ei concerts xi records phill niblock experimental intermedia

  Allison Cameron
Raw Sangudo
  1. Raw Sangudo (1986) 8:29
  2. Runa (1990) 16:42
  3. Gibbous Moon (1991) 13:54
  4. The Chamber of Statues (1987) 13:07
  5. A Blank Sheet of Metal (1987) 26:06
Featuring: Sound Pressure, Les Coucous Bénévoles and ARRAYMUSIC

Allison Cameron's compositions can be characterized as rigorous forms within which specific sound worlds are explored. She experiments with the physicality of sound on various instruments, using pithy material to exploit instrumental colours. Most of her works to date have been written for a variety of chamber ensembles encompassing both traditional and unusual groups of instruments.

"Allison Cameron's A Blank Sheet of Metal brought foundries to mind, not for its sounds but its processes. Here, simple materials were hot-forged into something pure, hard and implacable, with all the impurities burnt off. What we heard was the bare essence, pressed into sonorities as well-chosen as they were odd. The first part closed with a long, widely spaced series of smashing chords that were blunt, but indefinitely dense. It was a nervy and powerful finish, leading to a kind of unison blues chant in the shorter second part."

"Cameron takes her ideas and plunges them into darkness. There is nothing objective in this approach. Cameron's music has something to hide. By highlighting only a few musical features while restricting all others, Cameron puts a tiny corner of the musical world into very fine focus. It is like illuminating the universe with a pen-light. Compare this to the barely contained brutality of A Blank Sheet of Metal. This piece is never quiet--its soft moments are full of the tension of loud, powerful, angry arguments being forcibly held back. The restraint is deafening: those moments when the tension erupts or the loopy melody at the end can't clear the ominous air. It is a dark and unclean ritual, a terrifying vision of the world. Allison Cameron's great strength is that she has lifted that lid--slightly, not enough to let the terrifying mixture spill out, but just enough to give a sense of the darkness, the dirt, and the raw, crude power of real life.

"[M]ost to my taste was Allison Cameron's The Chamber of Statues, a quiet, spooky piece for sextet--a high-tension-wire drone with jagged outcroppings."

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