NICK VASALLO: Vivi in Infernum, Lumen et Tenebras, De Civitatibus, The Vertigo Series I-III, Never Odd or Even, The Atheist, Lamentation, Inconsolable, The 5 Stages of Grief, Falling into You, Howling Winds, Emergence of the Kraken, The Network.
Catalogue Number: 01J107
Label: Ars Nova Classics
Description: This CD is a varied grab-bag of works for different ensembles by a young composer who, before undertaking any formal musical training, performed and wrote material for a hardcore thrash metal rock band. The three electro-acoustic pieces (Vertigo series) are the only ones here that suggest the sort of thing one might hear in a rock club, apart from a general tendency toward 'dark' subject matter in the texts performed or alluded to in some works; the other pieces are highly accomplished pastiches of various styles from Baroque and classical keyboard music to minimalism to polyphonic chant, and so on. In general the pieces are short, tonal and uncomplicated; Vasallo has a gift for melody and striking sonic textures, though it is perhaps a little hard to point to anything entirely original, apart from the Vertigo pieces. The CD is produced and presented in a 'pop' style, including an unlisted 'bonus track', an agreeable Scarlatti-ish pastiche on synthesizer. Definitely intriguing; one wonders what Vasallo might do in an extended work for large ensemble - maybe we'll find out in due course. Various artists (vocal, instrumental, piano, electroacoustic).