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Between Breaths / Third Coast Percussion

Between Breaths / Third Coast Percussion

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Grammy Award-winning Chicago-based percussion quartet Third Coast Percussion (Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, David Skidmore) presents Between Breaths, an album of world premieres of works by four contemporary composers, plus a work by the quartet itself.

Known for their captivating performances and innovative approach to modern classical music, TCP has been praised for “commandingly elegant” (New York Times) performances and the “rare power” (Washington Post) of their recordings. Between Breaths, a follow up to TCP’s widely praised album, Perspectives, “continues to push percussion in new directions, blurring musical boundaries and beguiling new listeners” (NPR).

The works on Between Breaths explore aspects of meditation in sound, incorporate unconventional timbres and tones, and invite listeners to lose themselves within a captivating sonic landscape. Missy Mazzoli’s five-movement Millennium Canticles transports listeners into a vivid realm where a group of people strive to recreate the rituals and stories of human life after an apocalypse. Mazzoli skillfully crafts an evocative soundscape using diverse elements such as wooden planks, resonant metal pipes, tone chimes, drums, discordant metallic tones, a resounding lion's roar, and an array of vocal expressions.

In Practice, a collaborative composition by TCP, began as a sound meditation drawing upon the personal rituals of the quartet’s members, from a warm-up routine to using sounds created with everyday objects. This source material laid the foundation for the work, which developed its own sense of direction and purpose, with an atmosphere of meditation and balance.

Tyondai Braxton's Sunny X juxtaposes otherworldly acoustic and electronic timbres against a steady rhythmic drive. Within this sonic tapestry, resonant wooden planks, metallic pipes and plates, and an array of gongs and woodblocks contribute to a distinctive and immersive experience.

Chicagoan Ayanna Woods’ Triple Point refers to the unique state where a substance simultaneously exists as a gas, liquid, and solid due to temperature and pressure conditions, which results in liquids bubbling into gas, rapidly freezing, exploding, and melting into liquid again. Woods’ composition mirrors this phenomenon, as it encapsulates moments of dynamic energy and musical elements that rise to the surface and dissolve again.

Gemma Peacocke’s Death Wish, composed in tribute to Hinewirangi Kohu-Morgan, a Maori artist, poet, and activist, has become a staple of TCP’s repertoire. Performed by four players on two marimbas, the music creates a powerful landscape of melancholy, personal devastation, and hope.


Third Coast Percussion’s Between Breaths is another fresh and thought-provoking album in what has been a steady stream of recordings from the Grammy-award winning quartet over the past seven years. Released Sept. 8 on Cedille Records, Between Breaths returns to many themes explored on the ensemble’s debut EP, Ritual Music (2006): relationships between individuals, communities, and ritualistic acts. The highly programmatic and hypnotic new album showcases the quartet’s vision for commissioning works by living composers and features world premiere recordings of works by Missy Mazzoli, Tyondai Braxton, Ayanna Woods, and Gemma Peacocke, and by Third Coast Percussion itself.

-- I Care If You Listen (Forrest Howell)

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Cedille
    • UPC/Barcode: 735131922425
    • Item Number: CDR 224