Wired

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Dibley,Dillon,Newland,Redgate,Uduman and Hayden,Vaughan,Whitty
LABELS: NMC
WORKS: Works for harpsichord and electronics by Whitty, Dillon, Redgate, Vaughan, Dibley, Newland, Uduman and Hayden
PERFORMER: Jane Chapman (harpsichord)
CATALOGUE NO: NMC D 145

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Wired is a particularly apt title, not least as it colloquially describes the state of mind that the disc induces.

Paul Whitty’s seven pages 1 sounds pointedly unlike a harpsichord (and for all the world like a bunch of keys in a spin dryer), which is fine for the first half minute, but palls thereafter.

James Dillon’s birl is a typical burst of energy, and Roger Redgate’s Residua is a six-movement exploration of intertwining fragments, while Mike Vaughan’s In Memoriam… and Sam Hayden’s scintilla both have manic undercurrents. The aural palette opens out for Paul Dibley’s INV III, but the harpsichord intones a theme that sounds like a lampoon of a Hammer Horror film soundtrack.

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Only with Paul Newland’s sequence 1-4 is there any real sense of calm, while Sohrab Uduman’s Breath across autumnal ground also explores more gentle colours. Within the context of a mixed programme, many of these pieces would walk the ear through wonderful new aural pastures. Heard together, the experience feels more like a particularly gruelling marathon. Christopher Dingle