Invert is one of those string quartets more comfortably referred to as a band than as an ensemble. Much of their album was recorded at Galapagos Arts Space in Brooklyn, and it's a genre-fighting aesthetic that marks the music as well. As performed by the bottom heavy group (two cellos, violin and viola-hence the band's name), the disc's ten tracks are heavy on the pulsing and driving lines and tutti melodies with the subtler details skating by beneath-a mix of improve, originals by members of the quartet, and arrangements of Herrmann's soundtrack to "Psycho" and the Beatles's "Tomorrow Never Knows."
Perhaps the quartet fits so well together in performance because their internal musical leadings are so in sync. "The Passage" appears in three parts dispersed throughout the disc. These sections were entirely improvised by the ensemble, and the music's airy, wavering pitches stand in stark contrast to the other tracks.
Chris George's signature is his repetition and manipulation of several key phrases. Especially the opening moments of "In the Bassett Woods," makes me flashback to my days as a violin student, dutifully working my way through Kreutzer etudes. Steve Berson's works, in contrast, seem more emotionally driven in their content.
Clocking in at just under an hour, the collection fits firmly together at a unit despite the stylistic variations. Listening straight through I could have easily been convinced that this was the soundtrack for some silent, existential European art film.
1. Salomé (7:31)
2. Sonic Eclipse (5:49)
3. The Passage, Part 1 (5:33)
4. Flight of the Killer Bees (10:17)
5. Broken Blossoms (3:48)
6. The Passage, Part 2 (8:47)
7. In Bassett Woods (5:01)
8. Prelude from "Psycho" (2:01)
9. The Passage, Part 3 (5:18)
10. Tomorrow Never Knows (3:12)