mode 18

Newband Perform Microtonal Works By Partch, Cage, Labarbara, Drummond



mode 18 NEWBAND performs microtonal works by Harry PARTCH, John CAGE, Joan LaBARBARA and Dean DRUMMOND. With LaBarbara (voice)

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Newband Perform Microtonal Works By Partch, Cage, Labarbara, Drummond

1. JOHN CAGE (1912-1992)

Haikai for flute and zoomoozophone (1984)  8:09 First recording.
Stefani Starin, flute
Dean Drummond, zoomoozophone

2. HARRY PARTCH (1901-1974)

Two Studies on Ancient Greek Scales (1946, arr. Drummond)  4:00

Stefani Starin, flute
Dean Drummond & Dominic Donato, zoomoozophone

3. JOAN LaBARBARA (b.1947)

Silent Scroll (1982)  10:05
Joan LaBarbara, voice
Stefani Starin, flute
Lewis Paer, double-bass
Dean Drummond, Dominic Donato, zoomoozophone, cup gong

4. DEAN DRUMMOND (b.1949)

Then or Never (1984)  8:47
Stefani Starin, flute
Ron Lawrence, viola
Donald Palma, double-bass
James Pugliese, Dominic Donato, Gregory Charnon, zoomoozophone

5. Columbus (1980)  10:21

Stefani Starin, flute
James Pugliese, Dominic Donato, Dean Drummond, zoomoozophone

6. Incredible Time (to Live and Die) (1988)  13:08

Stefani Starin, flute
Elizabeth Rogers, Yamaha DX711 synthesizer
Dominic Donato, Korg DDD1 digital drums, zoomoozophone, Chinese cymbals, sleigh bells. tambourine
James Pugliese, zoomoozophone, Chinese cymbals
William Trigg, zoomoozophone, Chinese gongs, steel bowl
Dean Drummond, conductor

The debut recording of Newband, an ensemble specializing in microtonal music and focused around a unique instrument, the zoomoozophone. Invented by Dean Drummond (who was a student of Harry Partch and played in his legendary Gate 5 ensemble), the zoomoozophone looks somewhat like a marimba withwith aluminum tubes-except that it is about 20 feet long and consists of 129 tubes tuned to a 31-note scale in just-intonation.

All of the works on the CD are first recordings, including Drummond’s arrangement of Partch’s Two Studies on Ancient Greek Scales for Newband’s instruments. The Cage, LaBarbara and Drummond works were composed for the group. Volume 2 with Newband is on mode 33.

Released 1990.


Newband: Microtonal Works by Partch, Cage, LaBarbara, Drummond
Mode 18

He’s listed last, but 32 minutes out of 54 here are by Newband’s director, Dean Drummond, luckily one of the most interesting younger microtonalists. Drummond’s works use his zoomoozophone, an instrument of 129 aluminum tubes tuned to a 31-note just-tuned scale. The lithe melodies of Then or Never show the tuning to audible advantage, and the odd flute, percussion, and synthesizer doublings in Incredible Time (to live and die) clearly outline microtonal structure. All Drummond’s music lacks is a readily identifiable voice. Harry Partch’s Two Studies on Ancient Greek Scales is a gorgeous tidbit showing his debt to antiquity, and Joan LaBarbara’s Silent Scroll, with its glissandoing chords, its starkly effective.
— Kyle Gann, The Village Voice, August 6, 1991

Newband: Play Microtonal Works by Partch, Cage, LaBarbara, and Drummond
Mode 18

Newband is a new music ensemble dedicated to an instrument that goes by the unlikely name of the zoomoozophone, “a percussion instrument consisting of 129 aluminum tubes tuned to a 31-note scale in just intonation.” Built in 1978 by Dean Drummond, a former associate of Harry Partch, its striking overtones give it unique properties. For the purposes of these recordings, the basic four-piece group, which also includes flautist, Stefani Starin, was augmented from time to time, depending on the work. Partch’s “Two Studies on Ancient Greek Scales” provides an inviting introduction to this distinctive textural universe. Cage’s “Haikai for Flute and Zoomoozophone” is probably the most austere thing here. Joan La Barbara’s “Silent Scroll” features a string bass mimicking and answering her trills, screeches, and melodic statements. Drummond’s own work stands up well in this heady company; “Then or Never,” in particular, is a rewarding piece, reminiscent in places of Takemitsu. For those who like their musical moments to hang around for awhile before fading away into the ether, this disc offers a pleasing, intriguing listen.
— Michael Anft, Option Magazine, January/February 1991


Newband: Newband Plays Microtonal Works Vol. 2 (mode 33)

John Cage Profile/Discography

William Trigg on Mode:
Luciano Berio: The Great Works for Voice (mode 48)
Anne LeBaron: (mode 30)
Musicians’ Accord: Chamber Music for Voice (mode 23)
Michael Pugliese: Perkin’ at Merkin (mode 25)

Harry Partch Society web site