Digifiddling to the max
Todd Reynolds
Phil Kline
Michael Gordon
Paul de Jong
Michael Lowenstern
David T. Little
Nick Zammuto
Ken Thomson
Paula Matthusen
David Lang
Todd Reynolds
Ken Thomson
Catalog Number: 
new music

Sunnyside, NY

Release Date: 
Mar 29, 2011
Liner Notes: 
2 CD
OuterboroughiTunes Artist's PageiTunes Album Page
Song TitleTimePrice
2.The Solution08:38$0.99
3.End of Day04:31$0.99
4.Taskforce: Farmlab06:29$0.99
7.Icy Sleeves of Green v2.005:21$0.99
8.A Needle Pulling Fred08:01$0.99
10.Inward Bound03:34$0.99
12.And the Sky Was Still There07:53$0.99
13.Fast Pasture04:49$0.99
14.Storm Drain06:05$0.99
15.The End of an Orange07:25$0.99
One Sheet: 

Todd Reynolds is one of the founding fathers of the hybrid musician movement. Creating acoustic-electronica in real-time with only his 17th-century violin and a 21st-century laptop onstage, his sound mixes borrowed and home-brewed, avant and pop, jazz and classical. “A daredevil musician” (The New Yorker) his evolution is marked by long-time associations with Steve Reich, Meredith Monk, Bang on a Can, and ETHEL, the string quartet he co-founded in 1999.

Now, comes his first solo album, ‘Outerborough’, a 2CD set that reveals him as both a composer and as one of the most sought-after interpreters of contemporary music.

“The first reaction to these CDs - a full-bodied representation of Todd’s musical world – is that of breadth, of porousness, the genre-crossing dream realized.  Raga, jazz and blues, electronica, minimalism, fiddling traditions, Kreisler, rock and roll –intermingling and dialoguing in all the ways we had always hoped for.” — composer, Evan Ziporyn

One disc–the InSide–features seven of Reynolds’ own works, many of which use looping and layering techniques over which his violin lines soar effortlessly or create deliciously expanding densities. The pieces range from electronica to Renaissance stylings (a minimalist version of ‘Greensleeves’) and the title track, ‘Outerborough’, inspired by train travel, written for a film by Bill Morrison. ‘Transamerica’, features West Coast beatboxer and singer Kid Beyond; and ‘Centrifuge’ was created for the super-human abilities of the GuitarBot (one of the LEMUR instruments recently featured on Pat Metheny’s Orchestrion Tour).

The “OutSide” disc contains premieres of music by a host of New York notables, some connected with Bang on a Can, some with the über-popular the Books, and all with personality to spare. The electronic tones of Michael Gordon’s and Paul de Jong’s pieces belie their acoustic origins; Phil Kline manages to make the solo fiddle sound like a full orchestra on steroids; mash-up master Michael Lowenstern pays tribute to blues legend Robert Johnson; David T. Little’s ‘and the sky was still there’ incorporates the story of a soldier caught up in the de-humanizing policy of (recently-repealed) Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; Nick Zammuto (also of the Books) fast-forwards a field recording for some time-compressed pastoralism.

In his ‘Storm Drain’, Ken Thomson joins Reynolds on bass clarinet for a tight virtuosic romp that rises to fever pitch; Paula Matthusen explores language and memory in ‘The End of an Orange’, and Pulitzer prize-winner David Lang brings everything to a close with ‘Killer’, featuring thrashing and relentless violin lines which live alongside a just-as-relentless rhythmic track in what might seem like it was written for a punk band of one, all at once rebellious and incisive.


2011 Best Classical Release

First of all, it's great to get my hands on the 1st CD, as there has been so much buzz! Reynolds is definitely part of the new generation of post-post-minimalist but there is a kind of deeply intuitive, uber-musicality going on here that sets him apart from his peers. I love the pan-diatonic openness, warmth, and generosity usually found in jazzers like Pat Metheny or Keith Jarrett -it's completely disarming. Reynolds' heart is all over this CD--this is no composer/mathematician working out his angst-ridden reason for being. This is a very solid performer/composer expressing himself in the most direct way possible. – Mike Maguire

Violinist/Composer Todd Reynolds accomplished something very rare with Outerborough – creating unclassifiable music that is thoroughly modern but manages to be approachable, enjoyable listening. This album ended up on quite a few Best of 2011 lists, and gets our recommendation for fans of new music.

Best of 2011. Out­er­bor­ough is the best exam­ple of the rest­less, cre­ative rela­tion­ship between com­po­si­tion and pop music going on in con­tem­po­rary clas­si­cal.

For those in need of a respite from the constant barrage of overexposed holiday ‘favorites,’ Todd Reynolds has provided just the thing. His recasting of Greensleeves into a deconstructed looping meditation manages to remain in the “festive wintry” pocket while avoiding all the tinsel-laden cloying of so much seasonal dreck. (Note: the video art behind Todd is by R. Luke Dubois). The track can be heard on his latest Innova release, Outerborough, a double CD that is, in my opinion, one of 2011′s finest alt-classical recordings. – Christian Carey

Though Outerborough is just his first solo album, violinist/composer Todd Reynolds holds an impressive résumé, including memberships in Bang on a Can, Steve Reich and Musicians, and his own avant-garde string quartet, ETHEL. But his compositional skills and cross-century aesthetics leave a longer-lasting impression, offering dynamic melodies and structures alongside amplification, loop effects, and laptop electronics. Outerborough, meanwhile, is no ordinary debut. As a double album, it presents two sides to Reynolds: one as adventurous neoclassical composer and one as interpretive performer. The first disc contains seven personal compositions that achieve a wide range despite fairly limited timbres (although one unique track is performed by the League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots' Guitarbot). The second disc holds nine previously unreleased pieces by other acclaimed musicians, including David Lang, Phil Kline, andNick Zammuto and Paul de Jong of The Books. – Chris Force & Scott Morrow

Best of 2011 

Wavy carpets electronic drawing backgrounds and sinuous sound intriguing: landscapes slowly changing, twilight spread of saturated urban scenarios.Through the heavy traffic of a city center or from the sidewalks of a suburban metaphysical, presence begins to come forward and take shape: a person among people, but also a lone voice. It is the Violin Todd Reynolds , now electronically filtered and fused with the sonic environment that surrounds him, now melodic line that stands out from the bottom and draw figures with uncertain search for self, spotted by sudden and fleeting ignitions. This and more is Outerborough, the place / non-site designed by violinist / composer / improviser American, aided by his kindred spirits, among which worth mentioning Phil Kline, Michael Gordon, David Lang and Ken Thomson : united in 'offer genuinely and deeply contemporary musical experience. [from the Italian] – Filippo Focosi

Defining Todd Reynolds’ music isn’t just difficult, it’s also unnecessary. Whatever time you spend trying to decide what brand of post-, neo-, modern-, or avant-whatever he could be would be a waste. You can easily turn that headache into enjoyment by stepping back, thinking of the sound purely as “music”, and just absorbing all of the pieces from there... Outerborough is a rich album. If you have a taste for the electronic side of sprawling instrumental music that specializes in the cross-pollination of many ethnicities while not straying too far from the classical idiom, then there is much to like here. If none of that sounds good, then there is much to dislike. But like all risqué art, it’s difficult to remain indifferent in the face of such bold ideas. And in the end, maybe that’s this mammoth album’s greatest virtue: slicing through all of the indifference out there. – John Garratt

At the beginning of the year, we commented on how Todd Reynolds collaboration with Kid Beyond was likely to be one of the better tracks of the year. Now, with the year winding down, not too many artists have submitted comparable work and that prediction stands pretty solid. This is kind of remarkable, because we later learned that this is what Kid Beyond is normally occupied with. But perhaps that is the lesson behind Reynold's Outerborough, where so many names make a brief appearance on the double-disc album: music is a collaboration of minds and passions. This is self-evident for musicians that are part of a band, but those who generally fly solo can get a much needed boost of inspiration and creativity simply by working with a new musician. Given that one's thoughts and experiences are unique, the collaborative effort is a reconciliation of alien methods with one's own. And so it is with Outerborough, which takes on a variety of musical types but maintains a consistent sound throughout, because, ultimately, Todd Reynolds is in the driver's seat. Outerborough is an impressive album, one that everyone should experience. 

"[S]hort works that travel along with rhythmic-dynamic momentum and yet have a kind of transcendent lyricism thanks to Todd Reynolds's beautiful violin playing and fertile invention … All of it is thought-provoking and exceptional." [FULL ARTICLE]
Greg Edwards