Play local. Hear global.
Daniel Rhode
Adam Cuthbert
Matt Finch
Grand Valley State University (GVSU) New Music Ensemble
Catalog Number: 
new classical
new music

Allendale, MI

Release Date: 
Oct 27, 2017
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
ReturniTunes Artist's PageiTunes Album Page
Song TitleTimePrice
1.Daily Limits Lie02:29$0.99
2.Location Sharing05:44$0.99
3.With a Hint of Blue03:10$0.99
4.Glass Surface06:05$0.99
6.Background Refresh05:03$0.99
7.Dearest Rewinder These07:39$0.99
9.Under Its Own Colorless Weight08:26$0.99
10.There Are No. Gradients06:39$0.99
12.In the Manner of Her Operations05:46$0.99
13.Airport for Light01:28$0.99
14.In a Clear Wall07:31$0.99
One Sheet: 

Go big or go home, they say.

The ever-intrepid New Music Ensemble at Grand Valley State University (Allendale, Michigan) gets to do both. Having conquered the Big Apple with their rendition of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians, and then turning to Terry Riley’s In C, performing and remixing it for their most recent innova album, they now return home to see what they can come up with on their own. Their wholesome farm-to-table freshness is apparent in this new album where three alumni wrote acoustic music for the group and then took back the recordings to play with in the studio.

RETURN may not have had to look beyond its own back yard for materials, but this album of hybrid electronic-acoustic audio landscapes opens up a wide musical horizon — forward gazing, a bit chill and sentimental, with surprises along the way. 

In the end it is a youthful vision of beauty unencumbered by textbook dogma. And to polish it all off, the mastering was done by Grammy winner Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound (whose other clients include Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Adele).

All the music on this 78’ album was written by three former students of ensemble director and composer Bill Ryan: Daniel Rhode, Adam Cuthbert, and Matt Finch. With their 15 new tracks, the ensemble has now commissioned over 60 new works since its inception in 2006. Now they can add over a dozen more landscapes to their road trips from Carnegie Hall to the Grand Tetons, and save gas in the process.

RETURN may have classroom origins, but it pushes down those walls and lands on its feet in a remarkable soundscape tour de force. This is one album you will come back to repeatedly.


100 Best Songs of 2017 - NPR MUSIC


"Calming, alluring and sophisticated all at once, RETURN marks a high point for Ryan, his ensemble and former students. Those who are drawn to the music of Max Richter, Daniel Wohl, Hauschka and the remarkable Jacaszek, will want to pay close attention to this fresh batch of electroacoustic practitioners." [FULL ARTICLE] - Tom Huizenga


"Record, deconstruct, reassemble, recompose – of course that is no unusual concept in current electronic experimental music. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Most of the times the result is also a remix of an earlier work that is also known, so both can be compared. But not here: it’s part of the compositional process which leads to a first-generation piece. A fusion of two worlds coming together in an exceptional way." [FULL ARTICLE]


"Return might actually be joyful, despite the audio’s solemnity.  Perhaps the quiet, peaceful, yet revelatory bliss of discarding the physical and emotional elements of a public persona is what the video is intended to show.  Or perhaps we’re not meant to know." [FULL ARTICLE] - Seth Tompkins


"So where does this leave us? With 15 gorgeous selections of music at the intersection of ambient and minimalism, where repeating patterns may devolve into washes of sound or bold chords, and where a mechanical pulse may underlie soaring stardust synth before resolving into a drone. Like the best of Brian Eno's instrumental music, your attention can dip in and out at will with no loss of satisfaction. Return is a consistently immersive listen but if you want to sample try location sharing, with its commanding thrums, or dearest rewinder these, which moves through overlapping patterns, some quite Reichian, and resolves into gleaming, triumphant keyboard chords that wouldn't sound out of place on the new Beck album. Good show, GVSU!" [FULL ARTICLE]


"On their fourth effort, GVSU’s New Music Ensemble has looked inward for inspiration and found a multitude of possibilities. The light-bulb is on, folks; let’s make some noise!" [FULL ARTICLE] - Chuck Foster


"...bands of rhythmic pulsations that overlap and intersect along the course of each single track; and even among composers, whose unity of purpose makes them seem like a single voice. The effect is that of a refined ambient with tones that oscillate between the nostalgic and the disturbing..." [FULL ARTICLE] - Filippo Focosi


"This 15-track album presents 15 unique soundscapes, transferring us to a wide berth of sonic experiences. While the music is largely atmospheric, it rejects the boring nature that often associates within the subgenre. If you are a fan of electro-acoustic music, take note of these three young composers, and add the Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble to you list of groups to pay attention to; their musical excursions continue to impress." [FULL ARTICLE] - Matthew Younglove