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Daniel Coombs
Audiophile Audition, August 2011

I found this is a very engaging work. There is a propulsive nature that lies in contrast to some of the floating, meditative timbres that can be had from a battery of mixed percussion. I always found percussion ensembles a very “fun” sound to listen and, frequently, full of technique and virtuosity to be admired. Interestingly, and to Lansky’s credit, the sections do adhere to a somewhat traditional cantata format and the recitatives—for example—showcase individual players or like groups of instruments very well. The music is quite pleasant to listen to. (The second “chorus” and the closing “prelude” are highlights for me.) Really, one of the best reasons to get this disc is not even Paul Lansky’s “Threads”, very attractive work though it is. It is to become acquainted with Sō Percussion. This group is comprised of four extremely dedicated performers who have a clear simpatico with each other and an obvious dedication to promoting new music for percussion. Their playing is clear, tight and impressive.

Kudos to Cantaloupe Music and the creative minds at Bang on a Can (Michael Gordon, David Lang, et al) for producing a wide variety of wonderful contemporary music performed so vibrantly as in this recording! I am positive that percussionists and anyone enjoying something new and pleasant would enjoy this greatly!

Kraig Lamper
American Record Guide, July 2011

This release is only 28 minutes and does not offer a wide range of experiences, but the minute differences between the cycles makes it interesting.

To read the complete review, please visit American Record Guide online., March 2011

Paul Lansky’s Threads does not seem to be looking for any sort of “classic” status—it is just fun, and undoubtedly very enjoyable for percussionists to perform. Written in 2005 for the four-member ensemble called Sō Percussion, it is a half-hour compendium of 10 movements, played without interruption, in which Baroque titles (prelude, recitative, chorus, aria, chorale prelude) are placed at the service of vibraphone and glockenspiel sections that alternate with drumming-dominated segments that give way to what can only be called “noise interludes”—which feature bottles, flower pots and crotales (small tuned cymbals). Lansky (born 1944) weaves these “threads” into a sonic tapestry that is filled with fascinating touches, even if it does not produce an especially meaningful whole or seem to build to any particular conclusion. Threads does showcase the very wide range of qualities of which percussion instruments are capable: there are genuinely tender and lyrical moments in contrast to the punchier ones. But it is the forceful sections, for which percussion has a natural affinity, that are the most effective here—and, in their sheer brashness, the most “American” in feeling. Threads does leave a lingering sense that it is probably more fun to perform than to hear—a full half hour of these sounds is a bit much. But there are certainly some intriguingly crafted elements in Lansky’s work.

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Music Review, January 2011

There is good news. Bang-on-a-Can’s label Cantaloupe Music is back in a big way with Naxos distribution. One of the first of the new releases is So Percussion’s recording of Threads by Paul Lansky (Cantaloupe).

If you haven’t heard So’s version of Steve Reich’s Drumming (also on Cantaloupe) you are missing something very good. The ensemble plays with the sort of drive and conviction a percussion group has to have or what’s the point?

Paul Lansky’s piece fills out around 30 minutes with ten varied movements. There are moments that sound post-gamelan-like, a little nod to Taiko drumming, something that sounds like bamboo from Borneo meeting a quasi-Latin groove and much else. It is a loosely integrated series of pieces that charm, uplift and captivate in one broad series of strokes. The different sound colors of the four percussionists playing a fairly wide arsenal of instruments little and not-so-little are on display. Each movement is a sound world unto itself. This is music with a pulse. It is music with a heart and soul.

It’s worth a half-hour of your time, surely. It is worth it many times, many listens later.

Welcome back Cantaloupe!

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