Varieties of Religious Experience Suite

(VRE Suite) by Gene Pritsker

innova 235


1  William James' Introduction  7:06

2  Consciousness of a Presence  9:45

3  Everything Else Might be a Dream  5:45  

4  The Less Real of the Two  13:02

5  Closer to Me than My Own Breath  6:34

6  William James' Genuine Perceptions of Truth  5:12

7  Tolstoy  12:42

8  William James' Conclusion  4:15


Performed by Sound Liberation:

Gene Pritskerguitar

Greg Bakerguitar

David Gotaycello

Mat Fieldesbass

Joe Abbadrums



My composition, VRE Suite, continues the long tradition of composers creating suites out of their operas. The music in this suite is from my opera William James – Varieties of Religious Experience. I open up many sections for improvisation and group development while reinterpreting many of the vocal melodies found in the opera as instrumental music. The original spirit of the opera stays in tact. The music is influenced by jazz, contemporary classical music, improvisation, minimalism, hip-hop and rock rhythms, etc.


Scored for a quintet version of my band Sound Liberation – cello, 2 electric guitars, contrabass and drum set – this album is in contrast to our previous albums that utilize voices (various singers and rappers) and many varied instrumental timbers.


In VRE I was interested in experimenting with a constant contrast between meticulously notated music and improvisation. Each of the eight movements have sections that mostly repeat an ostinato rhythm, and are designated for particular instruments to improvise over, though most of the music you hear is carefully notated. The goal is to effortlessly shift from one section to the next, creating a continuous composition while challenging the listeners perception as to weather the music being heard is notated or improvised.



Gene Pritsker

Composer/guitarist/rapper has written over three hundred seventy compositions, including chamber operas, orchestral and chamber works, electro-acoustic music, songs for hip-hop and rock ensembles, etc. All his compositions employ an eclectic spectrum of styles and are influenced by his studies of various musical cultures.

Gene's music has been performed all over the world at various festivals and by many ensembles and performers, including the Adelaide Symphony, The Athens Camarata, Brooklyn and Berlin Philharmonic. He has worked closely with Joe Zawinul and has orchestrated major Hollywood movies.


The New York Times described him as ' … audacious … multitalented.' Joseph
Pehrson, writing in The Music Connoisseur, described Pritsker as
'dissolv[ing] the artificial boundaries between high brow, low brow, classical, popular musics and elevates the idea that if it's done well it is great music, regardless of the style or genre'. Organizations he is associated with include: Composers' Concordance, Absolute Ensemble, The International Street Cannibals. Some of Gene Pritsker's music is published by: Falls House Press, Gold Branch Music, Periferia Sheet Music & Calabrese Brothers music and recorded by: Col Legno, Enja, Euterpe, Wergo and Capstone record labels.


Sound Liberation

is an eclectic hip-hop/chamber/jazz/rock/etc. ensemble. The group incorporates its philosophy by performing compositions that encompass a diverse range of musical genres, heavily influenced by hip-hop and rock rhythms, committed to 'ending the segregation of sound vibration'. This enables one to hear elements from classical music to Jazz to music of various cultures at a Sound Liberation show. 'The freedom of sounds… is truly implemented in a masterful way' – Thorsten Bendnarz, Jazzethic Magazine, August '08. The New Music Connoisseur, wrote this about their album on Col Legno records 'A glorious result it truly is … This is the best Sound Liberation product so far.' 'There is something for every kind of music enthusiast in this album. This is part of the Sound Liberation philosophy.' And a review in the May '09 issue of Wildy's World declared: 'Sound Liberation create a recording as alive as creation itself … You can't help but be intrigued by such an ambitious and original cycle of songs … Sound Liberation always keeps things new and interesting.'


Recorded at: Pencil Factory Studios aka Studio 420, NY

Mixed at: Noizepunk Studios, NY

Produced, recorded, engineered, mixed by
Gene Pritsker

Additional mixing: Dave Gotay, Greg Baker

Mastering: Franz Hackl,

Cover design:,
photo on the back by Martin Wunderer,
portrait photo of G. Pritsker: Christopher Antollino,
production: Luma Launisch.

Special thanks to: Kim and Sebastian Izya Pritsker.


Innova Director: Philip Blackburn

Operations Manager: Chris Campbell

Innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.

Supported in part by a grant from the New York State Music Fund, established by the New York State Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.