New compositions by Mason Bates, Ken Ueno, and Mohammed Fairouz comprise the Del Sol String Quartet’s third full-length recording for Sono Luninus. Scrapyard Exotica is a double disc Blu-Ray audio CD consisting of Bates’ “Bagatelles for String Quartet and Electronica,” Ueno’s “Paradam” and “Fairouz’s “The Named Angels.” The trio of composers recorded on Scrapyard Exotica represents leading artists in today’s classical avant-garde. As interpreted by the Del Sol String Quartet, their works span an eclectic spectrum of musical styles including club beats to throat singing to Middle Eastern dance beats.
Bates’ four movements for “Bagatelles for String Quartet and Electronica” was commissioned by the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program with funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund.
Bates, who is also a deejay, composed the bagatelles in-the-moment at the recording studio as the Del Sol String Quartet explored the sounds they could make with their instruments. The atonal improvisations are combined with cutup samples of these recording and scored parts for the quartet who play with the electronica. The results are innovative and offer the listener new ways of hearing string music.
Ken Ueno’s “Peradam” was composed specifically for the Del Sol String Quartet. It is a musical odyssey complete with imaginative throat singing that beckons the listener into the allegorical music that was inspired by author Rene Daumal’s novel Mount Analogue.
The recording concludes with Mohammed Fairouz’s work titled “The Named Angels.” It is a dramatic piece in four movements that refer to the four angels recognized by name in the Islamic, Christian, and Jewish traditions: Michael, Israfel, Gabriel and Azrael. This is a captivating work that deserves your undivided attention and should find its way into the string repertory of many chamber ensembles.