Natasha Barrett is an electroacoustic composer — she creates soundscapes out of carefully manipulated everyday sonic tones, as well as tape loops, samples, synthesized drones and so forth. The stuff that results could be described as semi-minimalist: while there is very little clutter to these pieces, the sound is at least somewhat layered, producing immediate and raw textures beneath a placid, detached surface.
I found that this music was ideally suited to walks around the quieter portions of New York on clear winter nights. Barrett’s muse is a snow-swept one, or at least it seems so to me, and the whispered half-words and semi-phrases with which she peppers her compositions recreate the impressions of conversations overheard on the street through cold and deadened air. Her sometimes vanishing tones rarely build to a crescendo; rather, when the volume increases, it does so suddenly, with the force of an onrushing train. As all of these impressions wash over the listener, he is left with a strange wistfulness — a desire to be in the place from which so many lovely things can be glimpsed.
This is an engaging and stimulating piece, full of contrasts and silences. Given the proper context, it is powerful indeed.