Zach Cooper weaves recordings with the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, high school demos, solo compositions and eraserhead-less tape experiments into the shining fabric of The Sentence.
A debut album brimming with many talents and tales, The Sentence is atemporal, a divining of Cooper’s personal history to map his musical travels through formative years in New York state, his studies and collaborations within the University of Vermont’s music theory and composition department, and a move to the hills of Black Mountain, North Carolina. Cooper lays bare his recorded youth throughout The Sentence:
“Exploring old recordings and turning them into new ones allows me to find the common musical threads through my life. These sounds give me little hints to understanding my REAL life, in spirit and in vibration, more than any specific mood or musical taste.”
His personal plunders are the sonic foundation of The Sentence, but only partly make the album’s guiding beam. Devoted to a lifestyle of meditation and spiritual embrace, Cooper reflects inner peace to a universal call for calm. “This is for us to incite stillness in our hearts and minds,” each word a song, each title a movement in the greater dance of harmony and balance. Cooper’s sentence is not about meditation, but the result of it.
The album’s message does not predict its sound. Though moments of The Sentence are quiet (“To”) and hopeful (“Is”); others are whimsical (”Us”) and moody (“Minds”). “Incite” crashes cymbals upon Moog waves, samples of Saturday cartoons and middle school conversations. “Stillness” threads multiple movements within a three minute expanse: abrasive samples, billowing horns (care of Rev. Kiah Abendroth on trumpet), a guitar / synth lullaby and North Carolina finger-picking.
The most elaborate of The Sentence, “Us”, brushes ecstatic orchestral movements atop a canvas of chamber recordings and present-day electronic freak-outs. The song exemplifies Cooper’s breadth, toolkit and imaginative execution as a composer. “Us” features performances from Steve Klimowski (clarinet) and Bonnie Thurber-Klimowski (cello), both of the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, and was recorded in a chapel in Montpelier, VT.
Zach Cooper’s The Sentence is an elegant testament to a life of sound, a history of collaboration and solo experimentation, a shedding of metaphysical skin. Styles Upon Styles will release The Sentence on limited vinyl housed in gold-stamped and embossed jackets alongside high-quality digital iterations and divinations on March 18, 2016, pending the good grace of the vinyl press gods.
released March 18, 2016
Zach Cooper - Guitars, Basses, Piano, Synthesizer, Organ, Percussion, Cassette Player
Kiah Abendroth - Trumpet
Tessa Anderson - Flute
Sarah Gruver - Flute
Steve Klimowski - Clarinet
Rachel Elliott - Bassoon
Sara-Paule Koeller - Oboe, Piano Strings
Kate Mohanty - Alto Saxophone
Andy Allen - Alto Saxophone
Allison Pike - Viola
Bonnie Thurber-Klimowski - Cello
Veronica Stocker - Voice
Daniel McClung - Voice
Andrew Mallon - Vibraphone, Percussion
Toby Aronson - Percussion
Tyson Valyou - Percussion
Gabriel Millman - Percussion
Peter Fusco - Percussion, Electric Bass