Track Premiere: TAK Ensemble’s Star Maker Fragments

Microtonal electroacoustic experimentation meets sci-fi explorations of the universe and creation on TAK Ensemble’s latest album, Star Maker Fragments.

Inspired by Olaf Stapledon’s 1937 novel Star Maker, the concert-length work by Taylor Brook sets portions of Stapledon’s text about disembodied travels through the cosmos to the eclectic quintet of flute (Laura Cocks), clarinet (Madison Greenstone) violin (Marina Kifferstein), percussion (Ellery Trafford), and voice (Charlotte Mundy).

The full-length performance of Star Maker Fragments runs continuously without breaks, but our exclusive sneak peek includes the first two sections of the work: I. Introduction and II. People of the Other World.

Here’s what TAK Ensemble had to say about the album:

It’s a little mind-boggling to think that we are responding to Stapledon’s futuristic work using technology so futuristic to what he imagined. Part of our rehearsal process was done over the internet, and many of the timbres on the album are really only possible because of technology. And, at the same time, the authoritarianism Stapledon criticizes in his book is still going strong—almost 100 years later. We hope that our offering creates a sensuously beautiful utopian vision that can offer people some pleasure and solace, as well as paint the potential of a different world.

Star Maker Fragments is out March 3, 2021 on TAK Editions, but you can pre-order the album on Bandcamp. The release also features stunning original artwork by Lara Lewison, which is available to purchase along with the album.

About TAK Ensemble

Regarded as “one of the most prominent ensembles in the United States practicing truly experimental music” (I Care If You Listen), TAK delivers energetic performances “that combine crystalline clarity with the disorienting turbulence of a sonic vortex.” (WIRE Magazine). The ambitious ensemble “impresses with the organicity of their sound, their dynamism and virtuosity” (New Sounds, WQXR). Dedicated to the commissioning of new works and direct collaboration with artists working in a variety of disciplines, TAK promotes ambitious programming at the highest level. 

The quintet has released four albums to critical acclaim, including Oor (2019), which launched their in-house media label TAK editions. This label creates broadly accessible platforms for audience engagement with a host of new music media with a focus on original TAK content. The ensemble’s Youtube videos have been viewed 15,000 times, and the TAK Editions Podcast has received over 5,000 listens from across the globe.

About Taylor Brook

Taylor Brook writes music for the concert stage, electronic music, music for robotic instruments, as well as music for video, theatre, and dance. His music is often concerned with finely tuned microtonal sonorities.

In 2018 Brook completed a Doctor of Musical Arts in music composition at Columbia University with Fred Lerdahl and holds a master’s degree in music composition from McGill University. Currently Brook is a Core Lecturer at Columbia University. He is a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow and the technical director of TAK Ensemble.


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