Ex Machina

Ex Machina

The original cloud computing
Neil Rolnick
Neil Rolnick
Ted Nash
Ashley Bathgate
Kathleen Supove
Catalog Number: 
new classical

New York, NY

Release Date: 
Oct 28, 2016
Liner Notes: 
2 CD
Neil Rolnick: Ex MachinaiTunes Artist's PageiTunes Album Page
Song TitleTimePrice
1.Silicon Breath23:36
3.Cello Ex Machina28:04
4.O Brother!09:38$0.99
5.Dynamic RAM & Concert Grand30:12
One Sheet: 

In the machine. Out of the machine. Composer Neil Rolnick has a thing about machines. He likes to play with them. And he likes to tell other people how to play with them. That’s what he does on this album, Ex Machina.  In Silicon Breath, Ted Nash (of Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra) uses the alto saxophone to coax the computer into sounds luscious and swinging. Kathleen Supové in Dynamic RAM & Concert Grand trades control of the computer back and forth with Rolnick while romping through a cornucopia of piano styles. Ashley Bathgate (of the Bang On A Can All-Stars) integrates her cello with the laptop, taking control of the processing to create a performance of orchestral proportions in Cello Ex Machina. Rolnick is alone with his machine in WakeUp and O Brother! – mashups which spin and shape alternative narratives from familiar samples.

In a concert review in the Washington Post, Anne Midgette said: “[A] terrific concert. Rolnick plays with the lines between computer and acoustic music. … The laptop pieces … were entirely as engaging as the acoustic ones … and nicely contrasting.  … Bathgate is a glorious cellist … Supové grooved and danced over a piano part that called for everything from honky-tonk to improvisation."

Take the plunge, and join Rolnick and his musicians in the machine. 


"Ex Machina showcases five works that delight in the tranformation of recorded instruments and vocals without losing sight of the idea that the finished product is something deliberately composed. ... Here there is a real-time, performative ethos that is as playful as it is serious. It is Neil Rolnick and his collaborators that make this program very worthwhile, in the end. And for that reason I do recommend that all with an interest in electroacoustics hear this. It is fun and serious at the same time! Kudos!" [FULL ARTICLE]
Grego Edwards 

The American composer Neil Rolnick (born in 1947) is known to aficionados of the Innova but not only, for having always pursued a technological music, but with a communicative soul, profoundly human. Despite having studied with Pierre Boulez , Rolnick (as the French composer, somewhat sarcastically, had this to say to him) was "too American": in the sense of too voted in a "popular" approach, in fact, will turn in his strength (I recommend reading in this regard the interview by Frank J. Oteri , made available on the website of Innova, complete with a video of some musical performances). Strong of a solid educational background in classical and more contemporary experimental, but also a youth spent in a few rock and jazz band, Our has developed, over the years, a sophisticated music, which makes use of advanced technologies and systems avant-garde composition, but at the same time it manages to be enjoyable and intriguing right from the start. In two of the songs presented here, the ubiquitous laptop Rolnick computer takes a few folk songs loan, for defragmenting them in a mirror and interacting that never make us lose touch with the themes of the songs reworked. In the three long tracks where Rolnick dialogues with acoustic instruments (it is in fact a double CD), to shift solo - Ted Nash on saxophone, Ashley Bathgate on cello and Kathleen Supové piano: all three sensational - requires a continuous interaction (and at times even a good deal of improvisation) much with the changing electronic scenarios designed by Rolnick, as with samples of what he (the soloist) and sounds that are continuously processed, defining contrapuntal textures of considerable complexity but also light, geometric clarity. Through catchy melodies, phase shift techniques and sound addition, snappy rhythm sections and full of groove, Rolnick can pass through different emotional stages, but always with an unmistakable sense of irony that would perhaps not like Boulez and company, but that writer like it very much.


"It starts immediately with a bang thanks to a first piece starring the alto saxophonist Ted Nash, generously overdubbed (practice back even later) to create the effect of a lush saxophone ensemble throughout, in a whirl of ideas and always relevant solutions, brilliant, including structural happiness and good use of space, with more shrill and other more staid moments. Following the first of two incidents in which Rolnick is alone with his PC, and feels, because the quality difference is clear between similschitarrate and like vocal, rumorismi and various grumbling. Thank goodness that comes right after another excellent song, the protagonist here, cello (still largely overdubbed) Ashley Bathgate, who does everything by itself, including computerized processing. A powerful, impetuous archettato opens the floodgates to the track (twenty-eight minutes), which then evolves in coexist between acoustic and electronic element, as well as between archettato, precisely (which remains the cornerstone of the song), and pinched, also superimposed, with effects that song toward the center, becoming almost elegiac, lyrical and tuneful. Sumptuous." [FULL ARTICLE] - Alberto Bazzurro