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Review: Ambrose Field’s Being Dufay

April 30, 2009

I really love music that defies genres.  The problem is when I’m asked to describe it and control those incongruent parts despite their noncooperation.  I’m not waxing poetic, but trying to explain the conundrum I had while listening to Ambrose Field’s Being Dufay on repeat this last week.

Recipe:

6 parts Dufay Music
1 cup gorgeous electronic timbres
1 heaping spoonful of patience
3 dashes of dramatic tension

If you’re considering buying Being Dufay, I think the key to understanding this album is that its not music meant to be listened to, but felt.  Its more a cousin to ambient music than Dufay’s 15th Century choral music, which is where Pierce borrowed material from.  This is the type of album you put on to calm your nerves after a stressful day at work, to straighten out the knots in your brain, and begin pondering the greater aspects of life. 

I say the music isn’t meant to be listened to because Mr. Field creates moments of stasis in the music.  He makes good use of electronic music’s best tool, constantly evolving timbres to make the music feel like it is moving and pausing simultaneously.

The source material should be familiar to any pre-classical fans.  Its presented well by tenor John Potter.  The parts doesn’t run constantly through the CD, but are spaced out, allowing for the electronics to envelope around the parts and comment on them.

When I first went to listen to this CD, I saw that it was being classified as “Classical, Jazz.”  I think trying to put the CD in those round holes doesn’t do this square peg justice.  Its both much more modern and ethereal than those genres imply.  If you’re looking for the soundtrack to your hectic life or workout routine, I would look elsewhere.  But if you’re looking for the antidote to those things, this might be your best medicine.

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