GOLDSTEIN: Configurations in Darkness; Ishi/timechangingspaces; Ishi/”man waxati” Soundings. Malcolm Goldstein, solo violin; Radu Malfatti, trombone; Philippe Micol, bass clarinet; Philippe Racine, flute; Beat Schneider, violoncello. New World 80676. 69 minutes.
Malcolm Goldstein’s experience as an extraordinary violinist/improviser (or is that “improvising violinist”?) informs every moment of his a sounding of sources disc on New World Records. His playing and composing is vital, visionary, and eminently listenable.
The first piece on the disc is Configurations in Darkness. The first two tracks comprise two performance of this score, part of which is included in the accompanying booklet. The score provides pitch materials and time frames for activities, and the resulting controlled improvisation is a teeming soundworld full of folk references, modernist dissonance, and free-floating expression. Goldstein’s collaborators (Radu Malfatti, trombone, Philippe Micol, bass clarinet, Philippe Racine, flute, and Beat Schneider, cello) are fine musicians, attuned to improvisation and to Goldstein’s musical world.
Ishi/timechangingspaces is an electronic sound collage produced for West German Radio and realized in their Cologne studio. Like many of the classical electronic pieces made in that studio, Goldstein’s piece uses found sounds (here including singing from the last member of the Yahi tribe) to create an expressive soundscape that compels us to listen.
The final work on this disc, Ishi/”man waxati” Soundings, is a reworking of Ishi/timechangingspaces into a controlled improvisation, played by Goldstein himself, with vocal interjections as well as violin sounds. It is a fascinating and expressive rethinking of the electronic work.