This CD culls four works written between 1982 and 1996 (all recorded in 1997-1998), revolving around the notion of a labyrinth and the poetic world of Jorge Luis Borges
. All the pieces employ instrumentalist and composer Lawrence Casserley
on live computer processing. The pièce de résistance
is Labyrinth, featuring Simon Desorgher
on flute. Written for an interactive musical theater work, the piece retains its strength of evocation once stripped from its visual counterpart. Echoing gongs, electro-acoustically treated flute, and the low groans of Casserley
's voice vividly tell the tale of Theseus and the Minotaur. Gripping and scary, Labyrinth makes a key example of the composer's aptitude at creating complex treated music in live settings (his work with Evan Parker's Electro-Acoustic Ensemble would be another one). Longtime collaborator Desorgher also appears on The Monk's Prayer, a soft-spoken reverie based on a repetitive melody gradually ornamented. The Garden of Forking Paths, with Richard Durrant on guitar, although very delicate, is less convincing. Its meanders are confusing at best, irrelevant at worst. The program concludes with Vista Clara, with Clara Rodriguez at the piano. Her instrument is ring-modulated throughout, following frequencies set to a scale of 21 pitches per octave. The idea is a bit limited, but the piano part is interesting in itself. Although not always striking, Labyrinths
offers food for thought, and the title piece is definitely worth hearing.