Music and Vision homepage

Record Box

Well Produced

The structured improvisations
of Alexandra Gardner,
reviewed by

Innova    innova 662

Luminoso - Alexandra Gardner. © 2006 Alexandra Gardner

Born in 1967, Alexandra Gardner's particular interest is the exploration of electronics, sampled and processed sounds and the computer generated material which, on this disc at least, is featured in combination with solo instruments providing what she calls in her note on one of the six pieces here 'structured improvisation'. That seems to be true of all these tracks, inspired by and produced during her residence in Barcelona 2002 to 2004, motivated by performers and composers she lived among there, and where she had access to the IUA Phonos Foundation studios.

Each track features a different solo instrument surrounded by studio sounds of one kind or another. Luminoso is for guitar (Enrique Malo Lop) and sampled sounds, an arresting opening that turns into a descending carillon [listen -- track 1, 0:00-1:09].

Tourmaline features the saxophone, Ayehli ('other wing' or a twin to the Cherokee) is the marimba and Ónice (or onyx) is Harry Sparnaay's bass clarinet. There are intriguing overlayered sounds conjured from the trombone by Carlos Gil Ferrer with electronic assistance in Snapdragon [listen -- track 5, 5:08-6:29] and the longest piece, New Skin, is a sunrise meditation for alto flute (Barbara Held) and computer, realised by Alexandra Gardner herself. This 'combines recordings of dawn from various locations, digitally processed gong and percussion' which together with the live flute follow the growing light of day, evoking rituals of sunrise [listen -- track 6, 5:05-6:28].

It's effectively picturesque as sonic decoration -- but in the end the question 'what musically does this aimless improvisation achieve' has to be answered with a definite 'nowhere'. Technically the CD is well produced and sounds good.

Copyright © 10 May 2007 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


Alexandra Gardner - Luminoso

innova 662 Stereo NEW RELEASE 61'58" 2006 Alexandra Gardner

Enrique Malo Lop, guitar; Xelo Giner, saxophone; Robert Armengol, marimba; Harry Sparnaay, bass clarinet; Carlos Gil Ferrer, trombone; Barbara Held, alto flute; Alexandra Gardner, computer

Alexandra Gardner (born 1967): Luminoso (2003) for guitar and sampled sounds; Tourmaline (2004) for soprano saxophone and computer sound; Ayehli (2002) for marimba and sampled sounds; Ónice (2003) for bass clarinet and processed sounds; Snapdragon (2002) for trombone and electronics; New Skin (2003-4) - a sunrise meditation for alto flute and computer



 << Music & Vision home      Recent CD reviews       Enescu >>

Download a free realplayer 

For help listening to the sound extracts here,
please refer to our questions & answers page.

Record Box is Music & Vision's regular series of shorter CD reviews