American Record Guide; 1/1/2004; Josh Mailman

High-tech electroacoustic music fills the new disc by James Brody. Yet it sounds more physical than technical. It reminds me somehow of the distant and lonely sound world of Vladamir Ussachevsky's musique concrete of the 1960s, except that Brody's sounds attract the ear more--no surprise after 40 years of technological development. Brody's real inspiration is Xenakis, to whom be dedicates Syllepsis, the longest and most recent piece. Over the course of a quarter of an hour, it builds up several layers, creating a white heat of intensity that only barely subsides in the last few seconds. What pleases me most about Brody's music, however, is how it straddles the divide between deadly seriousness and whimsical humor. Perhaps for that reason I prefer Turnings. Brody created it using the Metasynth software package "which enables one to work in the graphics domain". It's a gentle barrage of quick bleeps, bursts, squiggles, shakes, saws, and low drones--ear-candy for the electroacoustic music aficionado. All of the music on this release explores percussive sounds--acoustic, electronic, or both together. Yet two of the works also display Brody's fondness for pulse rhythms. Supposedly, Theta Ticker explores possible correlations between musical rhythm and brain waves; I hear it as an exploration of evenly spaced percussive pulses layered together. I found some of the other works on this release slightly tedious and the writing for flute in A Glance into the Garden rather generic. But these disappointments did not mar my overall enjoyment. If you already enjoy electroacoustic or percussion music, then you won't want to miss this well-produced release; but it won't change your mind if you're not already a devotee.

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