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Deborah Thurlow | Patchworks

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Classical: New Music Ensemble Avant Garde: Modern Composition Moods: Type: Improvisational
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by Deborah Thurlow

Music that's in charge with me on french horn and my crew Gregor Kitzis, Clive Smith, Robert Kaus and guest Eric Ross, Kali Z.Fasteau, Scott Robinson and Bruce McKinney. We are the ground breakers of electronic sound and improvisation.
Genre: Classical: New Music Ensemble
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Scramble - Bruce McKinney
Deborah Thurlow & TURN ON THE MUSIC
10:04 $0.99
2. X - Bruce McKinney
Deborah Thurlow &TURN ON THE MUSIC
7:01 $0.99
3. Overture (Op. 47) - Eric Ross
Deborah Thurlow & TURN ON THE MUSIC
9:44 $0.99
4. Woods - Deborah Thurlow
Deborah Thurlow & TURN ON THE MUSIC
11:30 $0.99
5. Quartet (Op. 51) - Eric Ross
Deborah Thurlow & TURN ON THE MUSIC
9:44 $0.99
6. Emerging - Clive Smith
Deborah Thurlow & TURN ON THE MUSIC
12:50 $0.99
7. Mellow Evening - Kali. Z. Fasteau
Deborah Thurlow & TURN ON THE MUSIC
10:43 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

The founder of Turn on the Music, Deborah Thurlow, developed her vision and mission to create a futuristic chamber music ensemble with a core instrumentation of horn (Deborah Thurlow), violin (Gregor Kitzis), electric guitar (Clive Smith) and electric bass (Robert Kaus). This instrumentation is augmented with the occasional addition of other electronically processed acoustic instruments and computer music in the mix, creating a variety of ensemble settings. For example, on this recording, PATCHWORKS, the guest composer and artists/composers are Bruce Mckinney, composer, Eric Ross, theremin, Scott Robinson, theremin, Kali. Z. Fasteau, soprano saxophone, ney flute and vocal.

The purpose of this group is to expand the aesthetic of contemporary improvisation by using a hint of jazz and rock influences, to have new chamber works composed, and to create new and interesting timbres and textures through the use of processed and electro-acoustic techniques.

Tracks 1, 6 & 7 performed live in concert at the Puffin Cultural Forum Comprovisations Series, Tim Blunk, Director, 3/21/04

Track 2 performed live in concert at Kingsborough Community College, 3/19/04

Tracks 4,5 & 6 performed live in concert at the Puffin Cultural Forum Comprovisations Series, Tim Blunk, Director, 10/12/02

Sound Healing Association


The Horn Call – John Dressler – Volume XXXVI, No. 1, October 2005 - PATCHWORKS
…performers may find great value in the literature on this particular disc.

All About Jazz – Budd Kopman – October 2, 2005 - PATCHWORKS
Thurlow is clearly a master of this area of musical composition and performance, attracting talented composers and performers into the orbit of Turn on the Music.

Computer Music Journal – Sandy Nordahl – Volume 27 – Issue 3 – Fall 2003 – I Am
Overall, this disc is an impressive endeavor. Ms. Thurlow really knows how to create a mood that hangs thick, like a fog clinging to the ground on a cold, full-moon night."

iTunes Music Blog – Hank Shiffman – December 31, 2004 – I Am
…this album is a noble effort. Ms. Thurlow and her collaborators combine instruments that have probably never been heard together before.

I am hangs together and creates a mood and a sense of place and purpose…feels like a soundtrack to a fantasy film…not a low budget shlocky film. I’d love to see the movie that merits these sounds behind it.

Metaphysical Reviews – Richard Fuller - April 2002 – Angelic Waves – Part 1
Composer and musician Deborah Thurlow now gives us an album that can lift the spirit of the listener while at the same time, offer the perfect means to meditation. And if that's not enough, Deborah Thurlow gave this reviewer a magic carpet that transported me to a better place, all within my heart.

Electronic Music Foundation – Joel Chadabe - December 2001 – I Am
"...chooses the music that she plays to allow her to create striking timbres that range from the reflective to the dramatic, from the romantic to the brash; and as she puts it all together, she emerges with an original and strong voice as instrumentalist and as composer...Thurlow plays horn, shofar, Tibetan singing bowl, and tingsha; Eric Ross plays theremin and piano; Clive Smith electric guitar with devices ... In short, the very choice of instruments is surprising, and she uses them in various combinations to great effect."

The Horn Magazine – Ian Wagstaff - December 2001 – I Am
"Forget Rattigan and Shilkloper, this jazz horn CD, entitled ‘I Am’, is really different. Quite how different? Well, combine the Dalai Lama with Berlioz, throw in some Hebraic influence and you might be getting there. New Jersey horn player, Deborah Thurlow uses an eclectic mix of instruments...strong electronic influence." IAN WAGSTAFF

The Horn Call – John Dressler - November 2001 – I Am
"Most of the music on this latest recording is atmospheric, metrically free, and soul-searching. Sections are reminiscent of music of Harry Partch, Rick Todd, and Tom Varner; other sections are pensive, subtle, and reverberant."

Redludwig.com – George Follett - October 4, 2001 – I Am
"At times, I Am, is also a study in contrasting derivations, sounding like a curious amalgam of early Stockhausen, the tone poetry of Diamanda Galas and the soundtrack to a '50s sci-fi movie."
"The most satisfying track, Thurlow's The Chaotic World, mixes quasi-melodic string passages with the whirring theremin and clanging, pseudo-metal guitar riffs from Clive Smith. The contrasts of styles, tones and sensibilities is mesmerizing."

New York Times - Allan Kozinn - June 15, 1991 -
"The program also included Deborah Sandoval-Thurlow's `Lunch at Moishe's Delicatessen,' an amusing inventively colorful score."


Deborah Thurlow - CUNY BA, Kingsborough CC/Lehman College, MFA, SUNY Purchase - a resident of Teaneck, New Jersey is a freelance musician in the tri-state area and Europe. In 1999 she produced a two day music event, Next Horn Wave, where she got together horn players from the East/West Coasts and Europe to perform music devoted to the art of both Contemporary and Jazz Improvisation. She is presently on faculty at Newark School of the Arts. In 1995 she performed in, That New Group concert of new works in the spirit of Dada and Futurism. Directed and produced by Joanne Mafia. She performed with Eric Ross in a work written especially for her by Mr. Ross, for horn, theremin and piano called, Serenade, at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Manhattan. On the same program she performed in her one act play, Horn Ritual, where she not only plays the horn and shofar using electronic sound effects she streches herself by acting. She has also performed with Pina Baush Ballet Company, Franz Kaman, David Amram, Anthony Davis, The New York Composers Orchestra, Clive Smith and many others too numerous to mention. She is on occasion an editorial contributor to, The New Music Connoisseur, a magazine devoted to the contemporary music scene.

She studied composition and orchestration with John Corigliano at Lehman College. Her works are published with Ensemble Publications/Nichols Music Company and DSM Producers. She has received grants from Meet the Composer, William Petshek Music Fund, The Puffin Foundation and also Composer in Residence at Morehead State University in Kentucky in the summer of 1988 and has been reviewed favorably in the New York Times and other printed media. Her one act play with music The Creative Void Of The Planet Earth, had an Equity Showcase of seven performances in April of 1997 by the New Media Repertory under the direction of Miranda MacDermot. She has five recordings to her credit, Angelic Waves - Part 1 (2000), Angelic Waves - Part 2 (2003 and It’s Not The Way – CD Single (2007) are independent releases and I Am (2001), Patchworks (2004) on the Capstone Records label. In 2008 she will release her recording, The Darwin Effect, with Capstone Records.



to write a review

Reviewer - John Dressler, The Horn Call

I recently received a number of discs featuring experimental music. By its nature an entire evening (or disc) of such music can wear quickly. But experienced as a contrast to the more traditional horn repertoire, performers may find great value in the literature on this particular disc. Eerie and atmospheric are adjectives describing McKinney's Scramble. It is an effective mood-setting piece of nearly ten minutes in length. The horn does not appear for several minutes, thus offering contrast to the opening scene. To my ear the horn is not the center of attraction here; instead it blends and is often absent.
McKinney's X, clocking in at seven minutes in length, is similar to Scramble, using the horn as one of many interesting timbres. Ross's Overture is striking because of its use of the standard acoustic piano amidst the electronically altered horn and violin tones. The horn tends to have a steadying effect in a texture, where the main theme is a twelve-tone row. The entire disc explores a great variety of effects, including improvisation, serial gestures, and sonic playfulness of all sorts. Particularly clever was Ms. Thurlow's inclusion of the Siegfried motive in her piece, Woods. She is a resident of Teaneck, NJ and is a freelance musician in both New York City area and Europe.

Budd Koppman, All About Jazz

Deborah Thurlow is the founder of Turn on the Music, which is her core quartet of French horn, violin, electric guitar and electric bass, along with electronic processors for the acoustic instruments and computers for electronic sounds. Performances can also include guest players, here on theremin, ney flute, soprano sax and piano, in various configurations. The stated purpose of the group is “to expand the aesthetic of contemporary improvisation by using a hint of jazz and rock influences, to have new chamber music composed, and to create new and interesting timbres and textures through the use of processed and acoustic techniques.”

Each piece has a different compositional esthetic or methodology which can include more or less improvisational freedom for the performers, and also different amounts “synthetic” sounds. While the notes are helpful in getting a better idea of what is going on and why, they are actually not needed to enjoy the music. If music is organized sound in time, then this is music, although the boundaries are quite stretched. There are discrete pitches, and even some tonality in the form of a root note if not a key. Development happens most often through changes in texture, and there is very little feeling of pulse. Themes or motives, if they appear at all, are most often played by Thurlow on processed horn. Sonic allusions are also mostly non-existent, except for the theremin, which seems to be linked (at least to me) to science fiction, and the sound of “Mellow Evening” which is distinctly South Asian Indian.

The effort, therefore, for the listener is to let the music happen, and listen as the overall effect of the proceedings changes. Withholding preconceptions might be the most difficult thing, but once done, the music is quite moving and engrossing. Sound as sound, regardless of how it is produced (that is, from a “pure” instrument, a processed instrument or a computer), becomes the organizing principle, and experiencing how different sounds with varying degrees of familiarity interact to produce an aural atmosphere that shimmers, expands and almost changes color while it envelopes you becomes an end in itself. To be sure, this is different emotional territory than most Jazz, or even most music for that matter, but live audiences at these performances applauded appreciatively.

There is one piece that can be described a bit more deeply, and that is “Mellow Evening” by Kali Fasteau. Built from a raga that exists in both the North and South of India, it is traditionally beautiful, and very much evokes the feeling of calm serenity that Fasteau mentions in the notes. The music has much more of a feeling of being played by a “band” in that there is less electronics and no computer, as Fasteau demonstrates her ability to directly link her spirit with her playing. It creates a delightful and soothing ending to the disc.

Thurlow is clearly a master of this area of musical composition and performance, attracting talented composers and performers into the orbit of Turn on the Music.