Back by popular demand (and available for the first time on CD), this boxed set of three CDs collects all the music released on a popular series of 10-inch vinyl records that were put out by Cold Blue in the early 1980s. During the Cold Blue label’s first incarnation, this music by seven West Coast composers—Barney Childs, Rick Cox, Michael Jon Fink, Peter Garland, Daniel Lentz, Read Miller, and Chas Smith—created much of the company’s reputation as a challenging and always interesting source of new music.
Although bound together by a common concern with music’s basic sensuality, the pieces collected here are wide-ranging in style—process-driven works, carefully through-composed pieces, ambient soundscapes, and music that draws on influences from around the world. In instrumentation, this music is also wide-ranging—from violins accompanied by gourd rattles to an ensemble of clay ocarinas and whistles and flutes to works for piano (solo and duo), synthesizers, singers, speaking voices, cello, electric guitar and clarinet, and perhaps the only known piece of new music for pedal steel guitar accompanied by multiple dobros.
The diverse, free-spirited, genre-bending music in this set was characteristic of certain trends in West Coast music of ‘80s. And, to some degree, most of this music tangentially addressed the lingua franca of ’70s minimalism—embracing certain of its aspects, fleeing others.
All recordings were all supervised by the composers and collectively make up an unusual and wonderful musical document of the place and time.
Gramophone magazine Critics’ Choice 2004: “Aurally luscious, but thought provoking…the music is so various and the sounds so inviting, that all three discs will be enjoyed in a single sitting.” —Arved Ashbey, Gramophone
“Among the elements commonly associated with the Cold Blue label is a propensity for inviting, even mysterious sonic beauty; an appeal to the senses that, strangely enough, seems to reach beyond sound. Collected here on three CDs is the entire series of 10-inch vinyl recordings –seven albums, each showcasing the work of a single composer. Taken alone, each composer presents a compelling sound world. Viewed as a single collection, the context deepens, and the resonance of each artist’s work extends into that of the next…. Obviously, there is a lot to listen to here. One could well get lost for days in the spacious music spread across these three discs, and continue to find sounds that invite, fascinate, and mystify.” —Dusted