Aggressive, hair-raising, and unstoppable, Trance - Michael Gordon's follow-up to the large-scale orchestral work Decasia for the Basel Sinfonietta - caused a sensation when released by Argo (Polygram) in 1995. Icebreaker has re-mixed and re-mastered this CD-length work for its re-release on Cantaloupe in conjunction with a Contemporary Music Network Tour across 6 cities in the UK, plus concert dates in the Netherlands and Germany for 2004.
"Trance is a kaleidoscope of pan-pipe melodies and provocative rhythms, and features Icebreaker's aggressively virtuosic sound."
- Greg Sandow, Wall Street Journal
Trance started after a dream I had in July 1994 while I was in residence at the Djerassi Foundation just south of San Francisco. In the dream I brought my music to an older composer for his comments. The composer was a combination of Gyorgy Ligeti, Louis Andriessen and my own teacher Martin Bresnick. This older composer looked through my scores, one by one, and I could hear in my head the music that he heard in his head as he looked on the scores. It all sounded like Mozart. After each score he shook his head in a discouraging way. Finally he turned to me and said 'You need to work with larger forces'.
I woke up startled, and the next morning I started work on Trance. I knew right away that this piece was for Icebreaker. I had been working with them for several years and they were everything that every other ensemble was not. The first time I met them they took me to a cottage outside of London where they rehearsed all day long for four days straight. At the end of each day, they would quite rehearsing, and after a group dinner, they would start playing tapes for each other and talk about music. This went on until 4am.
The rehearsal process allowed experimentation with rhythmic figures that were beyond the scope of rhythm as known in Western music. These rhythms were complicated, yet could not be understood in any other way than as a groove or feel.
The openness of flexibility of Icebreaker allowed me to imagine music with a strong rhythmic pulse, written down, with no one playing the beat, and no one playing on the beat. The players of Icebreaker have trained themselves to play in independent interlocking units going on simultaneously - like all the different thoughts in one's head that go on - like being able to hear all the music that going on everywhere in the world, in ones head, at the same time...
- Michael Gordon