A dancing horse with muscles: Steve Martland

In a live performance from (Le)Poisson Rouge with the Bang On A Can All-Stars back in February, here’s Steve Martland‘s bristling Horses of Instruction.

Combining Martland’s typically brash, modern sound with a fearsomely inventive rhythmic sense, some punchy writing for electric bass, and a touch of minimalism in the marimba, piano and electric guitar, this is a piece that burns with energy. It still reflects the lingering impact of Martland’s learning with Dutch master Louis Andriessen, in the combination of electronic and acoustic instruments, the relentless rhythmic impetus and homophonic textural writing – shades of Andriessen’s epic Hoketus appear. But there’s a vibrancy to the piece that means, for all its muscular strength, it remains light-footed and dances nimbly.

There’s more from the same concert as well as an archive of live concerts over on Q2, which is heartily recommended for those interested in exploring new music, although be warned: browsing the concerts will take over most of your day, even your week: what pleasure for the ears…


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