LARRY POLANSKY – The World’s Longest Melody

New World

An algorithm used in some of his compositions, The World’s Longest Melody is also a rather deceiving name for Larry Polansky to introduce this collection of pieces expressly devised for the guitar. Though this instrument has always been an important resource for the composer, it is because of a tight relationship with the Belgian group ZWERM, led by Toon Callier (who actively championed his work in recent times) that the record came to life. The musicians tackle all the issues with zeal and maturity, paying homage to the designer while attributing an individual touch to the whole.

A blend of minimalist configuration and accessible intricacy explains the music’s attractive functionality. You may be slightly confused by the sturdy pulse of the initial “Ensembles Of Note” (occasionally recalling parts of Mikel Rouse’s early output) or by the Rhys Chatham-like power chords that open the title track’s “ensemble version”; both tracks feature [sic], a sax quartet with drums. In fact, veritable treasures lie in the episodes where the complex mechanisms of instrumental intonation permit harmonic shifts otherwise impossible to attain. “Toovviivfor” and “For Jim, Ben and Lou” (the latter a triptych for guitar, harp and percussion) utilize methods of real-time retuning during the performance, their temperament replete with gently swelling tenderness and utter charm derived by the layers of strings resounding anomalously.

Bob Gilmore’s fastidious liners will further clarify whatever technical aspect is left to learn about these works. What’s assured is that the majority of the sounds herein is going to be well accepted by an ample variety of listeners despite the evident intellectual density informing the scores. That’s why Gilmore’s description of Polansky as a man “participating responsibly in the complexity and plenitude of the world” is perfect.

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