Michael Vincent Waller, Trajectories (Recital)
Here, this Brooklyn-based classical composer seems to have found his form—stouter than the early EPs, more concise than 2015’s sprawling The South Shore. Perhaps his game players—pianist R. Andrew Lee, cellist Seth Parker Woods—make a difference as well. Playful and painterly, Trajectories feels like a journey, its stark suites and standalone frugging and pirouetting like candle flames, searing their resolute essences into memory.
And while the felicity of the “Visages” pieces held the most immediate appeal for me, there’s a special, meditative quality to the way “Breathing Trajectories—Part II” mines surprise from trilled, sour chords. Apropos of nothing, something I’ve just realized: the lower register motif from opener “by Itself” somewhat resembles Brian Eno’s “Fickle Sun (II) The Hour is Thin.”
Mia Zabelka, Cellular Resonance (Little Crackd Rabbit)
Finding one’s footing while Cellular Resonance plays is a losing proposition. Violins and guitars rest at the base of this latest from Vienna’s Mia Zabelka, but they’re tortured and distended to extremes, like extenuated versions of Glenn Branca symphonies. The mix, courtesy of co-producer/co-composer Lydia Lunch, hacks up violin violence and shocks of noise, even as there’s little sense of floors or walls: you are herky-jerking somewhere in vague space. Seltzer-submerged drone poem “Cellular Resonance #4” aside, Resonance is best when firmly maximalist-minded. Check the fractal, resin-scorched havoc “Cellular Resonance #5” brings to bear, or how the industrial-metal loop-de-woooooo “Cellular Resonance #2” threatens to sprain eardrums and peel paint from hubcaps. What life is all about.