Paul Dresher
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Paul Dresher (1951, Los Angeles), laureato al Mills College (alla scuola di Terry Riley e Steve Reich) e a San Diego (maestri Robert Erickson, Roger Reynolds, Pauline Oliveros), e' un performer solista ai nastri elettronici (o, meglio, al "live tape processing system") che ha scritto anche musica per il teatro, come SeeHear (1984), for soprano, two tenors and 13 instrumentalists, and Shelf Life (1987), e diversi lavori da camera. Pur conservando la qualita' ipnotica del minimalismo, le sue composizioni nascono dalla sovrapposizione di svariati processi discreti.

La prima composizione di rilievo fu This Same Temple (1977) per due pianoforti, che esplora i pattern ciclici e il phasing di Steve Reich. La sua vera vocazione emerge con i due lavori a cavallo del decennio, Liquid And Stellar Music (1979) e Dark Circumstance (1981), entrambi orchestrati per chitarra elettrica e loop, nei quali applica le tecniche minimaliste a complesse polifonie elettroniche che richiamano la musica discreta di Brian Eno. Questi primi lavori sono raccolti su This Same Temple & Liquid and Stellar Music (Lovely, 1983). The reissue, This Same Temple (Lovely, 1996), added Water Dreams.

Il suo ensemble consta normalmente di se stesso alla chitarra o all'organo, un cantante e un batterista, ma Dresher ha composto anche un austero quartetto per archi (Casa Vecchia, premiere del Kronos Quartet nel 1982), Night Songs (1982), per permutazioni vocali di un soprano e due tenori, archi e ottoni su testi di tribu' pellerossa (soprattutto la Dream Music), e Channels Passing (1983) per violino, violoncello e quintetto di fiati. La trilogia How (1983), la sua costruzione drammatica piu' imponente, composta per George Coates, consta di una raccolta di frammenti surreali e sconnessi, e prelude all'opera Slow Fire (1985), in collaborazione con il tenore Rinde Eckert, il monologo dell'assurdo di un anti-eroe la cui voce viene elaborata elettronicamente ed accompagnata dalle tastiere.

Slow Fire (1985), collected on Slow Fire (Minmax, 1992), was the first part of the "American Trilogy", which continued with Power Failure (1989) and ended with Pioneer (1990). The three operas mix rock, minimalism and world-music.

A partire dalle Night Songs, su Night Songs/ Channels Passing (New Albion 003, 1984), Dresher sembra aver trovato nella "voce" lo strumento piu' idoneo alle sue manipolazioni armoniche.

Opposites Attract (New World, 1991) was a collaboration with jazz woodwind player Ned Rothenberg, bassists Anthony Jackson and Mark Dresser, drummers Bobby Previte, Gene Reffkin and Samm Bennett. The result is surprisingly close to Fripp's, Eno's and Byrne's futuristic world-music (Untold Story).

Dark Blue Circumstance (New Albion NA053, 1993) and Casa Vecchia (Starkland, 1995) collect a few chamber and electronic works. The former contains Dark Blue Circumstance, for electric guitar and tape processing, the chamber septet Channels Passing (1982), Double Ikat, a trio for violin, piano and percussion, Night Songs for three singers and six musicians. The latter contains the double string quartet Casa Vecchia, Underground, Other Fire, Mirrors.

He has also composed Re:act:ion (1984) for symphony orchestra, Cornucopia (1990) for chamber orchestra.

He has scored several dance pieces: The Gates - Far Away Near (1993), Awed Behavior (1993) for voices and quartet (Phil Aaberg on keyboards, Paul Hanson on bassoon, clarinet and saxophone, Gene Reffkin on drums, Dresher on MIDI guitar and samplers), Kalasam, In The Name, etc. Sound Stage (2001) involved a set made entirely of invented musical instruments.

Cage Machine (New Albion, 2005) collects chamber works from 1994 till 2002: Concerto for Violin and Electro-Acoustic Band (1997), Elapsed Time (1998), In the Nameless (2002), Din of Iniquity (1994).

Other compositions include: Fail Safe (1993); Unequal Distemperament (2001); Glimpsed from Afar (2006); Time Passes (2008); Moving Light (2012); Family Matters (2014); A Picture Stands in Solitude (2015); Moving Parts (2016).

Family Matters (2014) for cello and piano is a three-movement piece. The first one engages in intricate high-speed minimalist patterns that rise and fall like a tumultous waterfall. The second one begins as an impressionistic adagio with the two instruments taking turns at serenading the listener but soon becoming entangled in a tense dialogue. The third one morphs from funereal to tormented.

Glimpsed from Afar (2006) for quadrachord and marimba lumina is electronic space-age music. A minimalist crescendo, an ecstatic swirling dance that is part gamelan and part gypsy, is followed by Morton Subotnick-like dissonance, a rumbling cacophony, chaotic and visceral industrial clangor, something like a hybrid of free-jazz improvisation, a carpet bombing and an orgy of African percussion.

Dresher's Schick Machine debuted in 2016.

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