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Rolnick, Neil / Economic Engine, The
Album:Economic Engine, The Collection:Classical
Artist:Rolnick, Neil Added:Apr 2009
Label:Innova Recordings 

A-File Activity
Add Date:2009-06-28 Pull Date:2009-08-30 Charts:Classical/Experimental
Week Ending:Aug 23Aug 16Jul 19

 Recent Airplay
1.Aug 22, 2009:Music Casserole
Uptown Jump
4.Jul 16, 2009:orangeasm by night, ______ by day
Traffic: The Economic Engine
2.Aug 21, 2009:No Cover, No Minimum
Hutong To Highrise: The Economic Engine
5.Jun 24, 2009:KZSU's Heartbleeps
Opaque Air: The Economic Engine
3.Aug 14, 2009:Memory Select: RIP Rashied Ali
Hutong To Highrise: The Economic Engine

Album Review
Red West
Reviewed 2009-06-24 
Melodious modern classical, quite engaging and at times even lovely, . Neil Rolnick is a modern composer who works with mostly acoustic instruments and sometimes synthesizers- none on this CD as far as I can tell other than tracks 7 (which is a re-release of a 25-year old track), but the Eastern instrumentation mixed in with the Western strings can give that impression. There are digital effects which at times are strong enough to sound like a synth but for the most part it’s about the players, not the tech. (Neil has also learned one style of overtone singing made famous by the Tuvans but there’s none of that on this disc either.) All tracks worthwhile, I’m not marking faves.
Tracks 1-4 are a sonic interpretation of changes in modern China as observed by the composer, and include Chinese instruments, players, style (double quartet, classical western & traditional Chinese).

1. Delicate and lovely opening, gets a bit dissonant and hectic (like traffic) then calms at end (like parking).
2. Sounds more Chinese, pentatonics. A little unfortunate buzziness introduced by Neil’s digitial post-processing but it doesn’t last.
3. Plaintive melody with breathy digital noise, interesting digital processing in middle transforms acoustic sounds into a new instrument. Cool bit with Chinese plucked instrument near the end picks up the pace. Overall a “bridge” piece, a little spare on its own.
4.mid-paced, seems like it keeps rising in pitch. Bowed instruments take the lead. Feels like the piece is bracing for something then rushing around.
5.Begins with sparse prepared piano pulse and violin. It’s mostly in ¾ time (some 2/4 measures thrown in there. 11/4?) but you can barely tell. About 2:30 minutes in it’s all played normally and jazzy in a scale I don’t recognize, and it keeps changing keys too. At 5 mins it’s back to sparse, plucky, prepared. Then there’s a beat, and it keeps changing… Interesting piece overall. No digital processing. Could go either in a contemporary classical or out-jazz set.
6. Pulsing flute, Latin rhythm, moves apace. Also harp, percussion, & other instruments.
7.fast minimal, melodic bits, dissonant bits, quaint synth. Fun ending, it winds up and then just stops.

Track Listing
1.Traffic: The Economic Engine 4.Hutong To Highrise: The Economic Engine
2.Farm To Factory: The Economic Engine 5.Hammer & Hair
3.Opaque Air: The Economic Engine 6.Uptown Jump
 7.Real Time