Du Yun’s collaboration with the International Contemporary Ensemble traces back to the group’s formation at Oberlin Conservatory and the composer’s budding early years. Dinosaur Scar captures the synergy that can only come as a result of musicians who have absorbed a composer’s language over many years, and a composer writing specifically with specific performers in mind.
Released: Sep 2018
Air Glow from the album is a 2019 GRAMMY® nomination in the category of “Best Classical Composition”
Dinosaur Scar (Tundra) is the International Contemporary Ensemble’s first portrait album dedicated to the works of composer Du Yun. Dinosaur Scar features ensemble works Impeccable Quake, dreams-bend, Air Glow, by, of … Lethean, and an excerpt from Angel’s Bone; solos Dinosaur Scar, Vicissitudes Alone, and Run in a Graveyard; and improvisations with the composer joining the ensemble as a performer.
Du Yun’s writing is explosive and complex, combining a disparate palette of timbres in compelling and innovative ways–and what a palette she has available to her in the musicians of the International Contemporary Ensemble. ICE’s relationship with Du Yun stretches back to the days of the ensemble’s inception, and the performances on Dinosaur Scar demonstrate a level of intrinsic mutual understanding that only comes from years of close collaboration. A particular highlight on Dinosaur Scar is Air Glow, which has received a GRAMMY nomination for Best Contemporary Classical Composition.
January 6, 2019 by Kevin Coultas
Du Yun is a Pulitzer Prize winning composer and a founding collaborator with the International Contemporary Ensemble and Dinosaur Scar is a retrospective of sorts released on ICE’s own Tundra imprint documenting her time working closely with ICE the past decade or so. Characteristics that have become hallmarks of ICE are all present on DS: masterful execution, stagnation-averse, extended techniques, fearless expressivity, improvisatory, and aesthetically exceptional.
While there is so much to digest with DS, a few highlights, coincidentally, of the release’s lengthiest pieces, follow: “Air Glow”, here adapted for four trumpets, flugelhorn, and electric guitar/bass is irrefutably majestic, like some demented ritual music; “by, of … Lethean” is also stunning, presenting a confounding-ly woven tapestry, perhaps of forgetfulness – Lethean was the river in Greek mythology that caused those who drank from it oblivion – and features Du Yun performing on zheng; “Run in a Graveyard” features flautist and founder / former artistic / executive director of ICE, Claire Chase, at first skipping, then, um, running, through a slowly detonating landmine of electronics, and is a tense dynamo!
The most accurate description these unqualified ears can conjure of Du Yun’s music is “subtlety edgy”: it is no hurry to make its point, but it will bite you if necessary. Much more exploring of her work is undoubtedly forthcoming
Best Of 2018: The Top 25
December 24, 2018 by Jeremy Shatan
13. Du Yun – Dinosaur ScarThe only recent Pulitzer Prize winner who’s even more of a badass than Kendrick Lamar, Du Yun manages to harness her big ideas into concise nuggets of passionate information. As she said at a recent concert, “Through music I always want to tell stories about human relationships,” so the results are far from abstraction. It’ll be a while before we all catch with her, but this album, persuasively performed by ICE (do they ever sleep??) closes that distance by some measure.
September 26, 2018 by Chris Spector
When is a 40 year old art chick not a 40 year old art chick? How about when she wins a Pulitzer and takes pots and pans music to the next level of the game making it sound like a tribute to Lou Reed with actual, scary music instead of feedback as the driving force. Often, this feels like the sound of your brain on drugs and often it feels like one of the greatest film noir/new wave soundtracks ever made. Diversity! Wild stuff that calls on you to be up for the task.
Du Yun – Dinosaur Scar (2018) This protean performer and composer is almost too good for a Pulitzer Prize. Based on this blazingly brilliant collection as well as recent concerts at the MATA Festival, Miller Theatre, and Carnegie Hall, I predict that award will be forgotten in the light of the astounding achievements yet to come.