Video Premiere: Sean McCann – ‘Music for Public Ensemble’ Trailer

Posted by on November 14, 2016

More than three years ago now LA-based composer and label maven Sean McCann released Music For Private Ensemble (reviewed then by our own David Perron), setting himself up ably for the sort of inversion we’ve come to expect thanks in large part to the idiosyncratic dad streak running through his Recital imprint. With its continuation, Music For Public Ensemble, it feels like McCann is subtly commenting on the two conditions — private and public. Private Ensemble is bold and esoteric, full of id, while Public Ensemble adds a bevy of new collaborators (Ben Baker Billington, Andrew Chalk, Kayla Cohen, Ian William Craig, Maxwell August Croy, Sarah Davachi, and the list goes on) for a more open, but impressionistic flow. The former is insular but wild, opened with a two part introduction suggestively titled “Reservations, An Exchange of Courtesies” for instance,  while the new is all poetic reveries, exceedingly poised but slow, and twice the length to boot. It even draws on McCann’s Pacifics text, a “narrative” that you may remember him aptly describing as “meaningless or meaningful.”

With Music For Public Ensemble I can’t help but be reminded of growing up. My mother’s parents lived in a Chicago high-rise then, in an apartment with black and white walls that I remember used to terrify me when we’d visit. I was very young and woke up early by myself most mornings, and the apartment’s lack of clutter compared to my parents home made me feel disoriented and anxious, invariably. Where was life in a black and white box? I was already a bored, aspiring insomniac, but for a little while under those walls I could hardly imagine feeling emptier. Music For Public Ensemble feels like it would have been the perfect balm, an intimate series of impressions and orientations that could almost be their own odd meditation on clutter. In the homemade trailer above  we see cats cleaning each other, coffee being made, while a parade of text flows over a sequence of objects, glassware, pictures, metal paperweights, and display pieces: things that populate and ~humanize a space as well as they might a person. For me at least the album becomes intensely relaxing. McCann’s involvement with elements of classical formalism is clear, though more than ever he thoroughly reinvents the real texture and shape of those inspirations in order to make their potency more nuanced.

Order Music For Public Ensemble via Recital Program.