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Classical Music Review

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From a Far-Off World


Composer: Demetrius Spaneas
Label: Ravello Records
Release Date: 09 June 2017

Ravello Records reissues Demetrius Spaneas's 2006 album From a Far-Off World. The release sees saxophonist and bass clarinetist Spaneas perform compositions for woodwinds and electronics. Along with two interludes for alto saxophone composed by Spaneas, the album includes Shaun Naidoo’s Walking in the Dirt for bass clarinet and Blood on the Pattern for alto saxophone, along with Jane Brockman’s Tagore Songs for soprano saxophone...

Many moons ago, and for reasons that I still can't fathom, back in the early '80s I bought a vinyl edition of BBC Radiophonic Workshop: Out of This World (1976). This was a collection of atmospheric sounds and effects from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop some of which had been used in TV and radio projects. In fact from time to time I still spot them in modern productions.

However, what that album wasn't, was an LP that you could listen to from start to finish, it was more a release you'd pick elements from if you wanted background effects in a radio or theatrical play. In many ways From a Far-Off World reminds me of Out of This World. There's the same timeless quality: It sounds like an old recording of what someone thinks the future will sound like... or an alien environment.

I'm not sure how many of these were tightly composed and how many, if any, used a little improvisation, but they all sound as though the music is growing organically as the musicians take inspiration from one another.

There are 12 tracks here (57 min, 08 sec) and it's technically a masterclass in either improvisational skills, or how to make something that is tightly composed sound fluid and "of the moment". While it wasn't the sort of thing I'd listen to for pleasure, I can appreciate how intricate and interesting the sounds that emerge truly are.


Darren Rea

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