CD REVIEW: String Theory, "Triptych"
writer: David Lockeretz
String Theory is a unique performing arts ensemble that mixes a wide variety of sounds to come up with something original. On how many other CDs can the listener experience surf music, folk music, alternapop and Ravel's "Bolero?" That a document this diverse, thoughtful, skillful and soulful could exist today helps renew my faith.
The first part of the CD's musical trilogy, "Classical", features interpretations of Ravel and Tchaikovsky along with other traditional-style pieces in which brooding strings blend with ethnic-influenced percussion to create a sound that is dark yet vibrant. "Pop", the second part, features sophisticated, well, pop music with unlikely melodies and surreal lyrics that still manage to form a cohesive unit. "Surf Surge", with its pulsing groove and interesting counterpoint, is a favorite of mine. "Experimental", the last part, consists of short examples of film music. These pieces are the most abstract on the CD and perhaps the least memorable, but they still represent a strong sense on the group's part of both modernism and tradition.
There are many ways to describe String Theory: Hypnotic, meditative, lyrical, ironic, exploratory and more...but the bottom line is that this music speaks for itself. It defies categorization; it bypasses conventional thinking (and marketing) to do what so much music fails to: communicate.