Music News

Stephen Scott

On paper, Scott's approach to music-making -- members of his ten-piece Bowed Piano Ensemble saw, hammer and pick at the strings of an open grand piano -- seems like little more than a stunt. On CD, it's anything but. Scott, a professor at Colorado College, has found a way to turn a single instrument into the equivalent of an entire orchestra, and he uses it to create classical music of a particularly forward-looking type.

Paisajes Audibles incorporates spoken word and the operatic warbling of soprano Victoria Hansen to evoke the wild landscape of Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands. This is a first for Scott, and it shows. Some vocal tracks work better than others, with the evocative fragment "El Aparato Caballeresco" and the stirring "Salida" outdistancing "Cenicero" and "Le Canaris," in which the singing tends to overwhelm the instrumentation. Perhaps that's why "Entrada" is such a delight. The offering is a deliberately paced soundscape accented by melodic plucking and a steady, pulsing rhythm.

Paisajes Audibles isn't an unalloyed triumph, but its creator maintains his status as a sonic innovator and a true Colorado original.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts