Facts About Water

Facts About Water

Buddha, bees, and interrogations
Guy Barash
Cornelius Dufallo
Jennifer Choi
Lev 'Ljova' Zhurbin
Yves Dharamraj
David Bloom
Jamie Jordan
Eric Dudley
Kathleen Supove
Nadav Lev
Rachel Golub
Vasko Dukovski
Amy Garapic
Daniel Linden
Victor Poison-Tete
Anthony Coleman
Ron Anderson
Dave Hofstra
Mike Pride
Guy Barash
Andrew Struck-Marcell
Catalog Number: 
new classical
new music
string quartet
solo voice

New York City, NY

Release Date: 
May 27, 2014
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
One Sheet: 

A prose-poem-like passage in Nick Flynn’s second memoir, The Ticking is the Bomb, provides the title for Guy Barash’s debut album, Facts About Water. This album represents Barash’s musical journey that started with them meeting one evening in a Brooklyn café in the fall of 2008 and developed into a fruitful collaboration.

Flynn’s memoir frequently delves into the Buddhist cycle of birth, life and death (Saṃsāra) and other themes in post-9/11 American life, and includes many water references. Barash’s album is a personal meditation on the fluidity of our perception, mindfulness amid a hyperactive society and the cyclical nature of being — all qualities present in abundance in his tumultuous string quartet, Wrong Ocean.

Barash developed a new aesthetic during this collaboration, investigating such ideas as simultaneity and synchronicity within the context of a psychologically-disorienting microtonal environment; exploring diverse sources such as the geometry of the beehive and the sonic environment within and around it from the perspective of Blind Huber, an 18th century beekeeper; redacted testimonies of Abu Ghraib detainees; and a shape-shifting, uncooperative deity with the gift of prescience.

Facts About Water was produced by internationally renowned composer and producer Elliott Sharp. 

In 2012 Guy Barash was a composer-in‐residence at Turtle Bay Music School as a recipient of Exploring the Metropolis' Con Edison Composition Award. Currently he is a fellow composer in the American Opera Projects' Composers & the Voice program.

In 2010 Barash founded Eavesdropping, a new music series at The Tank (now hosted by Spectrum NYC). 


"[Guy Barash] leads the listener through imagined landscapes, constructed of real-world artifacts and memories, altered and transformed in the narrative to expose significance not even ordinarily latent in them, but accessible only in the great mash-up of sound objects. ... His String Quartet No. 1 “Wrong Ocean” sounds heavily aleatoric or modular, but is completely and conventionally notated. Frightening, violent effects, simple in isolation, are arranged into complex combinations. Its density of composition and unrelenting visceral menace are reminiscent of George Crumb’s Black Angels. ... [A]ll the performers, too numerous to be named individually, displayed such dedication and proficiency, that they seemed extensions of the composer's will." [FULL ARTICLE]
Seth Gilman

“Barash puts together four completely variant pieces of music united … by a love of the adventurous and avant garde. … For the adventurous listener looking for something REALLY new.” [FULL ARTICLE]
George W. Harris

"[T]he combination of various worlds of outness [is] compelling. Texts are as abstracted or extraordinary as the music, yet there is often narrative, Kafkaesque, Beckettian. The music comes at you like a tornado or, perhaps more appropriately since this album has water as a thematic element, like a waterspout dead-ahead. Those devotees of uncompromising new music will find this an absorbing listen. I surely did." [FULL ARTICLE]
Greg Edwards

“New York-based composer Guy Barash is a risk-taker, willing to pull ideas from all disciplines as he jumps into the unknown. … [‘Wrong Ocean’] explores water’s potent, destructive force. Thorny melodic lines and unabated dissonance sweeps the listener into a disorienting river of sound, but recurring motives … create unity among the short and turbulent movements. … 'Blind Huber', for mixed chamber ensemble, excerpts its text from [Nick] Flynn’s poems about eighteenth-century Swiss naturalist François Huber… This grotesque but delicate setting alternates perspectives between Huber and his hive’s collective mind, each exploring their own natures. ... Most striking is the interplay between soprano Jamie Jordan and tenor Eric Dudley. ... 'Seven Testimonies' is a schizophrenic pastiche, a setting of Flynn’s text adapted from redacted testimonies of Abu Ghraib detainees. … The familiar instrumentation is rendered farcical in its abrupt starts and half-remembered riffs on American patriotic songs, itself a collection of redactions. … [In ‘Proteus,’] Andrew Struck-Marcell’s voice is consistently matter-of-fact, croaking as he reads Flynn’s dark and searching prose poem. The distorted digital processing of his voice flickers and changes with each segment of the text, vocoded pitches appearing and fading like the piece’s metamorphic namesake. The effect is terrifying. ... All of the music on Facts About Water skitters with tension, intricate musical phrasing, and a deep understanding and respect for Nick Flynn’s text... [T]he individual pieces are excellently performed and well crafted, and merit repeated listening.” [FULL ARTICLE]
Jason Charney

"... the quartet on its own expanded on traditional string sounds, often creating an evocatively rubber smear, in the Israeli composer Guy Barash’s String Quartet No. 1 “Wrong Ocean” (2012), a rhythmically vital evocation of rough waves and tidal forces." [FULL ARTICLE]
Allan Kozinn

"Guy Barash‘s Wrong Ocean, a kinetic, ten-movement flurry of wild precision, offered another extreme while exhibiting an analogous standard of discipline and maturity." [FULL ARTICLE]
Christian Kriegeskotte