It’s been a busy few months and it’s great to have received a bunch of reviews of some recent work!
Sideband’s debut CD reviewed on The Music Trust website, 3/3/2016:
Tristan Coelho was inspired by a rather bleak poem The Writer’s Hand by British poet David Gascoyne: “. . . five pale, effete / Aesthetic-looking fingers, whose chief feat / Is to trace lines like these across the page . . .” The subject matter is basically about writer’s block, which the composer has probably experienced given that he selected this text – but no longer, because here we have a striking work, unsettling and powerful. We sense the struggle. Are they laughing or are they crying? The vivid performances by Susannah Lawergren and Anna Fraser (sopranos), Lanneke Jones (mezzo-soprano) with their conductor Roland Peelman, are outstanding.
The intriguing sounds of bass recorder and vibraphone are Coelho’s choice for As the Dust Settles, evoking the effect of a reddish haze caused by a dust storm over the east coast of Australia and the eventual emergence of shapes through the blur. The unusual partnership of instruments creates a captivatingly dreamy soundscape. The piece was commissioned by Alicia Crossley for her 2015 CD release entitled Addicted to Bass where she was partnered by Joshua Hill; here she plays it with Brad Gill.
A review of the CD by Limelight magazine, 22/12/2015:
Tristan Coelho commands attention: his 2011 As the Dust Settles for bass recorder and vibraphone presents one of the most engaging soundworlds in the programme. Alicia Crossley’s playing is wildly virtuosic, engaging in erratic dialogue with Gill’s vibraphone. In The Writer’s Hand, Coelho fragments three female voices, creating a maddening counterpoint that pits spitting consonants against a strange lyricism.
read/write error, commissioned and performed by Ensemble Offspring, reviewed on Syke On Stage, 16/11/2015:
Tristan Coelho’s read/write error was last, but by no means least. ‘Glitchy and beat-driven’, according to its composer, ‘that draws upon ideas surrounding the digital, data-driven world’ and his assertion seems to be evident from the very first, with its unpredictable, at once industrial and musical sound profile: thumping bass drum; slapped snare; clashing, splashing cymbal; ’pushed’ flute; rasping bass clarinet (the dij was back); by turns, trickling and trenchant piano. As jagged, broken and angular as showering shards of smashed glass, there’s an essential, internal contradiction: the path seems capricious and random, yet as well-laid and deliberate as the proverbial yellow brick road. It reminds us of the liberating grandeur of the chaotic and entropic: it may’ve been inspired by bits & bytes, but has a deep connection to the universe we’re lost in (even if we flatter ourselves with the notion of being found). It certainly, to my mind, embodies ‘new’ music, whatever that may be: as Coelho postulates, ‘the warbling tune of a fridge’, ‘crunchy explosions of a gearbox’, ‘gritty strains of a tired, old printer’, or ‘stuttering hard-drive losing its mind’ are musical too.
Lloyd Bradford Syke
From The Sydney Morning Herald, 27/10/15:
Tristan Coelho’s Read/Write Error introduced even more pronounced rhythm and pulse with a statement serving as a kind of theme, sharply articulated by two drum strokes each time it recurred. The ensuing Read/Write Errors veered off in new directions not unlike a set of variation, with taps, scattered sounds and irregular length and emphasis, and occasionally by short interludes.
treetops/rooftops, performed by Alicia Crossley and Emily Granger, reviewed by Limelight magazine, 12/10/15:
Tristan Coelho’s Treetops/Rooftops aims to subvert the gentle stereotypes of both these instruments, using a range of preparations to distort the familiar sonorities of the harp and recorder into a more exotically percussive spectrum. Coelho’s expert control of colour and timbre yields a surprising scope of different tones, giving the music a patina of alien complexity, while using rhythmic simplicity and repetition to luxuriate in this bizarre, yet highly effective palette.