The adventurous and renowned vocal octet Roomful of Teeth released their debut self-titled album Roomful of Teeth in October 2012.
From the neo-alpine yodel on Rinde Eckert’s “Cesca’s View” to Caleb Burhans’s stirring post-minimalist take on bel canto singing in “No”, the album breathes fresh life into the a cappella landscape. One of this generation’s most dynamic vocal talents, Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, contributes two electrifying songs that explore a range of world-inspired grooves. African pygmy yodels, Inuit rhythmic pulsing, Appalachian hymn tunes, and bracing Eastern European belting all filter through Garbus’s powerful compositional voice. For her Pulitzer Prize-winning four-part composition Partita for 8 Voices, Caroline Shaw uses her insider vantage as a Roomful of Teeth vocalist to create a sonically exquisite and emotionally charged journey through the ensemble’s soundworld.
New Amsterdam co-directors William Brittelle, Judd Greenstein, and Sarah Kirkland Snider contribute as well: Brittelle’s daring “Amid the Minotaurs” pushes and pulls before opening into a heart-stopping soprano solo; Snider’s otherworldly “The Orchard” intertwines haunting vocals with the text of poet Nathaniel Bellows; and Greenstein’s three pieces explore the group’s polyphony at its most lively, tender, and affecting. Altogether, the album is a 13-piece showcase of this adventurous ensemble’s staggering range, resulting in an entirely unforgettable listening experience.
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