Gramophone Magazine reviews Anthony Paul DeRitis: Devolution
The three works on this enterprising release showcase a genuinely American composer, Anthony Paul De Ritis, professor and chair of the music department at Northeastern University in Boston, whose music lies rooted in its determination to meld science with humanity. To do so, De Ritis draws on the resources of his acoustic-electronic laboratory and applies them with a healthy enthusiasm for engaging tunes and harmonies, lively beat and a love of Technicolor.
In the 10-minute tour de force Legerdemain, De Ritis plays at combining synthesised sound with its acoustic representation, reflecting science's discovery of additional dimensions. The recording of the performing orchestra was processed in real time to provide an additional musical element for the final mix.
Chords of Dust, which was the composer's first work for orchestra, is purely orchestral and yet already benefits from the composer's work at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France, where he studied in 1991-92 with Phillipe Manuory, Tristan Murail and Gilbert Amy, and found an ear for colour and an appetite for manipulating sound.
Devolution, the longest of the three tracks, was inspired by 'interactive perfrmance systems and the different kinds of decisions humans can make during live performance'. The music's highlight, aside from some conventionally beautiful tonal patches and references to Beethoven and Bolero, is a four-minute improvised solo cadenza by Paul D Miller, aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid. Robert Kirzinger's indispensable booklet-notes go into intricate detail about the equipment and settings, and flash words like 'turntablism' around with reckless disregard.