Woodall, Earnest - Time To Think

Year of Release: 2003
Label: self-released/Zephyrwood Music
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 67:48:00

Time To Think is the latest release from Earnest Woodall, a New York based composer with 13 albums under his belt plus soundtrack work for a number of independent films. From his bio: "[?] Woodall took up the guitar at age 10, inspired by rock, blues and jazz players. A local teacher Peter Rogine introduced him to Phillip Glass, Steve Riech and John Adams, which sparked a lifelong love of both Modern Classical Music and Jazz.[?]" This is evident in the music he has created (though I'll admit I've only a passing familiarity with Glass and Riech, and none with Adams). Time To Think is a compilation comprised of material from some of his more recent releases, the earliest being Strike, Light, Puff from 1998. The selections include also material from Pictures In Mind. The selections from each of Woodall's albums reveal what might be the overall character to each release. All the pieces have in common an emphasis on percussion, whether it is the xylophone, as can be found in many tracks from Unusual Characteristics (1999) , or a more natural, earthy sound as can be found on 13 (2000) (where bad luck is the underlying theme, as the song titles will reveal). In between is Strike, Light, Puff where many tracks have some frenetic element to them.

The tinkly, wind-chime sound of a xylophone is played against a backdrop of a violin or, in the case of the first track "Peculiar Attributes" (Unusual Characteristics) an orchestra full strings. Their rich tone is at odds, but in a good way, with the higher tones of the xylophone. The pieces from this album have "oddness" about them, a left of center quirk ? something that might appeal to RIO fans, though in "Bizarre Temper" it's played in softer tones - trilling flute rather than brassy trumpet, here playing against xylophone and piano. "Odd Personality" begins with the sound of choppers flying overhead and birds chirping before clapping percussion takes center stage. I imagine the sound as two plastic blocks being banged together. Underneath this one can hear a drunken organ and chatterbox violin converse. Something, for a moment, quiets the other two as the violin begins to sing, but the blocks yield attention only briefly before the two compete? the violin gets melodramatic for a moment? but then, forgetting, begins to chatter again. "Unusual Qualifications" seems to be a variation on "Odd Personality" though the piano seems more sober, though xylophone trills happily along side equally upbeat flute like tones. "Curious Temperment" begins with a train rumbling by and tooting his horn, though stylistically it is a mix of the material found later on 13 -- natural percussion - and the irregularly metered arrangements of Unusual Characteristics).

In "Open Umbrella" (13) where rhythmic percussion is what might be called in shorthand "Third World." By that I mean the sound of perhaps woodblocks or steel drums - or even found sounds. A languid, peaceful muted flute-like atmosphere provides the backdrop. Here I thought of Steve Roach, especially his work with Jorge Reyes and Suso Saiz as Suspended Memories. This naturalistic approach can also be found in dark, cautious "13 Black Cats," and the dark, subtly threatening "13 Broken Mirror." An exception to this is the quirky "Crossed Fingers," where piano takes the lead most often.

The pieces taken from Strike, Light, Puff have some frenetic element about them. "Uncovered Wanderings" (Strike, Light, Puff) is a sometimes twangy, frenetic piece - sometimes reminding me of Copeland's "Hoedown" but on speed. The frantic feel comes from both the xylophone and violins. "Discover Darkness" from the same album could easily have been used as background music to an X-Files episode (and I heard of hints of, I think, Mozart in there, too). It is violin that gives "Delirious Pant" its sense of breathlessness. You might think that a piece titled "Wisp" would be atmospheric, but here instead it is a conversation between two folks (piano, horn) that don't finish one sentence before going on to the next.

Time To Think is a wonderful collection of music. Because of the disparate elements, this compilation stands on its own as a richly textured and varied release all impeccably played.

Peculiar Attributes (4:38) / Uncovered Wanderings (3:03) / Open Umbrella (3:46) / 128 Details From A Picture (3:53) / Strange Nature (1:26) / Bohemia Lies By The Sea (6:30) / Discover Darkness (2:22) / 13 Black Cats (2:32) / Delirious Pant (1:37) / Bizarre Temper (3:00) / Crossed Fingers (7:02) / Wisp (1:14) / Autumn Rhythm (#30) (3:58) / Odd Personality (4:55) / 13 Broken Mirror (4:20) / Curious Temperment (3:33) / Pale Puff (2:01) / Unusual Qualifications (3:31) / Ariadne (5:24) / Spilling Of Salt (2:23)

Earnest Woodall

Haute Monde (1987)
House Of Stairs (1988)
Alberts Warning (1989)
Dirty Water (1990)
Mad Man Of 1st Ave (1991)
Three Worlds (1992)
Abstract Paragraph (1995)
Legerdemain (1996)
Ergot Brew (1997)
Strike, Light, Puff (1998)
Unusual Characteristics (1999)
13 (2000) Pictures In Mind (2002)
Time To Think (2003)

Genre: Other

Origin US

Added: April 20th 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.ewoodall.com
Hits: 1082
Language: english


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