Elliot Cole – Nightflower

On January 25, 2019, Long Echo Records released composer Elliot Cole’s debut solo album, Nightflower. This album occupies the vague space between the generated and constructed, and lives up to its own claim in “defying the notion of computer music as inherently sterile or mechanical.” At the root of all these works, written entirely for human performers, are materials that were generated by a computer program of Cole’s design. The album opens with the kinetic, lyric, and mesmerizing Bloom, a trio for guitar, cello, and clarinet. Performances by Cabezas, Chernyshev, and Dodson are at times aggressive and urgent, tender and longing, and still when need buoyant and playful. These compositions are certainly not inherently sterile or mechanical, but the performers contribution to the human element in the music throughout this album is undeniable. After such a powerful opening to the album, Night (Corners) and Night (Flowers) disappoint in comparison. Billed as surreal, sprawling, and evoking Romantic piano nocturnes, the work instead scans as plodding despite Andrea Lodge’s carefully considered, introspective performance.


Flowerpot Music won me back over almost immediately, and is what I would consider to be the heart of this album. Cole is known for his percussion music, and the uninitiated will understand why after this five minute piece. The unique timbres of the flowerpots and the cathedral-like reverberation provide an immediate intrigue that gives space for Cole to play with pitch, duration, pulse, and repetition to great effect. The album closes with Facets, for solo piano. Like the “Night” pieces, Facets is also meditative and introspective, but a broader range of textures, dynamics, and tempi work to make a more engaging piece by comparison. Hanick’s performance expertly contextualizes these elements into a singular, cohesive arc, and is a fitting conclusion to this album.



Gabriel Cabezas, cello

Stanislav Chernyshev, clarinet

Jordan Dodson, guitar


Night (Corners) & Night (Flowers)

Andrea Violet Lodge, piano


Flowerpot Music

Jacob Harpster, percussion

Matt Penland, percussion



Conor Hanick, piano