psst... psst!

psst... psst!

Chamber music discovered in the Large Hadron Collider
Gyorgi Ligeti
Frederic Rzewski
Valentin Silvestrov
Robert Kyr
Stephen Vitiello
Robert Erickson
Beta Collide
Beta Collide
Molly Barth
Brian McWhorter
David Riley
Phillip Patti
Catalog Number: 
new music

Eugene, OR

Release Date: 
Aug 31, 2010
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
Beta Collide: Psst!iTunes Artist's PageiTunes Album Page
Song TitleTimePrice
1.Mysteries of the Macabre (Arr. for Chamber Ensemble)06:40$0.99
3.Trio: Sonatina05:28$0.99
4.Trio: Variations03:50$0.99
5.Memories of an Echo09:08$0.99
6.Nanosonata No. 7 + Mollitude02:56$0.99
9.Nanosonata No. 702:42$0.99
One Sheet: 

Beta Collide, directed by Grammy Award-winning flutist Molly Barth (formerly of eighth blackbird) and trumpeter Brian McWhorter (formerly of Meridian Arts Ensemble), has just released its debut album Psst...Psst! with stellar pianist/celestist David Riley, percussionist/sommelier Phillip Patti, and with contributions from THE Thom Yorke and Colin Greenwood of Radiohead. Together they make quirky European and American new music not only palatable but refreshing.

The record features absurdly virtuosic music by Ligeti and Erickson, a long-awaited recording of Silvestrov, lovely soundscapes by Kyr and Vitiello, a Rzewski trifecta, and even a song called Nude just in case you weren't already stimulated.

Beta Collide is new to the universe, not just Oregon.

Beta Collide was formed in the Large Hadron Collider, a fertile space for new musical particles to emerge. Beta Collide might be the best thing to happen to music since the Akai MPC60.

Beta Collide is: Molly Barth, flutes Molly Alicia Barth has received a Career Opportunity Grant award from the Oregon Arts Commission. Brian McWhorter, trumpet, flugelhorn David Riley, piano, celesta Phillip Patti, percussion


Trumpeter Brian McWhorter and flutist Molly Barth are ... two of the finest players on their instruments in the world, veterans of virtuoso new music groups Meridian Arts Ensemble and eighth blackbird, respectively. Abetted by pianist David Riley and percussionist Philip Patti on their debut recording, the Eugene-based duo’s technical prowess constantly amazes — not just in the far out stuff (e.g. Robert Erickson’s “Kryl,” featuring trumpet blasts and shrieks, and the major American composer Frederic Rzewski’s “Mollitude”) but also in the exquisitely nuanced control of tone and expressivity that glows in gentler pieces like UO prof Robert Kyr’s ethereally beautiful, Japanese-influenced “Memories of an Echo” and Stephen Vitiello’s “Yellow.” A brilliant remix of Radiohead’s “Nude” shows that the pair’s restless artistic vitality extends past the avant-garde in crowd.

- Brett Campbell, Eugene Weekly

The selections ... show an independent irreverence toward the orthodoxies of the new music recital. A lot of the music is just plain fun. Three whimsical works by Rzewski are essentially the same piece heard in different guises, his Mollitude(written for Barth in 2006), Nanosonata No. 7 for piano, and Nanosonata No. 7 + Mollitude, where the two are simultaneously played, to delightful effect. Mysteries of the Macabre is an absurd mélange of spoken word and disjunct instrumental fragments that manages to make sense as a satisfying musical whole. Erickson's Kryl requires jaw-dropping virtuosity from the solo trumpet, as well as split-second alternations of playing with outrageous extended vocal techniques. Other pieces are simply lovely. Silvestrov's Trio for flute, trumpet, and celesta has an effervescent otherworldliness far more animated than the serene mysticism usually associated with his work. Kyr's Memories of an Echo has a transparently simple premise; the sound of the flute predominates at the beginning, with the flügelhorn heard from an extreme distance, and over the course of the piece they gradually exchange positions, and the effect is magical. Each of these players is exceptionally virtuosic, negotiating the demanding scores with apparent effortlessness. Innova's sound is clean and open, with excellent presence. Beta Collide is an ensemble that fans of new music should watch out for.

- Stephen Eddins, All Music Guide

At times arid (the Ligeti), at times strangely melodic. A fine journey overall.

- François Couture, Monsieur Delire

'Beta Collide’s arrangement of György Ligeti’s “Mysteries of the Macabre” ... combines vocalizations (Sprechstimme) and just plain old grunts with squeals from the trumpet. There are moments in which a single note on the piano glides seamlessly to a note from the trumpet and when a tone from the trumpet slides to a note that is spoken and sung. It is jarring at times, but also engaging. Two pieces by Frederic Rzewski, “Mollitude” and “Nanosonata No. 7,” have a sporadic mood with lots of stops and starts, intriguing slapping sounds from the flute, and melodramatic riffs on the piano. Stephen Vitiello’s “Waterline” has all sorts of blurry, fuzzy sounds as if the ensemble were playing underwater. A distortion of sound seems to give it a slightly psychedelic edge, as well. Vitello’s “Yellow” combines distorted sounds with burps and gurgles that evoke a nightmare on a water bed. Another really edgy piece is “Kryl” by Robert Erickson, which has a fascinating interplay between vocalizations and the trumpet. Sometimes the two border on teretts syndrome. Valentin Silvestrov’s “Trio” trumps the playfulness between the flute and trumpet with a myriad of music box-like overtones from the celesta. Robert Kyr’s “Memories of an Echo” has single tones that are held for a long time so that the flute and trumpet echo each other in a pleasing way.'

- James Bash, Oregon Music News

"Come una navicella spaziale aliena (marziana?) che atterra sulla Terra, il gruppo Beta Collide fa il suo ingresso nel pianeta della musica contemporanea, andando subito a occupare un territorio tutto suo, portando con sé una buona dose di arditezza e sfrontatezza. La musica da loro eseguita sembra trasportarci in un’altra dimensione, un po’ sinistra e misteriosa, di cui poco ci suona familiare. Le lande abitate dal surrealismo grottesco di Ligeti, dalle ossessioni ritmiche di Rzewsky, dalle sperimentazioni elettroniche post-ambient di Vitiello, o dai bizzarri fraseggi dell’assolo disegnato da Robert Erikson, sono lande desolate, la cui estraneità è acuita dalla combinazione inedita di sonorità che i quattro musicisti (flauto, tromba, pianoforte/celesta e percussioni) sono in grado di generare. Ma poi ci pensa Robert Kyr, con il suo poetico canto invocante una qualche presenza, e (udite udite) i Radiohead (proposti a fine disco) a farci intuire una qualche traccia di umanità − che per ora rimane sussurrata, ma che forse il gruppo ci mostrerà gradualmente, negli anni a venire, con le prossime (si spera numerose) performances discografiche. C’è vita su Marte."

- Filippo Focosi, Kathodik

The title is a whisper, the music is a blast of fresh air … As the name suggests, the album is a high-energy affair, often with terse fragments of phrases and other sonic particles colliding in spare atmospheres. "Psst...psst!" comes from the opening track, a chamber arrangement of György Ligeti's "Mysteries of the Macabre" -- a giddily anarchic play of instrumental outbursts and spoken word. McWhorter is spectacular in Robert Erickson's similarly hair-raising "Kryl," an astonishing, virtuosic bit of rapid-fire counterpoint between trumpet notes and extreme vocalizations. Balancing the angular bits are Robert Kyr's ingenious "Memories of an Echo," evocative of the ancient Japanese court music tradition, gagaku; and dreamy washes of distorted sound in Stephen Vitiello's "Yellow." There's not a weak track on the disc … Smart, sharp and sometimes delightfully shocking, "Psst...psst!" is first-rate in every way.

- James McQuillen, The Oregonian