New Music: James Ferraro’s Burning Prius Is a Full-On Piano Concerto
Earlier this year, Los Angeles’s James Ferraro quietly pivoted toward the realm of out-and-out new-classical composition with Human Story 3, an electro-acoustic suite which both revisited some of the stylistic hallmarks of his most popular release–2011’s MIDI-dominated Far Side Virtual–but also found him writing arrangements for real string instruments. Many of the sections of the album sounded like 20th-century American composers like Aaron Copland or Charles Ives.
Ferraro has embraced that new tendency toward notated instrumental composition even more whole-heartedly with Burning Prius, a 21-minute piece he posted to his Bandcamp yesterday. Ferraro’s only designation for the track is “two piano concerto for civic spaces.” There seem to be two pianos involved, along with strings; it’s unclear if Ferraro himself is performing all the instruments. This is full-on avant-garde classical music, a pretty far cry from the synthetic and psychedelic “vaporwave” music with which he has traditionally (and probably unfairly) been associated.
Take a listen below.