02 Brent Lee HomstalBrent Lee – Homstal
Brent Lee; Various Artists
Centrediscs CMCCD32223 (cmccanada.org/shop/homstal)

Windsor Ontario composer and media artist Brent Lee’s work explores relationships among music, image and technology, especially through multimedia performance. A professor of Integrated Media in the School of Creative Arts at the University of Windsor, he’s composed music for orchestra, interactive media and film soundtracks. 

Lee’s recent work integrates electroacoustic composition, improvisation, saxophone performance, videography, Max computer programming and field recording. His Homstal project reflects those interests. Homstal, the Old English word meaning “home” or “homestead,” reflects that much of the work on this project was accomplished at his studio in rural Ontario. While the six Homstal album tracks are studio productions, each can be presented as an audiovisual environment allowing for improvisation and site-specific variation. 

In his liner notes Lee acknowledges that Homstal “grew directly out of my work with my friends in the Noiseborder Ensemble and I am grateful for their generous collaboration. … Martin Schiller plays electric bass on Overtro and Aaron Eichler plays the long snare drum sample used in DOT 1000.”

A quiet, chill, non-metric chamber jazz vibe presides over the album articulated by Lee’s eloquent sax playing and his chosen harmonic textures. The opening track for instance begins with soft spacialised sax key clack sounds, joined by a wandering cantabile soprano sax melody featuring sustained notes delicately ornamented with alternate fingerings. A seemingly un-metred treble melody on upright piano is then added; in turn the whole is deftly contextualised by several layers of electronic sounds. 

A dreamy Southwestern Ontario mist seems to have settled on Lee’s Homstal music.

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