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Henry Plotnick / Press

“Henry Plotnick is 10 years old. Wait, sorry, he’s 12. By the time I’m done typing this paragraph, he’ll probably be at least 13. No matter; he was 10 years old when he performed this video entitled “Improvisation Part 1.” I stumbled upon Henry at KZSU FM’s Day Of Noise festival, 24 hours’ worth of live performances from their Stanford studio, when Negativwobblyland was on the bill. Henry evidently got clued into Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, et al, when he was about nine years old, and immediately set about composing and performing. His debut record came out at age 11. I presume he’ll be headlining Davies Symphony Hall by this time next year and being commissioned by European car companies to write “edgy jingles.””

“Plotnick's name has been categorically dropped before in the likes of Tiny Mix Tapes and Boston Hassle for his supremely uncommon distinction; he's 11 years-old. And yet, listening to 'Sun' will bring up uncanny recognition for renown figures like Brian Eno and Phillip Glass. If putting those two in comparison to anybody, nevertheless an 11-year-old child prodigy makes someone squirm with unparalleled envy, it's hard to see what else could. The composition's 10 minute-plus movements are shadowed by spacey atmospheres, corroding the central piano's jumbled frame. It draws a hefty magnetism, evoking calming dreams and dubious fears in a bountiful swirl of excellence and unbridled vision.”

“This colossal set of six lengthy loop-pedal improvisations from the thirteen year-old Bay Area wünderkind, Henry Plotnick, builds vast swathes of guitar and keyboard improvisations into pulsating masses of sound. The wobbly synth arpeggios on opener 'Qualia' build and build into a stuttering kaleidoscopic epic, with triumphant piano chords and keyboard drum beats building to a grand finale over a quarter of an hour. The youngster's definitely got the goods necessary to correctly handle his limited kit in order to form symphonic giants. He instinctively hits the right notes; conducting and constructing with incredible prowess.”

“Qualia is a term used to describe the “what it is like” character of mental states. The album is more like a collection of songs than a complete piece. Each track stands squarely on its own. Where Fields demonstrated a strong affinity for Philip Glass, Qualia shows the influence of characters like Lukas Foss and Brian Eno, more mainstream modernists like Dan Deacon, and the — now classic — electronica of Kraftwerk. The Quietus describes one of Qualia’s tracks, “Mechanolotry,” which means the worship of machines, as amassing “layer upon layer of snapping, plucking, yearning synthetic string sound, slowly introducing each element into a hypnotic atonal soundscape, exploring the realm of beautiful chaos as successfully as Terry Riley did on In C…” Um, that’s some serious praise.”

“HENRY PLOTNICK is 11 years old. He’s just released a record on HOLY MOUNTAIN, a double LP, that features 9 recordings of looped and layered minimalistic piano and synth patterns. Names like CLUSTER, and TERRY RILEY, and BRIAN ENO are getting thrown around in comparison to Plotnick’s compositions. And while those are lofty comparisons all, they are not off point. And it would make sense for a person so young to have spent a good deal of time with the masters in order to be able to make music as beautiful, and intoxicating as this music is. PLOTNICK’s early emergence surely indicates the times we live in, times in which all information is available to everyone, of any age. To be able to concoct this kind of vibrant layered music also indicates that there is clearly something special and interesting about the sonic craftsman behind it. And that’s what we are left with. HENRY PLOTNICK. 11. Making beautiful music. His debut record, FIELDS, has been released by HOLY MOUNTAIN.”

“My first thought upon hearing Henry Plotnick’s album, Fields, was: this is amazing. This guy really knows his stuff – Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass. Obvious influences but impeccable taste. Second thought was: but it’s all done on a MIDI keyboard, that’s a bit cheap, you’d never get Steve Reich premiering his latest masterpiece on a Casio – couldn’t a musician of Plotnick’s grade have scored this for orchestra instead? Increasing listens found more and more to hear (and love) in the music. A niggling jealousy. Man, I wish I knew enough about music to be able to do this stuff. He must be 100 years old and have spent a lifetime studying gamelan with Javanese masters, minimalism with the great American surgeons of melody, musique concrete with European wizards. He must have stars in his beard and probably only speaks in riddles.”

“Best Albums of 2013. Henry Plotnick - Fields.”

“And let's finish with a prodigy, shall we? Henry Plotnick is but a babe in the woods - ELEVEN years young to be exact - yet with Fields he has crafted nine sonorous suites of cyclical, coalescing soundbites of light. The experimental complexities and professional acumen present in these looping, kaleidoscopic classics defies explanation - it's good enough to be the lighthearted musings of William Basinski, or the nightmarish daydreams of David Lynch if 'Field 4' is anything to go by, let alone the machinations echoing forth from the mind of a child not ready to leave primary school yet. Holy Mountain have snatched Plotnick up (figuratively speaking, of course), and it's a coup of sorts - if this is what he is capable of now, give him five, ten, fifteen years. Seriously blown away by this. You can, and bloody well should, buy Fields here (how many people IN GENERAL can claim to have a double LP out which is winning global critical acclaim? Jesus.)”

“Henry Plotnick - Fields (Holy Mountain). #59 on the Top 100 for 2013. #4 on the Classical/Experimental Chart for 2013.”

“A mini-sensation at KZSU and KFJC in the Bay Area, and probably other college stations nationwide, Henry Plotnick has released an album-length keyboard suite that combines minimalist influences such as Philip Glass and Steve Reich. It’s compelling and bright, an admirable work. And Plotnick recorded it at the age of 11. Piano/synth themes, washes of “strings,” and various sound effects combine to form what might seem, on the sruface, to be a new-agey symphony. Which by itself would be an accomplishment for an 11-year-old, but what sets it apart from the Mannheim Steamroller crowd is the insistent pulsing repetition that’s woven into most segments (hence the Glass/Reich comparisons) — it’s layers upon layers that build up slowly in each track, with counterpoint themes piling up to create the feel of a bustling department store at Christmas. Whether he’s 11, 12, or 121, Plotnick has put together a professional album that works as one long concept. I like his sense of timin”

“So, I get this email out of nowhere one day earlier this month, and it’s from John, the fellah at the label Holy Mountain. He presented me with this new album by Henry Plotnick called Fields, which came out July 9 (so I’m late to the game — EEK!), and gave me a mini rundown of the music and the musician’s background. Now, John requested not to make a big deal about it, but Henry Plotnick is 11 years old, and I just can’t help to not make a big deal about raw talent. I don’t mean raw in an improvisational or gritty way, but raw as in natural and new. It’s so interesting to see such fresh youth tearing down what adults practice hours and hours to achieve. The kid has jest and gumption and zest, and it’s noticeable in the music. It doesn’t sound crayoned or angsty, voice crackled or fashionable. It sounds pleasant and patient, with hints of “All that yes, Ima pour a warm bath and take a nap.” Which seems like an interesting pride in modern parenting. ”

“The Holy Mountain label has been forging a new trajectory into the kosmiche realms of new composition. We now have local San Francisco composer, Henry Plotnick, channeling the big three of minimalist composition, Terry Riley, Philip Glass, and Steve Reich, in his delightful debut release Fields, a composition in nine parts. Plotnick, using digital synthesizer and piano, begins with a piece built from simple repeating melodic phrases that bloom into interlocking repetitive and exploratory filigrees, sometimes with orchestral strings or tinkling bells and gamelan sounds, rising in terrifying intensity or diluting into gorgeous gaseous clouds of vapor. The whole collection exploring the boundaries and limits of a simplified strategy, but one done with an intuitive sense of play and structure that is both hypnotic and tantalizing. An auspicious debut - oh, and did we mention that Plotnick is just 11 years old??”

“#3 Album of the Week, August 18”

“#1 Classical/Experimental Album, August 11 & August 18”

“Record of the Day, July 24, 2013 WFMU”

“This tickles my brain in an interesting way. I just want to give him a high five cause he’s fucking great.”

“This entire CD is composed, recorded, and mixed by an 11-year-old prodigy whose musical sense of layering and texturing is quite remarkable and intense. Think Philip Glass…think Steve Reich. He uses Yamaha synths and a line 6 pedal to spin straw into shimmering gold. Dip into this multifaceted pool and see whether you don’t find something to delight.”

“Trippy minimal loops upon loops made by an 11 year old instead of a beardstroking mystic. Armed with only a shiny Yamaha keyboard, a decent delay pedal, and the inability to overthink things, he easily makes taffy out of more serious pieces & players. ”

“This stuff'll take you to a holy mountain, man...”

“11-year-old Henry Plotnick, like Mozart before him, is a childhood virtuoso, and his debut album Fields illustrates his indebtedness to his own teachers: Philip Glass, Brian Eno, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Keith Jarrett, and Cluster. The already accomplished work on Fields shows Plotnick’s potential to achieve even greater heights in minimalist and electronic music, just as Mozart did when he composed his first “little pieces” at the age of five. Fields consists of nine pieces, with titles like “Field 1,” “Field 2,” and so on. By not giving his tracks specific names and instead referring to them as “Fields,” Plotnick creates fields for sonic exploration, as well as open spaces for listeners to bring their own meaning to the work. Like the best ambient music, Fields leads to listener introspection. ”