Dan Trueman

Machine Language

BY Glen HallPublished Dec 1, 2004

If you’re looking at the title of this CD thinking, "Is this a Lou Reed Machine Metal Music clone?” forget it. Machine Language is a collection of string ensemble works by electric violinist/laptopist/composer Dan Trueman. The six pieces range from the pastoral quietude of "Spring Rhythm,” played by the Brentano String Quartet, to the visceral intensity of "A Cappella,” as interpreted by the Tarab Cello Ensemble. The piece "Machine Language,” for two violins (one electric), cello and percussion, is the product of Trueman’s interest in using the language of computer algorrhythms. They are used to structure musical events that are made up of periods of relative stasis — sustained pitches entering and exiting — punctuated by sections of relative rhythmic activity. In this and in other pieces here, trace elements of composer George Crumb can be heard in the transcendental feeling of suspension produced by certain high, yearning string voicings. Trueman’s laptop is put to work in "Traps,” as it transposes pitches in a real-time game of hide and seek. Machine Language rarely gets intense, staying mostly in the domain of post-minimalist, pellucid atmospheres of overtones with brief excursions into folkloric melodicism. This is a well-balanced acoustic environment.

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