T.C. Crosser – The Book of Arius Act I

SOUNDCLOUD: https://soundcloud.com/tccrosser/sets/the-book-of-arius-act-i

Experimental, classical artist T.C. Crosser’s triumphant work, The Book of Arius Act I, is comprised of four different chapters. These sonic victories all make heavy use of strings and airy blends. On the surface they have a solid common thread – they are all places Crosser has called home. Stick around longer and you’ll find little nuances that make the journey very rewarding. These compositions linger with you for days, infiltrating your happy and sometimes sad moments.

Crosser, now based in New York, recorded The Book of Arius Act I with a 14 mic array, then processed through a unique blend of guitar amps, effects pedals and a custom built plate reverb room.

The first chapter, “White Sulphur Springs,” starts out very soothing and calm. I felt as if I were floating along on a summer day – a breezy air around me. The plucking violin and some dripping effects nudging at you feel as though you’re outside in the heat – the bugs are bugging you and you can’t quite shut up that bird. About halfway through the piece (the first section is just over seven minutes), there’s an unexpected chaotic break. The strings feel mismatched – the sounds are coming at you left and right.

Crosser gets you back within just a few moments, back to the tranquil state. “White” seemed to be a bit disjointed at first, but collectively, Crosser brings it together at the end. The more I listened to this track, the more I enjoyed the misdirection.

As The Book of Arius Act I progresses, it’s obvious that listening to these masters via a laptop speaker is like reading Homer’s Iliad’s CliffsNotes. This injustice aside, Crosser wrangles you into his wordless story and you dutifully reside. The strings in each of the chapters – there are four – are just lovely.

“River City”, or Act II, is a brighter sounding selection. It’s not that “White Sulphur Springs” was darky and gloomy, it makes sense that you’re transported to a folksier town. I couldn’t stop thinking about Mark Twain for some reason. I could almost see the Riverboat’s smokestack above the trees. The orchestration in “River City” has a welcoming rhythm and easy to fit into feeling.

My favorite of the four acts, “Act III: Goose Creek”, has a much more rapid presentation. I felt like I was running – either being chased or doing the chasing! This chapter is just under five minutes and just about the two minute mark, Crosser composes a brighter melody.

The final act, or “Hell’s Kitchen,” felt the most modern and experimental. I think Crosser elevates the violin here, and in doing so on the last chapter, left me wanting more.

Overall, T.C. Crosser is a remarkable artist and composer. The Book of Arius Act I is a brave collection – and certainly painstakingly emotional. He’s justified in the lengths and the depths he’s taken on this journey. Bravo. Bravo.

Sebastian Cole