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Reynolds, Graham / Difference Engine (2018 Remaster), The
Album:Difference Engine (2018 Remaster), The Collection:General
Artist:Reynolds, Graham Added:04/2019
Label:Innova Recordings 

Album Review
Reviewed 2019-04-16 
– General Description: Excellent modern concerto that grabs your attention and provides a sense of space and distance over undulating blankets of sound. That’s what I heard. Sad and, at times, pristine. But the sadness is not heavy, so you can listen to this over and over and not be lost in darkness.

Austin-based Graham Reynolds makes music for film, theater, dance, rock clubs, and concert halls with a host of collaborators. This is a good thing and it shows. He does a lot of work; it’s well worth checking his website for more info.

The completed concerto “The Difference Engine” premiered in Austin on 2010-02-06 with a 35-piece string orchestra. Its loose concerto format is used to tell the story of Charles Babbage (1791–1871), a polymath who invented the first mechanical computer; all the essential ideas of modern computers are said to be found in Babbage’s analytical engine.

The remixes included in this release augment the over-all personality of this concerto by adding a lot of percussion and more in-your-face dynamics. As a study, play all three versions of “Cam Stack & Crank Handle” back to back.

– Composers involved:
Graham Reynolds
Octopus Project
Adrian Quesada
Peter Stopschinski
DJ Spooky
That Subliminal Kid
Orión García
Demián Gálvez

– Main Performers:
Graham Reynolds - piano
Jonathan Dexter - cello
Leah Zeger - violin

– FCC Compliant: YES
– Recommended Tracks: 3, 7, 12
– Track Reviews:
1. (1:09) Movement I: The Cogwheel Brain - WHAM it begins, then fast running and plucking sounds with slides interrupting and eventually bringing it to a stop
2. (4:51) Movement II: Ada - high string tension with broad tonal brushes, skeleton keyboard for emphasis; warm cello and violin converse, then a round develops, rolling arpeggiating chords build in the background; patchy panning, stops too soon; NOTE: stops at 4:48
3. ***(5:01) Movement III: Cam Stack & Crank Handle - kabuki percussion with angry military-like scraping sounds as strings play a simple theme, then a sexy tango ensues with gypsies not far behind, it becomes epic and eventually evaporates
4. (6:07) Movement IV: Late At Night/The Astronomer - a piano signal is sent, stars talk back from the barn that is space, a faraway voice wants to enter and they all dance, only to delicately fall away from each other
5. (4:23) Movement V: The Difference Engine - piercing violin begins bursting forth, a rapid piano signal is sent again, a fast conversation begins between the two, rolling arpeggiating chords return, fast playing ensues, the music starts stamping around and the drama grows only to suddenly become calm and floating, then back to drama until an abrupt finish; NOTE: stops at 4:16
6. (4:36) The Cogwheel Brain (Octopus Project Remix) - no WHAM start, just a builds fast running plucking sounds with progressive layering underneath, playground-type tune in the middle, big percussion and distortion follows
7. ***(5:06) Cam Stack & Crank Handle (Graham Reynolds Remix) - percussion sound pushes in and out, then a beat starts with heavy plodding chords continuing with excursions of sounds, more tango and seductive percussion, calms briefly, returns then also evaporates in the end
8. (3:57) The Difference Engine (Demián Gálvez Remix) - more removed-sounding strings and very electronic in feel, again heavier percussion and simple repetitive motives dominating
9. (3:46) The Astronomer (Adrian Quesada Remix) - more electronic emphasis on the instruments than the other tracks, Latin percussive feel underneath, more simple repetitive motives
10. (3:05) The Difference Engine (Peter Stopschinski Remix) - this version painfully pierces and shimmers and stays high for longer becoming insect-like before the percussion enters, varied arpeggiating and ascending sounds become the focus with distorted live crowd and feedback also used
11. (3:46) Ada (Dj Spooky Remix) - high string tension that becomes a disco version of sorts and then it’s a movie music ride
12. ***(4:07) Cam Stack & Crank Handle (Orión García Peligrosa Remix) - a very off, broken toy piano feel with an orchestra dancing around it, very percussive and intriguing; NOTE: stops at 3:59

Track Listing
1.Movement I_the Cogwheel Brain 7.Cam Stack & Crank Handle (Graham Reynolds Remix)
2.Movement Ii_ada 8.The Difference Engine(Demian Galvez Remix)
3.Movement Iii_cam Stack & Crank Handle 9.The Astronomer (Adrian Quesada Remix)
4.Movement Iv_late At Night/the Astronomer 10.The Difference Engine (Peter Stopschinski Remix)
5.Movement V_the Difference Engine 11.Ada (Dj Spooky Remix)
6.The Cogwheel Brain (Octopus Project Remix) 12.Cam Stack & Crank Handle (Orion Garcia Peligrosa Remix)