Few albums in New Age music these days are based on improvisation. That’s really a bit strange, since albums with many improvisation elements, like Tony Scott’s Music for Zen Meditation and other Joys (1964) and Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells (1973), built the foundations for this genre. Perhaps this is why Emergence by Lawrence Blatt feels like a breath of fresh air. It is an amazing collection of songs, all with that special, remarkable lightness that improvisation gives.
First I must must make a small correction; Blatt does not use free-form improvisation on Emergence. Behind the project is a plan, a science.
The natural world is full of complex patterns and seemingly unexplainable order. From the migration patterns of birds and butterflies, to the beauty of an individual snowflake, our world is filled with endless expressions of mathematical complexity. Scientists who study these natural phenomenon have begun to understand the concept that diverse patterns can be derived from simple rules, which often lead to unexpected outcomes. This scientific concept has been given the name, Emergence and is now a central theme in the exploration of varied biological, as well as inorganic systems.
I became intrigued by the biological applications of emergence several years ago and I have now utilized the underling tenants of this theory to produce my new musical project entitled, Emergence. For each composition, I wrote the basic guitar part by strictly adhering to musical rules of chord progression and scale theory. For the solo instrumentals that played on the album, no written music was given to individual performers. Instead, I instructed them on the “allowable” movement based on guidance from musical theory and practice. What emerged from this exercise was far greater than I could have ever imagined …
The first track, A Promisse in the Woods, quickly sets the tone and prepares the scene for track two and three, Emergence and Gar Du Nord. The guitar, violin and cello all playfully follow the melody. The neoclassical elements are simply wonderful and extremely well done. The best track in this respect though is Passing up Bridges. What a great combination of old and new, of tradition and future! Already here it is apparent to me that Mr. Blatt has succeeded in his project. Perhaps you cannot hear the science of emergence, but you can feel it somehow. The music has a unique, yet natural flow.
I’m very impressed with the 2 minute long Illuminations. It is like you can sense the song coming to life, and Lawrence Blatt is once again showing that he is among our genre’s finest artists. Elegance is always in the tiny details.
Thanks to wonderful studio technology most albums released today are very precise and polished. But the side effect is that the music sounds lifeless and flat. This is why projects like Lawrence Blatt’s Emergence is important. It shows that improvisation and live recording sessions may take music to a new level. It might be mathematical complexity, or a new science. I choose to call it wonderful music.
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