Georgia Rodgers: September (digital, Another Timbre, November 2021)

Big ups to Another Timbre for putting together this entrancing set of performances of works from across Georgia Rodgers’s decade-plus-long composing career.

There’s a decidedly minimal/drone flavour to this record, but there’s a wide variety of styles within that. The opening number, the punningly (I assume) titled Base, is a slow-burner for bassoon and double bass. The title of Three Pieces for String Quartet is deadpan but also seems somewhat tongue-in-cheek, since for the first and third pieces the players make pretty much any sound you can make with a string instrument other than by bowing or plucking it in a conventional manner. There is a lot of rubbing. A lot of friction. Yay. Elsewhere we get lots of strings (bows included, for the most part) and piano, with one-off appearances for each of flute, ‘sine waves’ (their just-the-right-side-of-painful incisions contrast wonderfully with the stately piano line on Ringinglow), ‘electronics’ (Logistic, performed by Rodgers herself: I’m guessing it’s maybe mostly sample manipulation but I’m not at all sure), vocals (very much used as an instrument, all ‘oooo’s and ‘eeee’s), and percussion (wood blocks, and what appears to be a really really bassy kettledrum). Much of the music is played by members of Apartment House, who look like the label’s house band.

This is music which isn’t remotely afraid of abstraction, but it’s never willfully difficult, and it has a subtle power which I find it hard to explain, except to say that I find myself listening intently, and little flashbacks of its elegant juxtapositions will keep popping into my head long after it’s over.

I bought this via Bandcamp.

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