Marty Regan Presents Splash of Indigo
Composer Marty Regan discusses the works featured on–as well as the production process of–his 2016 compact disc release Splash of Indigo
American composer Marty Regan specializes in composing music for traditional Japanese instruments, a fascination he has developed since 2000. Regan describes his Japanese-style compositions as, “hybrid musical soundscapes that reflect the age in which we live, an era based not necessarily on globalization, but of partnership based on global cultural interaction.” In contrast, SPLASH OF INDIGO features a complementary side of Regan’s output, containing only works for Western orchestral instruments and voice.
Despite the album’s instrumentation, Regan’s connection to Japan remains strong in SPLASH OF INDIGO. For example, Regan borrows from Japanese culture in a different way via the text of Three Poems by Tanikawa Shuntarō, while Splash of Indigois based on idiomatic gestures and pitch collections found in Japanese folk music. Likewise, Regan’s solo piano composition Riding through Misty Clouds reconvenes with the naturalistic symbolic space he explores so thoroughly in his works for Japanese instruments, such as those featured on his earlier Navona releases FOREST WHISPERS (2010) and MAGIC MIRROR (2012).
As the latest addition to Regan’s growing catalog on the Navona label, SPLASH OF INDIGO offers a unique and valuable perspective on the full character of Regan’s music. Indeed, Regan’s works for traditional Japanese instruments tend to be understated and convey a subdued energy level. SPLASH OF INDIGO shows a different side of Regan’s aesthetic, like the explosive and post-minimalist personality of his rhythmically-driven orchestral work Overdrive. Even the more lyrical works on SPLASH OF INDIGO, such as Two Movements for Violin and Piano, are fundamentally different from Regan’s other music. Here, lyricism functions as a distinct space in the piece, and – particularly in the first movement of Two Movements for Violin and Piano – is placed against highly energized, rhythmic material to define the work’s structure.
Seen in the context of Regan’s career, the works on SPLASH OF INDIGO are most impressive in the range of musical forms they display. Perhaps drawing from Japanese musical aesthetics, constructing clearly defined musical forms are less of a concern in Regan’s compositions for traditional Japanese instruments. However, SPLASH OF INDIGO proves Regan is more than capable of inventing and developing charming and complex networks of musical ideas. In its varied collection of chamber and large ensemble works, SPLASH OF INDIGO shows Marty Regan is a composer of considerable breadth and skill beyond his dedicated efforts to build a bridge between American and Japanese musical culture.