Music by Phill Niblock
Music by Phill Niblock features The Soldier String Quartet performing in Five More String Quartets, a piece for five multi-tracked string quartets and in Early Winter for flute, bass flute, string quartet and synthesizer, also featuring Susan Stenger-flute and Eberhard Blum-bass flute.
In Five More String Quartets the musicians are tuned to specific pitches by calibrated sine tones as they play and the sound they produce is recorded, unprocessed, to multitrack tape. The piece is built up by means of multitrack recording. Early Winter has a different structure: a mixing of recorded instruments, computer controlled electronic instruments, and live instruments in the studio.
"...The first of the two long pieces, played by the Soldier String Quartet and subsequently processed by Niblock, sounds like a hive of mellow bees. An initial tone cluster played by the strings undergoes microtonal, almost imperceptible shifts in pitch over 25 minutes. With the instruments all moving gradually away from their initial pitch and toward another, various harmonics and overtones emerge, then fade, creating beat frequency oscillations and other strange auditory effects. The second piece, Early Winter, is even more extreme, with 51 individual "voices" (computer-generated, live and recorded) creating what the composer calls a "thick mush" of sound and sustaining a single, textured drone for 45 minutes...."