"Richly talented" -
The New York Times
maverick electronic song composer" - The
"Subversive" - The Village Voice
youthful energy. . . The electronics accompanying
soloist Hughes reveal a keen ear for finer
ambiance and timbre, as well
as a canny ear for pop affect, and [Cooper's]
writing for her voice is
to the digital medium. . . Nonesuch Records
deserves a round of
applause for putting out Silver
Threads for any number of reasons."
"Watery keyboard pulses are spackled with glitchy
tiny eddying noises buzz like insects around
undulating organ drones;
doomy sheets of thunder-noise hold treated vocal
fragments hostage. At
times, the results resemble the electro-soul of
James Blake, except
that Hughes's measured recitation of pieces like
Kristin Kelly's "Fame"
and Zach Savich's "Antique Windfall" has a cool
- Andy Gill, UK Independent
. . the
sonic experience is completely immersive, and
the unassuming music
makes no prerequisite demands of the listener. .
. . Overall, the album
is part pop, part ambient, yet wholly
undefinable when taken in its
totality. Composer Jacob Cooper has crafted a
utterly accessible, and undeniably appealing set
of songs that wafts
into the listener's eras and lingers with ease
and unforced profundity.
- Daniel J.
Kushner, I Care If You
"Silver Threads is a
shimmering ambient song cycle based around the
powerful soprano of
Mellissa Hughes, who is equally adept at
abstract vocal tones as she is
tight song forms, and atop the gently pulsing
delivers a fairly stunning performance. It's
Cooper's most fully
realized work, and a nice return to form for an
". . . the kind of meditative concentration one
associates with Olivier Messiaen at his best, but
with the composer's own kind of undulating layers
and strokes of color."
- David Patrick Stearns, The Philadelphia
the whole review)
"From its first phrases, Cast seems to
revolve around some great, all-immersive mystery.
Into this unnameable universe instruments make
some rather humorous entrances into a gorgeous
score that sounds like nothing else. Eventually,
the music seems intent on fading out until it
throws you for a loop as it plays with you. The
sounds are extraordinary, the visceral impact
- Stereophile.com (read
On Hand Eye as a whole: "Each piece of
this diverse, eclectic, and colorful suite had its
own voice and character. . . Yet the overall work
had narrative thrust and a structural arc, even a
shared aesthetic, common among younger composers
today, that values the mixing of styles from all
realms of contemporary music."
- Anthony Tommasini, The New York
Commencer Une Autre Mort (from
"The sensation of watching Cooper’s Commencer.
to look at the opera in a different way: The sharp
and glacial pace run as if this moment is being
maniacally played in José’s mind as he sits in
prison, perhaps waiting
for trial or death."
- Olivia Giovetti, WQXR blog (read
"Time seems to both stand still and rush by as
times over to a harsh, frenetic soundtrack
sampling the final chorus of
the opera. . . . The destabilizing video
skillfully toyed with the
audience’s expectations and experience of opera,
of staged death, of
- Claudia Carrera, Capital NY (read
". . . a quick-cut
with a soundtrack built of noise-bursts. It had
the virtue of brevity"
- Allan Kozinn, The
New York Times (read
"A rumbling, jittering threnody."
"[The] video showed a series of embraces-- faces
in kisses, hands holding faces. . . . The work
left a memorably
like an endless run-on sentence (from Histories)
Stumbling, Like an
Endless Run-on Sentence, Mr. Cooper used
the percussion writing
toward the end of The Soldier's Tale
as the starting point for a robust fantasy, at
times transferring the
high-energy bursts in Stravinsky's music to the
brasses and woodwinds
". . . a fascinating, often compelling piece that
captured much of the
original’s energy and earthy flavor, with its
demented little dances
and dark, acerbic edge." [about Histories
as a whole].
Washington Post (read
"The audience is reminded of Spears’s music and
but the fast pacing of pop becomes dark and
weighted. . . The
stretching of both the music and story prolongs
and amplifies her downfall, but seeing it happen
in slow motion makes
it all the more tragic.”
All Things Considered, National Public Radio (read
to the whole
"A gutsy rock opera."
Out NY (a
"'Baby One More Time. . .' has all the passion of
'Nessun Dorma.' Who knew Britney's canon was so
conducive to staged
- The Village Voice
(a Voice Choice)
"A PR person's wet dream. .
. The lives of former Mouseketeers sure make for
- Randy Nordschow,
can lay claim to a new cultural offering."
- Page 6 Magazine
"The opera easily transcends
its conceptual calculations and becomes an
engrossing, intriguing human
drama. Human vocals waft over a wave of
slowed-down chords, accented by
crashing drums and keyboard effects. It has the
airy eeriness of a
David Lynch film score, yet not as doom-laden. . .
The grandeur and
polish bear the patience and intelligence of a
classical score, but
the humanity and desperation are pure pop. . .
Just as few fans of
Butterfly or Mozart's Marriage of Figaro
have read the
books and stories on which those operas are based,
someday when people
have forgotten about the real Britney Spears, they
may still be
enthralled by the tragic electronically fueled
slo-mo musical meltdown
"Listening to [Timberbrit's]
There are moments of overwhelming force in the
work. Like when Justin
and Britney's voices are nearly drowned out by the
wall-of-sound chords and the apocalyptic drums. Or
the duet when
Justin's voice slides above Britney's in a
piercing falsetto as they
proclaim their love for each other."
- Tom MacMillan,
Signals and Noise
Also see the interview
with me in the Toronto Star, Alex Ross's Timberbrit shout-out
article by Adam Rathe in the Brooklyn Paper,
and a wonderfully scathing
review by a bicoastal blogger.
rich, roiling composition [that] featured Ashley
and sensitive bowing."
Elizabeth Pandolfi, Charleston City Paper
featured a string quintet playing thick, slow
repeating chords while
the two singers changed an enigmatic poem. A
trumpet added off-key
blasts, which grew to become a cacophony of wails
and moans, and short
discordant attacks, and the piece ended with added
wild drumming. The
buildup was powerful, satisfying, and original."
Stabat Mater Dolorosa
"A work of unmistakably solemn beauty."
- Daniel Stephen
"Composer Portal" Feature on Cooper (read
"A stunning new work. .
. The plain tones, simple harmonies, and the
concentration of the
musicians makes for an intensely powerful
Musically beautiful and emotionally gripping, this
is a stunning
piece and was played with exceptional focus and
control by all the
- George Grella, The
Big City (read
the most cacophonous concert conclusions
in recent memory."
- David Hawley, St
“Cooper’s goal was to create something
out of seemingly
random elements, and in this he succeeded
- David H. Kim,
Haven Independent magazine (read the whole review)
“At some point in Jacob Cooper's Untitled, the
of the work hit me.”