Jim Fox’s music is usually noted for its quietude and ambling pace. In the mid-1980s, however, he drifted from these defining stylistic penchants for a couple of years, penning music that often bounced along, energetically and loudly, at a good clip. His clangorous Black Water, from 1984, is rich with dense, sometimes shimmering, sometimes rumbling tremolos and loudly struck chords covering the full range of the piano, set off by brief moments of quiet, twinkling serenity.
Jim Fox writes, “Black Water, for three pianos, was composed during a 1984 stay at the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony and premiered at the New Music America festival the following year. (It takes its title from an Alberto Manguel–edited anthology of short stories I was reading at the time.) The piece uses various simple processes (some audible, some not so obvious) to construct a churning eddy of ever-changing/ever-returning sound. Black Water, in company with a few other somewhat loud and boisterous pieces of mine from the same mid-eighties period, formed a momentary departure from the generally lean, quiet music I’m known for. A half-dozen or so years ago, I decided to revisit some of my pieces from this period and record studio versions of them, starting with Black Water. All three piano parts for this work were recorded by Bryan Pezzone.”
“Black Water is a real torrent—always moving forward. It’s very exciting to be taken up by its tide.” —Richard Friedman, Music from Other Minds (KALW, San Francisco)
“Black Water is a turmoil, a crowning wave of harmonic variations that doesn’t let go.”— François Couture, Monsieur Délire’s Listening Diary