David Rosenbloom (Baltimore, 1949), a former guitarist on Glenn Branca's symphonies, has
carried out parallel careers in folk, rock and avantgarde music.
Rosenbloom's essential recording is probably Departure; Souls of Chaos (Neutral, 1984 - Dark Roots, 2001).
Departure (1981), which uses text from a gnostic Gospel, is scored for eight voices, three flutes, two oboes, two violins, cello, two doublebasses, soprano sax, French horn, organ, percussion.
The first movement opens with a shocking sequence of sounds: a rapid-fire chorus of female voices, thunderous drumming, droning guitars. The rest of the
movement is a descent into a maelstrom, the instrument banging and droning
in a sinister manner. The second movement is driven by the strings: the violins
and the cello create a sense of suspense, which then the winds transform into
a medieval atmosphere. Vocal sounds and guitar repetition.
The third movement boasts an intriguing, playful polyphony of voices and percussion.
The fourth movement is rather convoluted and indecisive, as if it tried very
hard to make sense of the human condition and deliver a final meaning, but
instead gasped in an abyss of incomprehension. The movement closes with
hiccupping voices, like souls with no meaning to utter.
The fifth movement is a gentle apotheosis of rejoicing voices ascending towards
a paradise of percussion and organ.
Similar chamber compositions include: Job's Complaint (1982) for two voices, synthesizer, flute, two oboes, trumpet, violin, cello, percussion; Stone-faced Parables (1984) for three voices, two flutes, two oboes, synthesizer, violin, viola, keyboards, guitar, bass, percussion; Arcturus (1985) for voice, electronics, flute, oboe, tuba, percussion, viola, guitar; Elephant's Dream (1989) for digerido0, bass, drums, synth, sax, guitar; etc.
His psychotic rock band Chinese Puzzle, a trio formed in 1979 with David Hofstra on bass and John Mernit on drums, has released the instrumental albums Inside Outside (Rebus, 1980), Voices & Chambers (Just Another Asshole, 1982), and Archeology (Dark Roots, 1997).
His folk ensemble Outlanders has released Music Is (Dark Roots, 1997) and Mysteries (Dark Roots, 2000).
Reliquiary (Dark Roots, 2001) compiles archival works from 1981-93: the three-movement bluesy/jazzy suite Q (1989) for Violin, bass, flute, drums, guitar; the five-movement Requiem for the Fallen (1989) for voices, oboe, flute, bass, synth, drums, guitar (whose first movement is a nightmare of martial tempos, high-pitched drones and lugubrious vocals, and whose third movement is a spasm of extreme sonic gestures); the five-movement Charon (1983) for solo organ, a hailstorm of harsh drones and an attempt to re-live Bach's toccatas for the minimalist generation; and several shorter works (1993's Millennial World is reminiscent of Michael Nyman).
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