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Brad Wells|Roomful of Teeth

Roomful of Teeth

Roomful of Teeth

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Roomful of Teeth is a New York-based a cappella octet, but if you think you have any idea what they sound like now that you're armed with that information, think again. It's been said that Roomful of Teeth straddles the boundary between classical music and pop, but more accurate would be to say that the group goes so far beyond existing conceptions of a cappella vocal music in both the classical and pop spheres as to make the terminology meaningless. This is one wild ride. The 13 compositions on the album are by a variety of contemporary composers, but rarely have composers been so subordinate to the capabilities of an individual group. Those capabilities begin with classical training and a mastery of virtuoso close-harmony singing, but they expand outward from there in a way that may seem limitless to those hearing Roomful of Teeth for the first time. The extra ingredient in most of the pieces is not classical extended technique but vocal devices borrowed from world music traditions, including Tuvan throat singing, Korean traditional music, pop belting, and more. The texts are mostly simple and incantatory, something resembling vocal exercises. They are there as a vehicle for Roomful of Teeth above all. Even those who might find this album on the extreme side will concede its absolute originality. In short, it's like nothing else you've ever heard. The engineering is nearly as original as the music, making creative use of distortion but not interfering with the basic immediacy of the singers' natural voices.
© James Manheim /TiVo

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Roomful of Teeth

Brad Wells

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Partita for 8 Voices (Caroline Shaw)

1
No. 4, Passacaglia
Roomful of Teeth
00:05:55

Brad Wells, Conductor - Roomful of Teeth, Ensemble - Caroline Shaw, Composer - Sol LeWitt, Lyricist

(C) 2012 New Amsterdam (P) 2012 New Amsterdam

Amid the Minotaurs

2
Amid the Minotaurs
Roomful of Teeth
00:07:42

Roomful of Teeth, Ensemble - Brad Wells, Conductor - William Brittelle, Lyricist

(C) 2012 New Amsterdam (P) 2012 New Amsterdam

Montmartre (Judd Greenstein)

3
Montmartre
Roomful of Teeth
00:05:16

Brad Wells, Conductor - Roomful of Teeth, Ensemble - Judd Greenstein, Composer

(C) 2012 New Amsterdam (P) 2012 New Amsterdam

No (Caleb Burhans)

4
No
Roomful of Teeth
00:06:43

Roomful of Teeth, Ensemble - Brad Wells, Conductor - Caleb Burhans, Composer

(C) 2012 New Amsterdam (P) 2012 New Amsterdam

Partita for 8 Voices (Caroline Shaw)

5
No. 3, Courante
Roomful of Teeth
00:08:59

Brad Wells, Conductor - Roomful of Teeth, Ensemble - Sol LeWitt, Lyricist - Caroline Shaw, Composer

(C) 2012 New Amsterdam (P) 2012 New Amsterdam

A E I O U (Judd Greenstein)

6
A e I O U
Roomful of Teeth
00:06:17

Roomful of Teeth, Ensemble - Brad Wells, Conductor - Judd Greenstein, Composer

(C) 2012 New Amsterdam (P) 2012 New Amsterdam

Unremembered (Sarah Kirkland Snider)

7
The Orchard
Roomful of Teeth
00:04:45

Roomful of Teeth, Ensemble - Brad Wells, Conductor - Sarah Kirkland Snider, Composer - Nathaniel Bellows, Lyricist

(C) 2012 New Amsterdam (P) 2012 New Amsterdam

Cesca's View (Rinde Eckert)

8
Cesca's View
Roomful of Teeth
00:03:03

Roomful of Teeth, Ensemble - Brad Wells, Conductor - Rinde Eckert, Composer

(C) 2012 New Amsterdam (P) 2012 New Amsterdam

Partita for 8 Voices (Caroline Shaw)

9
No. 1, Allemande
Roomful of Teeth
00:05:53

Roomful of Teeth, Ensemble - Brad Wells, Conductor - Caroline Shaw, Composer - Sol LeWitt, Lyricist

(C) 2012 New Amsterdam (P) 2012 New Amsterdam

Quizassa (Merrill Garbus)

10
Quizassa
Roomful of Teeth
00:03:42

Roomful of Teeth, Ensemble - Brad Wells, Conductor - Merrill Garbus, Composer

(C) 2012 New Amsterdam (P) 2012 New Amsterdam

Partita for 8 Voices (Caroline Shaw)

11
No. 2, Sarabande
Roomful of Teeth
00:04:49

Roomful of Teeth, Ensemble - Brad Wells, Conductor - Caroline Shaw, Composer - Sol LeWitt, Lyricist

(C) 2012 New Amsterdam (P) 2012 New Amsterdam

Run Away

12
Run Away
Roomful of Teeth
00:04:17

Roomful of Teeth, Ensemble - Brad Wells, Conductor - Judd Greenstein, Composer

(C) 2012 New Amsterdam (P) 2012 New Amsterdam

Ansa ya (Merrill Garbus)

13
Ansa ya
Roomful of Teeth
00:06:44

Roomful of Teeth, Ensemble - Brad Wells, Conductor - Merrill Garbus, Composer

(C) 2012 New Amsterdam (P) 2012 New Amsterdam

Album Description

Roomful of Teeth is a New York-based a cappella octet, but if you think you have any idea what they sound like now that you're armed with that information, think again. It's been said that Roomful of Teeth straddles the boundary between classical music and pop, but more accurate would be to say that the group goes so far beyond existing conceptions of a cappella vocal music in both the classical and pop spheres as to make the terminology meaningless. This is one wild ride. The 13 compositions on the album are by a variety of contemporary composers, but rarely have composers been so subordinate to the capabilities of an individual group. Those capabilities begin with classical training and a mastery of virtuoso close-harmony singing, but they expand outward from there in a way that may seem limitless to those hearing Roomful of Teeth for the first time. The extra ingredient in most of the pieces is not classical extended technique but vocal devices borrowed from world music traditions, including Tuvan throat singing, Korean traditional music, pop belting, and more. The texts are mostly simple and incantatory, something resembling vocal exercises. They are there as a vehicle for Roomful of Teeth above all. Even those who might find this album on the extreme side will concede its absolute originality. In short, it's like nothing else you've ever heard. The engineering is nearly as original as the music, making creative use of distortion but not interfering with the basic immediacy of the singers' natural voices.
© James Manheim /TiVo

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