IndiePulse Review: ‘The Book of Arius – Act I’ by T.C. Crosser
VETERAN COMPOSER AND PRODUCER T.C. CROSSER BRINGS A SONICALLY DIVERSE, PUNK ROCK AESTHETIC TO HIS COMPELLING STRING QUARTET DRIVEN DEBUT EP ‘THE BOOK OF ARIUS – ACT I’
In Review: ‘The Book of Arius – Act I’ by T.C. Crosser is a masterful composition in a neoclassical style, with a foundation that is time honored, in his music he weaves an exploration of emotion. without words he has taken the listener through a scenery of inner visions, flowing soundscapes and an auditory feast that encapsulate you in a living and breathing experience. there are subtle changes that, if noticed are breathtaking, you can feel each note, each string drawn is exciting the senses in monumental tone. ‘The Book of Arius – Act I’ is sublime and if this is your first experience with this artist’s work, it would be the best first experience you could have.
Pianist, composer and producer T.C. Crosser has been a multi-faceted behind the scenes force everywhere from San Diego to San Francisco and his current home of NY. While his tracks have been used on Microsoft commercials and various TV shows, Crosser’s always been that prolific guy in the trenches.
The EP is the result of painstaking work by Crosser and his veteran music production team, which is currently working on his first full-length album with the same string quartet that will feature more effects pedals as well as piano and keyboard arrangements. He’s presently recording at Platinum Recording Studios in New York City with renowned audio engineer Christal Jerez.
He’s worked his multi-faceted magic with experimental music for dance companies, producing yet to be discovered garage and punk bands, theatre productions and even reworking Radiohead’s classic OK Computer album for cello, punk drums, piano and eight Broadway singers.
Emerging now as a visionary artist in his own right, Crosser brings his cathartic composing style and punk rock sensibilities to his emotionally compelling debut EP ‘The Book of Arius – Act I’ – an expansive four movement work that paints its personal instrumental narrative around the brilliant performances of an all female string quartet.
Recorded at Seaside Lounge Recording Studios in Brooklyn, the Crosser composed and produced pieces were tracked with a 14 mic array for the string quartet, which includes Maria Im (Violin I), Jannina Norporth (Violin II), Kallie Ciechomski (Viola) and the project’s music supervisor Caleigh Drane (Cello). He then went back with his audio engineer Mark Goodell and completely re-routed their work through all kinds of makeshift effects and experimental sound techniques, using guitar amps, effects pedals and a custom built plate reverb room.
Crosser’s first-ever long form narrative story told through instrumental music, The Book of Arius – Act I – which he describes as “my most intimate project to date” – is designed as the first of an eventual three part autobiographical series. The cities mentioned in the subtitles in each movement are actual places he has lived and the traumatic experiences he’s been through. The work is conceived as a way to convey how an unresolved abusive childhood can bleed in and replicate itself through one’s life until it’s finally dealt with.
Section I, “White Sulfer Springs,” is the setup – the locale of a vacation he took with his now partner where he realized he was an alcoholic and drug addict and decided to take control of his life and sober up. Section II, “River City,” the nickname of his hometown of Mason City, IA (and birthplace of famed “Music Man” composer Meredith Wilson), where he grew up the oldest of six kids from different dads and faced the brunt of his mother’s verbal and physical abuse. Joining the Navy at 18, he was stationed at “Goose Creek” (Section III) Naval Weapons Station in South Carolina. While in the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command, he came out of the closet, was kicked out of the Navy for being gay and had his first real relationship. It was the start of his nomadic musical travels. Section IV, “Hell’s Kitchen,” is the resolution of the piece and where he now lives with his partner of three years. Crosser is also three years sober and is creatively and emotionally fulfilled for the first time in his life. It’s his current state of awareness that happiness is about more than having fame and money.
He anticipates the big questions about The Book of Arius – Act I before they’re even asked: “No, it’s not classical music, it’s more like a hybrid, like Mars Volta and all these intriguing effects, more in line with (avant-garde German pianist) Hauschka and (electronica-influenced cellist Zoe Keating). It’s indie rock played by a string quartet.
As for the title of the work, Arius was a fourth century theologian and presbyter whose teachings about the Godhead in Christianity made him a heretic at a time when Constantine was trying to unify the Church under a single doctrine. He was a heretic who was forced into exile. As T.C. Crosser puts it, “On a musical level, I can relate to embracing everything but orthodoxy. Provocative has always been my middle name.”
Spotify Link: spoti.fi/2zJ53e5
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