Larry Kucharz Ambient Red Washes Larry Kucharz is one of the most underrated and underappreciated artists in the e-music community. He is also a true visionary. His CDs almost always include pieces that he created several years before the release. Ambient Red Washes is a set of eleven compositions, three of which are from 1993. Larry's "Vision" allows those pieces to fit smoothly in the flow of the disc. While the segues sound effortless, they are not. Larry is a diligent perfectionist -- or so it would seem judging from his releases -- and he most likely worked the flow ardently until he got it just right. This set of relaxing and hypnotic atmospheres is flawless. Each track has its own merit and integrity. Each track is also a major ingredient of the bigger picture. They all play important roles in Larry's musical monochromatic experiments. This solid effort is one of the year's best CDs. ~ Jim Brenholts CyberChoralColors By Larry Kucharz International Audiochrome, 2002 P.O. Box 1068 Rye, NY 10580 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Larry Kucharz has been around the New York music scene for more than thirty years as a “contemporary classical” composer in the experimental and minimalist genre. In the last decade he saw the music writing on the wall: classical music is just about dead except as an unprofitable museum. So he decided to market his music not as traditional concert performance but as electronic music on CD’s, published on his own private label, “International Audiochrome.” He has done not only “modern classical” but also techno, dance, and popular music releases.
This album features rhythm-less “choral” or chord-oriented pieces, with some counterpoint. His sounds are mostly sampled from human voices, but you’ d never know; they all sound electronic. The music is transcribed from his own “classical” scores, and his harmonies usually follow traditional keys and harmonies. But sometimes they are “impressionistic,” reminiscent of Debussy, and other times they use the mystical tone-clusters of more recent composers like Ligeti and Arvo Part. The “Cyber” series, in the first half of the album, is a set of pretty, slow, and sometimes sleep-inducing meditations. This is followed by the shorter “Organum” series, which has more motion. Some of these pieces are recent, written after 2000, and interestingly these are the simplest harmonically. His earlier work, written in the early ‘70s, is much more interesting to me, with modernist tone-clusters or neo-medieval voice leading in the style of Hindemith. None of these pieces have recognizable “tunes” or melodic lines; it’s the harmonies which count here.
Kucharz varies his sound quality in the third “Fugal” series, but in general the music on CyberChoralColors tends to be monotonous and limited in texture. I kept thinking about how it would sound if Kucharz had scored it for a wider range of instruments and volumes. As it is, this album is rather bland, despite the musical sophistication of its composer.
Hannah M.G. Shapero 3/28/03
Techno Unit 30, "audiochrome" (International Audiochrome) "Thinking man's techno" if there ever was such a style. Techno Unit 30 is really the innovative classical/minimalist composer Larry Kucharz, and this CD is a wonderfully unique take on contemporary electronic music. All compositions are named sequentially, the first being "U301" and the ninth and last named "U309." This is pretty appropriate, since all the tracks sound similar. However, it's hard to complain too much when that sound is like none other. Kucharz actively shuns most normal sources for techno loops; there is a little electronic percussion and techno's ever-present deep kick drum, admittedly, but there are also trippy organ drones, found percussion, and Tangerine Dream/Klaus Schulze-like ambient weirdness. The composer uses these loops very sparingly, as well, effectively creating wide-open spaces in the music. What's more, Kucharz isn't afraid to have different loops at different tempos, creating truly mesmerizing pieces of clockwork. It is here that his minimalist roots show most. True, the music is incredibly repetitive, but the repetition is an important compositional feature, and I doubt anyone used to hearing electronic music will find it too distracting. Bottom line: Unique and challenging. ~Jon Dharma
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