Riverrun ... is simply stunning ... [it] manages to convey quite powerfully the drama and majesty of the life of a river ... The force of the piece is overwhelming. One should buy the CD for this piece alone. (Brad Garton, Computer Music Journal )
We were mesmerized by the rainbow of overtones pulsing through Solar Ellipse (Keyboard Magazine)
Sequence of Earlier Heaven is an engaging album .. I would recommend it without hesitation (David Rosenboom, Computer Music Journal )
Tongues of Angels ... is one of the finest recordings of truly modern music of the past 30 years... The disc takes its title from Barry Truax's Tongues of Angels .. which is most impressive: a kind of extended electronic Toccata ... which culminates in serene choir-like electronic "voices" behind the soloist. (In Tune, Japan)
Song of Songs presents both the state of the art in electronic sound production and the expressive power that a mature composer can bring to the medium... All the pieces on this CD will reward repeated listening but Song of Songs moves beyond being merely interesting: it challenges listeners both to immerse themselves in the soundscape and to step back and decipher it. (Paul Hertz, Leonardo )
One of the most challenging and innovative of Canadian electronics avant-gardists, Truax ... is always interesting and challenging (Alan Freeman, Audion, UK)
Riverrun is obviously a virtuoso demonstration of the techniques of granular synthesis ... but it is also a massive noise sculpture whose sheer physical power approaches that of Iannis Xenakis's classic electroacoustic Bohor I ... The music is undeniably attractive ... (James Wierzbicki, Musical America )
Truax's interests in soundscape, verbal communication, collaboration, and electroacoustic techniques give him a rich palette for the exploration of his ideas. His work is a musical statement and deserves to be heard. (David Place, Computer Music Journal )
The live sound is the inspiration and the point of reference; its specific transformation is not the effect for itself, but it serves the exploration of the inner riches of the timbre of a given instrument or voice, and the creation of space in which Truax's meditative music acquires an almost mystical character ... the quotations are motivated by the symbolic dimension of the compositions, and most of all these means are justified by the unusual beauty emanating from [his] music. In this beauty I see the greatest value of that recording [Inside], especially that it is not the superficial beauty, but beauty within which one can find deep premises. (Daria Kwiatkowska, iKlasyka, Magazyn muzycznyi, Poland)
Bamboo, Silk and Stone ... successfully merges Asian and Western idioms. The form is elegant, particularly in how it evolves from frenetic jamming to a relaxed, meditative pace. (John Woodbury, Computer Music Journal )
As one would expect of Truax, the material here (Androgyne, Mon Amour) was fully worked out and expertly presented. And as one would also expect of Robert Black, the on-stage 'soloist' in this work, the performance in this semi-staged portrayal of an "intensely lyrical, intimate and erotic... celebration of gay love" was both absorbing and profoundly moving. Indeed, so expertly and convincingly did Black set about making love to his instrument, that the experience became uncomfortably voyeuristic at times, albeit poignant to the end. "Follow that!" I thought, as Truax and Black received their well-deserved and rapturous applause from the audience. (Steve Benner, Array)
Song of Songs ... is an elaborate, literary piece based on verses from the biblical "Song of Songs." Mr. Truax effectively uses a male and female voice reading the text, not only for literary (textual) purposes, but also to stretch and modify into accompanimental (textural) sounds. This can be extremely effective at times, as when one of the voices is heard speaking a line, and then, in the background, parts of the words of that line are granulated into shimmering textures. On their own, the tape parts are also very effective. When heard with the modal lines of the oboe d'amore and English horn parts, smoothly and evocatively played by Lawrence Cherney, they become even richer. The other two pieces on this disc are also engaging and effective. If you have any interest at all in granular synthesis, get this disc and see how it is used by a master. (Warren Burt [Australia],Computer Music Journal )
But Truax includes all of nature's imponderabilities and thus produces an ecological yet enjoyable music. Now no one can say that computers are good for nothing. (Bernd Leukert, MusikTexte, Germany)
Barry Truax's Sequence of Earlier Heaven is another excellent piece with a rich sequence of events and an interesting formal layout. The piece was performed in the quad of the Palais Jacques Coeur [Bourges, France], using eight channels... The result was audible in sounds with a rich and vivid inner structure ... (Ludger Brümmer [Germany], Computer Music Journal )
Islands is a 2001 collection of soundscape compositions by Barry Truax .... In all these works, the composer shows his mastery of studio techniques, as well as his inventive use of his specialized research on granular synthesis. A highly recommended CD as an introduction to the art of Barry Truax. - alcides lanza, Computer Music Journal 27(2), 2003, p. 118.
There is a compelling logic in the choices of Mr. Truax's music offered in Twin Souls, also from 2001. The unifying factor is best illustrated by two things: texts that deal with different approaches to personal relationships, and the writing for soloists accompanied by tape. ... The works that stand out are Wings of Fire, with cellist Frances Marie Uitti, and She, a Solo, the oldest work in this compilation with mezzo-soprano Phyllis Mailing. - alcides lanza, Computer Music Journal 27(2), 2003, p. 118.
Powers of Two ... examines the influence of technologically created and reproduced beauty. Acts Two and Three of this two hour work are particularly captivating. Mezzo Fides Krucker and countertenor David Dong Qyu Lee give superb performances. Kudos to Truax for creating a thoroughly contemporary plot and pioneering a new generation of opera. - Stephanie Moore, Musicworks, 94, Spring 2006, p. 61.
Canadian reviews (we also devour our young)
My tastes are thoroughly conventional but I was not put off by this album. On the contrary, I was consistently interested and occasionally convinced. All the same, there's no denying that this record will have limited appeal to the general record buyer. Commercial success is unlikely. (Warren Sorensen, Audio Canada )
I found it depressing that anyone would set a love poem [Wings of Fire] by pairing a live performer with a tape ... (Tamara Bernstein, The Globe and Mail )
. .. the tape seemed to be like the work of Toto in Dune ... (François Tousignant, Le Devoir )
"We can't review that - we're a family newspaper" (Michael Scott, The Vancouver Sun )
Kids do the dumbest things. Take the two prepubescent boys I saw getting their kicks ... by dancing about on a pedestrian overpass while waving a giant Honk If You're Horny sign at passing motorists. Nobody honked, which could be interpreted in several ways. ... Perhaps my fellow motorists were all, like me, dashing up Burnaby Mountain to attend an SFU-sponsored showcase of new electroacoustic music - and, as everybody knows, there's nothing less sexy than the academic avant-garde. ... most of the evening stayed within the expected parameters of high seriousness, and the worst offender in this regard was SFU music prof Barry Truax and his Powers of Two: The Sibyl. (Alexander Varty, The Georgia Straight )