Anger/Marshall Duo: Woodshop

By: Trevor Pour

Longtime collaborators and acoustic talents Darol Anger and Mike Marshall embark on a textural exploration of sound on Woodshop (Adventure Music America). The album, intended to be an extrapolation and contemporary update of their deeply personal 1985 release Chiaroscuro, manages to capture much of the original spirit. From the elegant simplicity of “Up, Bach” to the orchestral splendor of “The Creep,” Woodshop is complex and exquisitely composed. While Marshall’s mandolin and Anger’s violin are essentially the staples of the album, a host of instruments make appearances, including the distinctive mandocello, a tool Marshall calls “one of the great undiscovered compositional playgrounds of our time.” It bears repeating that these tunes are not superficial; each carries the weight of genuine sentiment from the composer. Take “The Unbearable Gift,” a piece in which Anger inarguably and accurately captures what he calls “the exalted, unreasonable hope that wells up out of utter despair,” or the exuberant and freewheeling instrumentals on “Borealis.” This album will vouch for itself after a single listen. Those who have followed Anger and Marshall through the years will find Woodshop to be a familiar and comforting fit in their already impressive repertoire.

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