The Wire

Gordon McPherson views life’s big issues refracted through the mundane, a bit like John Shuttleworth or Ivor Cutler with a music degree. His ensemble piece Detours (1998-2000) concerns itself with his experiences in cars. The first section, “Echo’s Tape”, is about a drunken taxi ride with a stranger who later became his girlfriend (“two years later we found ourselves in the same cab splitting up for the umpteenth time”), and “Memory Crash” is a travelogue about a car journey to a local computer repair shop nursing his indisposed PC. McPherson explores an intriguing hinterland between banal sounding sources and complex multi-dimensional extrapolations of the material with strong hints of Charles Ives. The set is completed by Maps And Diagrams Of Our Pain , a schizoid violin and piano piece inspired by obsessive-compulsive disorders, and the supple mini-guitar concerto Born Of Funk And The Fear Of Falling . Great titles for great pieces.

—Philip Clark