Arc Light Editions proves that second is the best with reissue choice number two: Ingram Marshall’s Fog Tropes/Gradual Requiem!

Arc Light Editions proves that second is the best with reissue choice number two: Ingram Marshall's Fog Tropes/Gradual Requiem!

In 1979, a performance artist named Grace Ferguson asked composer Ingram Marshall to prepare sounds for a piece she was working on. Marshall decided to walk around San Francisco and ended up recording fog horns, along with the sea and other sounds. After a bit of manipulation and expansion, including the eventual addition of a brass section for performance, Marshall came up with “Fog Tropes.” He says, “A lot of people are reminded of San Francisco when they hear this piece, but not I. To me it is just about fog, and being lost in the fog. The brass players should sound as if they were off in a raft floating in the middle of a mist-enshrouded bay.”

Marshall wrote “Gradual Requiem” for his father, Harry Marshall. It’s a five-part piece marked by spare electronics as well as the fragile acoustics of mandolin, piano, and gambuh (a type of Balinese flute). Marshall said that he used to play an early version of “Fog Tropes” as a tape piece before “Gradual Requiem,” and he didn’t consider adding brass until John Adams invited him to perform in San Francisco Symphony’s “New and Unusual” concert series and made the suggestion. In 1982, Marshall composed a new version, and in 1984, New Albion released Fog Tropes/Gradual Requiem on vinyl.

So remember last year when Arc Light Editions released a vinyl reissue of Arthur Russell’s Another Thought? Now they’re reissuing Ingram Marshall’s Fog Tropes/Gradual Requiem. It features John Adams as conductor as well as Foster Reed (who heads New Albion) on mandolin. This is the first time since 1984 that this album has been made available on vinyl, and if you want it, you should probably run over here and pre-order a copy.

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