Bearthoven: American Dream

A New Album of Scott Wollschleger’s Compositions on Cantaloupe Music and Concert Program
For Booking Inquires, contact Karl Larson - (608) 397-4407 /

Photo by Jaime Boddorff

Photo by Jaime Boddorff

‘A stunning work that creeps up on the listener over time and doesn’t let go.’ - Peter Margasak, Bandcamp Daily

‘Riveting, not only for the seemingly definitive readings pianist Karl Larson, double bassist Pat Swoboda, and percussionist Matt Evans give the three settings but also for the material's thematic resonance.’ - Textura

‘On the atlas of new music, Wollschleger lands somewhere in the borderland between Minimalia and Feldmanistan... Yet [he] has found a territory very much his own...It’s like a junk-metal mobile that achieves free-floating grace.’ – Alex Ross, The New Yorker

’[Bearthoven] interlocks complex rhythmic material with the precision of a surgical team... the trio masterfully conveys subtle and delicate shifts in color.’
– Tristan McKay, I Care if You Listen


Album Art by Jaime Boddorff / Design by Mariah Tavainen

Album Art by Jaime Boddorff / Design by Mariah Tavainen

American Dream, Bearthoven’s sophomore release, is a reflection of the contemporary American state of mind. Rather than making a political statement, this music reflects the paradoxical nature of the ‘American Dream’ in our current era. Consisting of three monumental new works by Scott Wollschleger, American Dream is available now in physical and digital formats on Cantaloupe Music and for concert booking.

The full program consists of three pieces: Gas Station Canon Song for solo piano (2.5 minutes), American Dream for piano, double bass, and mixed percussion (35 minutes), and We See Things That Are Not There for piano and vibraphone (8 minutes). In a concert setting, these three pieces are performed attacca, drawing the audience into a prolonged state of listening, inviting them to contemplate the themes of the work.

Karl Larson describes American Dream as “a reflection of the contemporary American state of mind.” Rather than making a direct political statement, these three works reflect the paradoxical nature of the “American Dream” in our current socio-economic climate. Wollschleger says, “This music expresses the strongest sense of urgency I've experienced in my entire life, channeling feelings of doom, optimism, hopelessness, and the sublime. Much like a dream, these pieces weave an interconnected musical fabric of contradictory worlds.”

The title work, Wollschleger’s American Dream, is a substantial trio for piano, double bass, pitch pipes, and a wide array of percussion instruments including vibraphone, water crotales, and vibrators. The piece consists of numerous “broken songs” dispensed throughout a fragmented time-field. This formal dissonance, often heightened by disruptively recurring drone-clusters, sets the tone for the entire album: the beautiful/hopeful is pervasive but constantly shadowed by the repugnant/forlorn.

We See Things That Are Not There engages the vibraphone and piano in a constant repetitive dialogue with one another – both instruments recite the same phrase back and forth without an ultimate agreement. Gas Station Canon Song for solo piano is an unscrambled statement of one of the “broken songs” from American Dream. It was inspired by the synchronous existence of the beautiful and the grotesque encountered by Wollschleger in an I-80 gas station, a direct reference to a modern American paradox: how the majestic and the repellent always seem to coexist in a state of flux, no matter the medium.


Streaming versions of the entire American Dream album are available on Bandcamp, Apple Music, and Spotify.

For Booking Inquires, contact Karl Larson - (608) 397-4407 /