ambient arrangements modern classical piano review synth tuned percussion

Dylan Henner – Great Prairie Plains: Studies of American Minimalism Review

Reimagining's of rarities in classical music.

Sounds like…

Marimba and ambient Grande Central.

The review

Releasing marimba ambient classical studies on cassette tape might be one of the most beautifully niche things I’ve come across in ages. Dylan Henner teamed up with dauw to release his 44 minute 2 track album that shines a light on two pieces of music that he personally loves. Running at 22 minutes each, the pieces are lengthy and hypnotic but they are both warmly celestial and grounded at the same time. This obscurity deserves some love.

Dylan Henner photo
Dylan Henner

Taking Terry Riley’s ‘In C’ and reworking it on marimba results in a relaxed and playthrough rendition. There is some superb sound layering here as the marimba is joined by a synth choir that evokes the washed-out sound of the mallets. It is light, airy and full of buoyancy. ‘2nd Movement’ is a reimagining of a piece by Su Tissue. This is a waltzing cycle of piano that is joined by synths, electric and acoustic guitar. It barely changes its melodies through the first few minutes, it just piles on the layers. After nine minutes of hypnotic cycles, all the traditional instruments fall away leaving just a celestial synth that twinkles and beams. For the remainder of the track, the breezy synth gently simmers away, shifting chords and undulating like turning giant in the sky. Both of these tracks are really well put together and listeners who enjoy repetitive structures that change just a tiny bit all the time will adore this release – especially ‘2nd Movement’.

So will Dylan Henner please everyone? Of course not. I get the impression that Dylan Henner made this as a labour of love for both pieces. He studied the first in music school, having to persuade his peers to let him to it, and he states spending years trying to buy a copy of the second. Annoyed at the rarity of it all, he decided to copy and then lightly rearrange it. Obscure? Yes. Talented? Hell yes! Enjoy.

Recommended track: 2nd Movement (Su Tissue)

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Dylan Henner - Great Prairie Plains: Studies of American Minimalism

7.5

7.5/10

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