North Carolina-born Virgil Moorefield is a New York-based rock drummer, bandleader, and avantgarde composer.
His venture into minimal-rock began with
Transformations (Slipped, 1983) and
Bhopal (1986). He then drummed for
Glenn Branca (1987) and
the Swans (1989).
Distractions On the Way To the King's Party (Cuneiform, 1994) is a work
for a nine-piece ensemble (three guitars, trumpet, trombone, alto and tenor saxophones, bass and drums), a fusion of the aesthetics of progressive-rock and of big bands.
The brief No Warning is typical of his eclectic fusion style: frantic
Frank Zappa-style orchestration, repetitive figures a` la minimalism, and
even a heavy-metal coda. Funk Trouble "swings" between horns-driven
free-jazz, hard-rock and dance-music.
The album is consistently propelled by robust rhythms.
Something to Offend Everyone boasts an almost punk frenzy.
The ebullient wedding of minimalism and disco-music in Untitled is
reminiscent of Peter Gordon's Love Of Life Orchestra.
Garden of Earthly Delights is pure propulsion, a series of pulsing patterns sustained by all the instruments.
The melodic element is secondary, although in Vitus Dance the
instruments take turns at a soaring melodic fragment
that is the equivalent of an epic melody.
The unbridled use of minimalism to convey sounds usually associated with
jazz, rock or dance music makes this album quite special.
The Temperature in Hell is Over 3,000 Degrees (Tzadik, 1997) is less
inspired, but still roams the border between minimalism and free-jazz
(Tom Chiu on violin, David Eggar on cello,
Virgil Moorefield on keyboards,
Tim Otto on sax and clarinet,
Woody Pak on fretless guitar).
Electric Magistrate is a collaboration with Emily XYZ.
Things You Must Do to Get to Heaven (Innova, 2007)
Moorefield has also composed for orchestra:
Blanqui (1999) and Arrival of the Crows.
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