Classical music holds an extremely well-respected place in society. Every major Western city has an orchestra of some kind that receives a great deal of patronage. Because classical music has been around for so long, it today stands in a place where virtuosity is the only answer to success. Also, the age of the genre as well as the age of the main audience puts some limitations on the risks each instrumentalist is able to take making for a lot of stagnation. Although it is pleasant to hear classical ideology outside of the vituosity-driven concert-hall, Kyle Preston’s new album Scattered Silence remains too reliant on ambiance to stand-out, making for a pleasant experience with little re-play value.
Beginning with brooding electronic backdrop, Scattered Silence encapsulates the audience before the entrance of the strings. Slowly, droning string melodies emerge from the background with pure string tone being the main focus of the piece. On “Stillness,” dramatic piano playing replaces the strings encompassing some of the same appeal of the quartet’s efforts, maintaining the electronic backdrop beneath the nuanced playing approach.
The melodies have a certain shimmer to them provided by the interesting, modern production of the pieces, but there’s nothing taking me back. Nothing from the album stuck around in my head after listening to it and the listening experience doesn’t provide anything shocking sonically. Emotional affect and traditional beauty are not enough to carry the project to notable heights.
Upon first listen I found this music quite beautiful and well executed, however, I didn’t find anything surprising about it. Slow moving string melodies are a musical strategy that has beaten to death and nothing truly new seems to be presented in this work.