort of punk-influenced post-classical music that would sound quite at home on the Constellation records roster. (Lost Tribe Sound)