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Grant Chu Covell
La Folia, December 2018

It’s good to see string quartets stray from the traditional, and with this pair of releases the Del Sol String Quartet explores different avenues with mixed results. One need not always associate bagatelles with Beethoven, but Mason’s four pieces don’t even come close. Rhythms may be non-standard now and again, but one soon tires of the feeble string writing and the sampled “percussion” derived from quartet sounds. Inspired by a mythical stone, Ueno’s Peradam unfolds as a tone poem and asks players to vocalize amid gritty and agitated textures. Ueno performs as a throat-singer and having discovered that the Del Sol violist can achieve some of the same effects, he incorporated those vocal techniques into the piece. The Named Angels refer to the four found in the Christian, Jewish and Islamic traditions: Michael, Israfel, Gabriel and Azrael. Each movement is a portrait. Fairouz’ vocabulary zips back and forth between scales and melodies distinctly Middle Eastern incorporating repetitive riffs that Glass or Nyman would be proud of. The Del Sol does so much more work in the Ueno and Fairouz and the results are readily apparent. © 2018 La Folia



William Hedley
MusicWeb International, May 2016

The Del Sol String Quartet specialises in contemporary music. Writing about the Ueno piece, the violist quoted above also has this to say: “Learning this piece has been an incredible physical journey for the quartet”. This demonstrates something of the level of the players’ commitment to this repertoire, and it is borne out by the performances, each of which is of an extraordinarily high standard. The recording, which I listened to in normal stereo, is very fine. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Tim Woodall
The Strad, March 2016

Each composition is performed with commitment and precision, and the recording is crystal-clear whatever the music’s timbre. © 2016 The Strad Read complete review



Donald Rosenberg
Gramophone, January 2016

Bates provides a smorgasbord of colourful and pulsating interactions, including elements from the worlds of jazz and pop. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Cristina Schreil
Strings Magazine, November 2015

A sweeping exploration of contemporary soundscapes, San Francisco’s Del Sol String Quartet’s Scrapyard Exotica features works by Mason Bates, Ken Ueno, and Mohammed Fairouz.

The quartet seems to relish quicker movements, swelling with emotion and imbuing phrases with buoyancy. © 2015 Strings Magazine Read complete review




Daniel Coombs
Audiophile Audition, October 2015

Excellent playing and mostly intriguing new music from this inventive quartet. © 2015 Audiophile Audition Read complete review



Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim
The New York Times, October 2015

I could be wrong, but I’m guessing it’s been a while since you’ve rocked out to a string quartet recording. See if your foot can stay still once you put on this funky disc of rhythmically infectious music played by the adventurous Del Sol String Quartet. Mason Bates’s irresistibly oddball collection of four bagatelles layers electronics and percussive accents on top of a crisp, angular score. Mohammed Fairouz’s “The Named Angels” is a smooth cocktail of Middle Eastern dance tunes and film-noirish Minimalism. Ken Ueno’s “Peradam” offers a heady brew of harmonies flickering with microtones, harmonics and vocalizations that draws heavily on the individual talents of the versatile Del Sol players, which in the case of the violist Charlton Lee includes eerily accomplished samples of Tuvan throat singing. © 2015 The New York Times





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