Charles Rivera is a Lousville, KY composer and improvisational musician who has worked with the likes of Godspeed! You Black Emperor.
Rivera writes on Bandcamp that his latest release, “Camping” for Orchestra, was “inspired by looking at two contrasting vases.” It was performed by Rivera and Louisville’s Orchestra Enigmatic and recorded live in the atrium of the city’s 21c Museum Hotel; spectators and passersby provide a consistent layer of background chatter, framing the album as an avant-garde classical score to a chaotic, sometimes unsettling day in the life of the modern human. You can picture a swarm of flitting pizzicato plucks heralding a rush of harried commuters, an ambient keyboard bloom mirroring the internal state of a small child gazing at a domed ceiling, the mournful drone of a cello accompanying a phone call bearing tragic news. All of these passages fit together into “Camping”‘s larger, messy (in a good way) whole. I wish I were able to stare at two vases and then produce as creatively as Rivera did here, but, alas, I’ll probably have to stick with my formula of watching Youtube videos for four hours after work and then using the brief moments before bed to dash off a (hopefully) halfway decent blog post. In all seriousness, “Camping” for Orchestra is a beautiful listen; you can hear “Part 1” below, but I recommend experiencing the work in its entirety.