After Terry Riley's revolutionary In C, it certainly never seemed that the compositionally brash cofounder of the minimalist movement would take on a lyrical bent. But that's what he's done on this collection of pieces for violin, guitar, and percussion. Violinist Tracy Silverman and guitarist David Tanenbaum play warmly and sublimely on Cantos Desiertos, finding pristine melodies and high, arching curves around which to spread their finesse. Tanenbaum gets unbelievably rich tones from his guitar, and his range is the one consistent ingredient throughout these pieces. He duets with Riley's son Gyan, himself an accomplished guitarist, on "Zamorra" and with percussionist William Winant on Dias de los Muertos. Winant's marimba and gongs are especially appropriate for Tanenbaum's resonant string work, fluctuating from an absolute crispness to a milky froth. Where Riley's chamber works, such as Salome Dances for Peace, are intensely rhythmic, these works veer much more stealthily toward a kind of glorious flowering, even if the blooms are in dusky colors and muted, curvy patterns.
Fighting God is a firebrand manifesto from one of the most recognizable faces of atheism. In his audiobook, Silverman―a walking, talking atheist billboard known for his appearances on Fox News―discusses the effectiveness, ethics, and impact of the in-your-face-atheist who refuses to be silent.