Eric Glick-Rieman

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Ten To The Googolplex (2001), 6.5/10
Dalaba Frith Glick Rieman Kihlstedt (2003), 6.5/10
Lung Tree (2005), 6.5/10
Trilogy From The Outside (2009), 7/10
In My Mind Her Image Was Reversed (2011), 6/10

San Francisco-based multi-instrumentalist improviser and electronic composer Eric Glick-Rieman (1962), a classically trained pianist, coined a sophisticated language and vocabulary of multifaceted impressionistic chamber music.

Ten To The Googolplex (Accretions, 2001) collects four solo improvisations on prepared electric piano. ghostly cosmic drones of Whimbrel On White Linen, the disjointed dissonances of Coiled Plumbbob, the languid shapeless events of Whigmaleerian Duologue, and especially the 28-minute Planarian Egress whose very long sustained tones behave like organic beings in slow motion.

Dalaba Frith Glick Rieman Kihlstedt (Accretions, 2003) was a collaboration with trumpeter Lesli Dalaba, guitarist Fred Frith and violinist Carla Kihlstedt. The 13-minute Worm Anvils features some of Dalaba's most sophisticated counterpoint to the most fragile scaffolding as guitar, violin and piano conspire to weave ghostly drones and dissonances. After about eight minute, the 12-minute Shallow Weather creates enough structure from chaos to sound like a funereal fanfare. At the synergetic peak of their jam the four personalities are well defined, as Dalaba's sustained tones collide against Frith's dadaistic noises, Glick-Rieman's anemic notes and Kihlstedt's demented whistles in the 16-minute Ant Farm Morning.

Lung Tree (january 2004 - ReR, 2005) was a collaboration with Lesli Dalaba on trumpet and Stuart Dempster on trombone, didjeridu and other instruments. Glick-Riemann mostly plays prepared electric piano but also synthesizer and traditional keyboards. The music is pointillistic but not overtly abstract. Emotions surface from the shy, sparse, subdued interchange of the trio. The pieces are a display of slow-motion and subliminal elegance. Most of them are sleepy elegies caught in the interplay between trumpet and trombone, such as the delicate droning and wailing of The Dock-Red Ice and Walking Ruminations, and especially Bed Shadows into Sleep, each of them littered with metallic piano noises. This paradigm culminates in the light trumpet and trombone drones of Morning Light Through the Smokestacks, the most abstract and otherworldly track, although towards the end the trumpet begins to "sing" a real song. A flickering melody is also drowned in the jelly of overtones of Waking by the Refinery. Two of the pieces are significantly different in spirit. Timbral Shift 10/ Coward's Line/Lobby Bar unfolds a series of non-musical dissonant staccato notes. The frantic piano metamorphoses of Dissolution and Redemption Animals (besides being infinitely more energetic than the rest) produces an angular melody out of what initially appears to be a mathematical game. Talking into the Wind closes the album in a somewhat desolate and depressed tone.

Reiman was also active in the chamber ensemble Bilge Radiolaria (tuba, trumpet, bassoon, viola, percussion, guitar, flute, computer, saxophones, piano), in the duo Thieves of Silence with Jeff Karsin, and in the Mills Contemporary Performance Ensemble.

Echoes of Syros (Full Bleed Music, 2009) documents a live improvisation by Stuart Dempster, Eric Glick-Rieman and Tom Heasley.

Composed between 2002 and 2008, Trilogy From The Outside (2009) is a three-part colossus for prepared piano, acoustic piano, toy piano, celeste, melodica, a self-made bowed instrument and found objects. The objects are used to elicit unorthodox timbres from the instruments. Each piece is "ambient" in nature: calm and free-flowing, calling for contemplation and meditation. Even the atonal sounds are carefully and elegantly sculpted to create a sense of safety and warmth. The first part, Turnbuckle, contains In You I See Your Past Identities, which sets in motion a hypnotic counterpoint between ticking drones and rolling noise, Forgotten Assumption , a concerto for anguished drones and grating noise, the slow-motion noir soundscape of Light's Perspective, the delicate hallucinations and waves of I Hear You And Pretend Not To Listen, the dramatic crescendo of clusters of In You I Recreate My Self. The psychological study on timbres is reminiscent of Brian Eno, and the fragility of the music sometimes evokes the work of Harold Budd.

The second part, Animist, seems devoted to more dynamic emotional ranges: the languid dilated string adagio Animist, the cosmic stupor of Sound's Perspective, the whispered lyrical fragments of Not Prophecy (17:44), that seems to deconstruct the equivalent of a Brahms symphony and a Bach toccata, the abstract colorful kinetic tapestry of Allomorph, the jazz-like improvisation of Klein Bottle the dadaistic musique concrete of Aliquot. The influence on this second part expand beyond ambient and stationary music. The spirit if not the techiques of free jazz and of chamber electronic music seem to permeate some of the structures.

The third part, Inverting the Sphere, seems preoccupied with processes of decay (Inverting the Sphere), erosion (Trilobite) and corruption (Ammonoid). The Thrust Required to Hover (12:55) could be the soundtrack for a film on Dante's "Inferno", its surges and collapses evoking terrifying visions of hell. Inverting Perspective (16:22) is a feeble and shrill droning piece that brings the trilogy to closure with the same static approach of the beginning.

Eric Glick Rieman's In My Mind Her Image Was Reversed (Accretions, 2011) is a set of seven "sonatas" scored for prepared (and extended) electric piano played using rocks, marbles, and all sorts of junk, and muted using his hands, cloth and paper. If Forgetting Belief and Reinventing Belief, that bookend the collection, sound too much like technical demonstrations of the available palette of percussive and droning sounds, the soothing tinkling of What's Said Reinterpreted By Future Hearers moves towards a more emotional dimension and the syncopated Afro-Caribbean dance of In My Mind Her Image Was Reversed even toys with an unlikely application of the method. In a sense, The Past Aerated combines the two: there is authentic pathos in the machine music, but the monotonous looping clockwork is intersected by languid extended tones that seem to struggle to give birth to a melody (for the record, they fail). The longer sonata Reiterated Opinion Changes Meaning has a hard time sustaining interest for 19 minutes but it does exhibit the peaks and lows of energy that would otherwise qualify as "movements" of a traditional sonata with an ending that stands halfway between the equivalent of an adagio and a soft jazz ballad; evidence that the tool is malleable. What is sorely missing is the variety and synthesis that made the Trilogy From The Outside (2009) such a powerful work.

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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