Prologue: in terms of assistance for audiences (and reviewers) to learn the artistic and historical contexts of a given release, New World is THE imprint of reference due to their tradition of making liners accessible online as pdf documents. Either you’re entirely unacquainted with the composers/players or just needing to refresh the memory, the label provides indispensable papers for anyone’s erudition. Kudos, then – and now take a look at what Stuart Broomer writes on the origins and organization of this work, rooted in the strong connection – on various levels – between ROVA and Morris. Please read before or after listening, not during.
Concerning the private perception of the contents, let me consider the human unfitness to accept the concept of infinite. The quest for the Source is a spreading disease forcing most people to stay attached to hypotheses of prime movers, beginnings, ends, cycles and other heterogeneous psychological trickeries designed to avoid mental illness – often causing it, instead – along the trademark “who am I, where do I come from” gibberish. To fight this inability the average Joe recurs to terminologies and symbolisms typically related to an abstractive “harmony”. When it comes to music, though, that “harmony” must necessarily be coupled with “consonance”, or else the risk of not achieving the “goal” becomes very high. Place the aspirant careerist in (non-Coltranian) ascension in front of the extraordinary complexity of a system of improper rhythms, atypical melodic particles and counterpoints disobeying to the obvious symmetry of anticipation, and the chances are good for a “too much” type of response.
Broad-minded musicians such as ROVA and cohorts represent the earthborn link developing that kind of (admittedly guiltless) auditive illiteracy into the necessity – for a minimally mature individual – to acknowledge the transition from a basic comprehensibility to the next stages of the resulting intricacy, the latter rendered slightly more graspable by a spectacular mix of intuition and advanced technical expertise. In this regard, No Favorites! might simplistically be described as a triptych of compositions (conducted or less) combining innumerable stylistic influences, yet sounding completely original/innovative at the same time. Although ample space is given to the performers to explicit a specific consciousness within an orchestral context, a sense of structure is present all over the record. There’s not an instrument in sight that appears not to be following a precise direction, be it determined by a score (or conductor’s indication) or by the intrinsic capabilities of sheer talent. Amidst exceptional complications one sees the lights of essential answers; shards of utmost dissonance suddenly reveal visions pervaded by inner composure.
We could go on forever with cheap poetry. However, words become nearly irreverent when – following a few focused listens – one feels the acoustic nuances produced by the creative interaction carving big splinters of wood off a hardened heart. It’s a difficult matter, yes. But it’s totally rewarding, connecting to the aforementioned “infinite” better than any insincere worship. Do we really need to know the properties of the drops of a waterfall crashing on the rocks, only to remain pitifully unmindful of the larger picture?