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Richard Reed Parry - Music for Heart and Breath / Wondering Sound review

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Between this album of compositions from Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry, and the March release of St. Carolyn by the Sea/There Will Be Blood from Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood and the National's Bryce Dessner, Germany's storied Deutsche Grammophon label has emphatically thrown its weight behind the notion of indie-rock brand names writing classical pieces.

But whereas the Greenwood and Dessner classical catalogs are already quite diverse, Parry's more slender concert-music discography rests, thus far, on a single conceptual framework: no time signatures and no fixed tempos. Instead, musicians playing a Parry work are meant to follow their own pulse (a task that may be helped out by a stethoscope). Likewise, the length of a given note may be dictated by a performer's exhalation while playing it.

Similar approaches have been tried in the free jazz world (specifically, in the pulses of drummer Milford Graves). And, in the classical realm, Parry's approach has intellectual progenitors in the aesthetics of Cage and Feldman. But those sound-worlds are decidedly spikier than Parry's attractive sensibility. His gorgeous cells of melody are lent a useful tension by the sometimes-jarring phasing of the instrumentalists. READ THE FULL Wondering Sound REVIEW.