Eric Wubbels: Duos With Piano: Book I

Wet Ink Ensemble
Carrier Records
Sep 26, 2016
Purchase (Bandcamp)

“As with many of Wubbels’ other works, the pieces here benefit greatly from the Ensemble’s extensive rehearsal and shared aesthetic goals. They’re notated works, but it would be hard for others to reach the powerful energy and precision on display here… The staggering, wildly careening “the children of fire come looking for fire”, is a duo with violinist Josh Modney whose viscous scratch tones and prickly pizz aligns and collides deftly with Wubbels’ shattered glass chords and knotted figures.”
-Peter Margasak, Bandcamp Daily

The debut recording of “the children of fire come looking for fire”, written over a long period of collaboration with Modney. This recording has been remastered and will be re-released on Josh Modney’s solo album, “Engage” (Aug 3, 2018 – New Focus Records).

Press Release:

Duos with Piano: Book I marks the debut release from composer/performer Eric Wubbels, Co-Director and pianist of the essential New York collective Wet Ink Ensemble.

Wubbels’s Duos with Piano project encompasses eight works for eight different instruments paired with piano, written over a ten-year period for a network of close collaborators. These pieces aim to develop a 21st-century conception of ensemble virtuosity (now a virtuosity of listening, concentration, timbral fusion, and collaborative decision-making as much as of technique) in the microcosm of the duo format.

Book I includes works for Wet Ink Ensemble core members Ian Antonio (vibraphone), Erin Lesser (flute), Josh Modney (violin), and Alex Mincek (saxophone), each paired with Wubbels on piano. Each piece is the product of an extended period of close collaboration, through phases of experimentation, refinement, rehearsal, performance, revision, memorization, touring, and documentation. The relationships between these musicians span more than a decade, and in performance the resulting interplay feels nearly telepathic.

The four works on the album range from dense, high-tech ensemble virtuosity and psychoacoustic mindfuckery to silence and bare simplicity. Delicate organicism and hyper-detailed timbral interplay cut directly to grinding noise and extended repetition. This is music that strives for a level of intensity rarely found in contemporary composition; bringing extremes into balance and interplay, it speaks with a direct, almost symbolic, impact.