Phil Kline - Around the World in a Daze

Leading new music composer Phil Kline debuts a major work, Around the World in a Daze, on a new surround sound DVD released by Starkland.

The 65-minute studio composition was commissioned by Starkland specifically for high-resolution surround sound and to premiere on DVD.

Daze opens with the multi-channel ambiance near Kline’s home in New York City’s lower East Side, begins a “long journey” performed by the string band Ethel, peaks with a massive climax of hundreds of thousands of “falling pennies” that dramatically explores the psychoacoustic possibilities of surround sound, shifts to the soaring violinistics of Todd Reynolds, and concludes by placing the listener inside multiple layers of a field recording of 15,000 chattering, African gray parrots.

Along the way, listeners are also seduced by some swirling, hypersampled Wagner, a weird madrigal about bitterness and bees, a Bach prelude eerily processed into a Zurich train station, and a mournfully multi-tracked “wailing wall.”

Daze is Kline’s longest work and biggest commission to date. Daze is also likely the largest work so far commissioned for a high-resolution surround sound recording.

Offered in a custom-designed package, this double-DVD release adds an Extras DVD, highlighted by a 34-minute interview with Kline. The two DVDs contain a total content of 110 minutes.

Tom Steenland, owner of Starkland, initially conceived the broad project’s overall goals. He states, “I love surround sound and think it’s an exhilarating format for contemporary composers.”

Steenland adds, “Phil Kline is a highly original, wonderful composer, and much of his music is inherently spatial.” He explains, “The idea of commissioning a major work from Phil to premiere on a surround sound recording was compelling and irresistible.”

The main disc offers Daze in several formats to accommodate a variety of home playback setups. The music can be heard in the common Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround format that is standard on all DVDs, has well as the higher quality DTS 5.1 and high-resolution audiophile DVD-Audio surround formats. The DVD also offers a version in stereo.

Playback of the Daze music is accompanied by over 80 images shot by Kline.

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