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invert
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Cover: Justin Bishop

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Catalog Number: CPS-8729
Audio Format: CD
Playing Time: 57:20
Release Date: 2003

Track Listing & Audio Samples
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    Steven Berson
1. Salomé (7:31)
     
    Chris George
2. Sonic Eclipse (5:49)
     
    Invert
3. The Passage, Part 1 (5:33)
     
    Chris George
4. Flight of the Killer Bees (10:17)
     
    Steven Berson
5. Broken Blossoms (3:48)
     
    Invert
6. The Passage, Part 2 (8:47)
     
    Chris George
7. In Bassett Woods (5:01)
     
    Bernard Herrmann, arr. Steven Berson
8. Prelude from "Psycho" (2:01)
     
    Invert
9. The Passage, Part 3 (5:18)
     
    Lennon/McCartney, arr. Chris George
10. Tomorrow Never Knows (3:12)

 

Reviews:

American Record Guide - February 2005

"Invert is a violin, a viola, and two cellos. Chris, George and Steven Berson are the cellists and composers, but there are also three extended improvisations taking up almost a third of the program. The style seems influenced by such groups as Kronos and Turtle Island. It is jazzy, rather relaxed in intonation and played with not much vibrato. I note that at least one of the cellos tunes its low C string down at least to A perhaps lower. There is a bit of Middle Eastern fold influence - drones and repetitive rhythms. I'm not completely convinced by that aspect. Perhaps the Middle Eastern style works better when played by people who really own it. Still there are good passages here.

Sonic Eclipse has some imaginative writing and a good use of the drone. The improvised Passages contain some good effects and a general ability to seeing with the surroundings, reminding me that I have enjoyed those repetitive techniques with improvising with my son Ian on violin and cello. But thee people have a tendency to hypnotize themselves - a characteristic that seems to be better controlled in their written music, particularly by George, whose pieces have a good deal of variety. The program ends with an amusing reading of Tomorrow Never Knows, with the seagull imitations neatly reproduced on the violins.

Although I've been fairly critical, this is an unusual and worthy project where most of the music is written by the players. The string quartet can always use another good crossover group."

D MOORE

 

SoundTracks - March 2004

"Invert is one of those string quartets more comfortably referred to as a band than as an ensemble. Much of their album was recorded at Galapagos Arts Space in Brooklyn, and it's a genre-fighting aesthetic that marks the music as well. As performed by the bottom heavy group (two cellos, violin and viola-hence the band's name), the disc's ten tracks are heavy on the pulsing and driving lines and tutti melodies with the subtler details skating by beneath—a mix of improve, originals by members of the quartet, and arrangements of Herrmann's soundtrack to "Psycho" and the Beatles's "Tomorrow Never Knows."

Perhaps the quartet fits so well together in performance because their internal musical leadings are so in sync. "The Passage" appears in three parts dispersed throughout the disc. These sections were entirely improvised by the ensemble, and the music's airy, wavering pitches stand in stark contrast to the other tracks.

Chris George's signature is his repetition and manipulation of several key phrases. Especially the opening moments of "In the Bassett Woods," makes me flashback to my days as a violin student, dutifully working my way through Kreutzer etudes. Steve Berson's works, in contrast, seem more emotionally driven in their content.

Clocking in at just under an hour, the collection fits firmly together at a unit despite the stylistic variations. Listening straight through I could have easily been convinced that this was the soundtrack for some silent, existential European art film."