Morgan Evans-Weiler – Unfinished Variations (for Jed Speare)

"The remarkable Boston violinist and composer Morgan Evans-Weiler doesn’t have a score for this record, but its focus is ultra-precise. The piece, dedicated to the stalwart experimentalist Jed Speare, a close friend of the musician and who died in 2016, is a rigorous exploration of pitch, specifically in the microtonal complexity of the simplest bowed gestures. Evans-Weiler relies on a handful of simple pitch variations from memory, but ultimately the results don’t rely on any sort of melodic movement. Rather, the violinist pulls his bow across the strings in richly striated tones both gentle and piercing, marbled by a bounty of sounds—high-pitched squeals, abraded drags, intensely ringing double stops—that eventually bypass the lack of compositional shape to create an enveloping experience all its own.

Evans-Weiler explained that “the performance of the piece is specifically dictated by my experience of the repetitions and the fatigue that accompanies,” and that certainly can apply to the listener, whose level of engagement depends on a certain freshness of the ears, the volume of playback, and attention level. The performance draws heavily on psychoacoustics, where an immersion in the sounds creates an almost psychedelic experience—where the bowed violin seems to produce ever-fattening tones, both viscous and biting. Extended passages are interrupted by brief moments of silent repose, with the violinist changing his fingering before embracing a slightly different pitch—it also allows the listener to recalibrate and retrench for another study that builds in volume and attack. It’s probably not for everyone, but the degree of focus and the richness of Evans-Weiler’s sound-worlds are nothing short of astonishing." – Peter Margasak, Bandcamp Daily

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Morgan Evans-Weiler / violin

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released November 1, 2017

Available as 320k MP3 or 16bit FLAC