Alan Thomas & Eleanor Turner | Elusive Symmetry

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Elusive Symmetry

by Alan Thomas & Eleanor Turner

Music for harp, guitar and computer inspired by the Dutch artist M.C. Escher, "Elusive Symmetry" is a genre-defying combination of classical, jazz, pop and electronica.
Genre: Classical: Chamber Music
Release Date: 

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1. Metamorphosis Alan Thomas & Eleanor Turner
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4:52 $0.99
2. The Curl-Up Alan Thomas & Eleanor Turner
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6:43 $0.99
3. Alice in Escher's Wonderland Alan Thomas & Eleanor Turner
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3:35 $0.99
4. Dream Alan Thomas & Eleanor Turner
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7:39 $0.99
5. Regular Division of the Plane Alan Thomas & Eleanor Turner
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5:31 $0.99
6. Magic Mirror Alan Thomas & Eleanor Turner
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7:07 $0.99
7. Butterflies Alan Thomas & Eleanor Turner
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7:53 $0.99
8. In the Darkness of Night Alan Thomas & Eleanor Turner
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5:35 $0.99
9. Stars Alan Thomas & Eleanor Turner
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4:26 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
"Elusive Symmetry" was inspired by the work of the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher (1898-1972), and was written to be performed live as part of a multimedia show created by Eleanor Turner, Alan Thomas and the hip-hop dancer Lizzie Gough in 2012. Escher’s work offers plentiful inspiration for musicians, based as it is around pattern, process, symmetry, reflection and transformation, and this music attempts to transpose into musical form the discoveries that Escher made in the visual realm. While some of the pieces are more or less programmatic “pictures” of Escher's quirky imaginary creatures, others take a more abstract approach to treating musical material in a way similar to Escher's treatment of visual material—seeking musical analogues of the elusive symmetries which so delighted him in the graphic arts.

Although Eleanor Turner and Alan Thomas are both classically trained musicians, they also are very interested in exploring new ways in which the “classical” can interact with other musical influences. Hence on this disc you will hear elements of jazz, pop and electronica alongside Romantic and “modern classical” approaches. A key tool in exploring this interaction is the computer, which forms the third part in what is essentially a trio performance of harp, guitar and computer. Rather than a sort of karaoke scenario in which the live instrumentalists simply played along to backing tracks, our goal was to create pieces that enabled flexibility and interaction between the instruments and the computer. While in some cases the computer does indeed play back pre-recorded drum or synthesiser parts, in others it modifies the material played by the live performers or else responds to it in more or less predictable ways, leaving the performers freedom to shape the music and interact with each other and the computer.


Reviews


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Classical Guitar magazine, Sept. 2013

Elusive Symmetry
Maurits Comelis Escher is one of the world's most famous artists, whose incredible works of ‘impossible structures‘ are instantly recognisable. The music on this fascinating new CD was inspired by some of his pictures and bearing in mind the quirkiness of Escher's material, the Turner/Thomas harp and guitar duo have been very successful in their attempt to capture in music what he put down on canvas.
Every track but one makes use of a computer processing part, which takes the harp and guitar onto a different plane from what one expects from this pairing of instruments. The computer ‘part’ is far from being just used as a backing vehicle, this has a much more important role to play than that and adds depth and character to many of the pieces; the duo also makes use of a loop track, drum machine and string quartet.
The music itself is most alluring, appealing and interesting and it is this last quality which raises the attractiveness of this disc from many others I have recently come across. Some of the compositions are quite surreal and impressionistic while others are just simply, beautiful.
The album is superbly recorded and while perhaps a little short in length this is easily compensated by the quality of music.
Steve Marsh