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Monday, October 17, 2011

What I'm listening to... Edmund Welles' "Imagination Lost"

A couple weeks ago I put Edmund Welles newest CD in (yes an actual CD in a CD player). My Uncle Rob, who mistakenly listened to Imagination Lost, proclaimed it "badass." 

Hallowed Be Thy Name, with guest vocalist Gene Jun

Okay, this is an Iron Maiden tune, they're wearing costumes, and there's a singer. Edmund Welles  is playing heavy metal in a bass clarinet quartet (which they call a "heavy chamber ensemble")... and they are doing it really well. There's no denying that these guys are awesome bass clarinetists. 

I think any non-pop instrumentalist has thought at one time "wouldn't it be awesome if I could shred (insert your fav pop tune) on my (clarinet/violin/euphonium/whatever). I could make tens of dollars doing that at clubs, and stuff!" There are also a zillion videos of people performing their favorite pop tunes on the clarinet/bass clarinet. I got seriously side-tracked while writing this positing because I was checking out the endless supply of clarinet-pop on YouTube. Interestingly, "Instrument Maniac" has more hits for his Poker Face video than Stanley Drucker playing Weber's Concertino with the NYPO under Zubin Mehta. I'm not even going to begin to speculate the reasons for this, but I can tell you that three clarinet friends sent me Poker Face by Instrument Maniac and zero clarinet friends sent me Stanley Drucker playing Weber's Concertino or any other "traditional" clarinet recording on YouTube.

Anyway, Edmund Welles is not your typical YouTube clarinet-pop, and Imagination Lost is not your grandma's bass clarinet quartet record.  I think there are some great reasons as to why this particular instrumentation/style works in their bio on www.edmundwelles.com. "The bass clarinet has a 5-octave range and a huge span of tonal, melodic, and rhythmic capabilities." and "... the bass clarinet can achieve a virtually unlimited range of sounds, and when this same instrumental voice is multiplied, it can be as powerful as a boogie boogie piano, a gospel quartet or a rock band." 

Try to get the actual CD instead of the digital download, the artwork is interesting. Happy listening!