RECAP, together with composers Angélica Negrón, Allison Loggins-Hull, Lesley Flannigan, Ellen Reid, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Caroline Shaw and the members of TRANSIT New Music have created something that is as visceral as it is kaleidoscopic. From thundering drums to singing metal, gentle, chordal swells to sweet arpeggios, Count to Five (Sept. 24, Innova Recordings) leads the listener through a myriad of soundscapes that all hold space for and bring attention to the body.
The body often disappears on the concert stage, becoming but a conduit for “the music”. Which is to say that we, of course, know there are bodies there working to produce sound but that is far from what we gather to pay attention to. This phenomenon is all the more apparent when listening to recorded music given there is no physical, human presence to be found as the source of sound. What is remarkable about Count to Five is that each track, in ways both unique and shared, lifts the veil between listener and performer in a way that does not divest attention away from the music, but instead brings the performers in to share our field of awareness.
As Donna Lee Davidson points out in her review, there is a sense of communality present in RECAP’s freshman album. However, I think this feeling comes from more than just the content of each work. It stems from the tactility of the crunching, tapping, and rattling of Negrón’s Count to Five, from the thundering drums in Hedera (Flannigan), from the use of the voice, of breath, in the works by Shaw, Kouyoumdjian, and Hull that reminds us that not only are there bodies making sound but that there are also bodies receiving those sounds. And it is in this act of giving and receiving enacted between bodies that RECAP creates community amongst themselves and their collaborators, but also extends their hand towards us, the listener.
Count to Five showcases not only the artistry of Arlene Acevedo, Alexis Carter, Tiahna Sterling, and Aline Vasquez but also exhibits their ability to use their medium as a way of reaching others. To experience the album live, check out RECAP’s album release show on September 29th at 8:00pm at the Tenri Cultural Center in NYC (and for those of us who live elsewhere, the show will be featured on Mantra Percussion’s YouTube channel).