It's hard to know just what to call this music. Is it classical? Pop? Some extremely pleasant strain of the avant-garde? David Darling is a cellist, and on Dark Wood he plays all the parts, multitracking himself playing in various registers and alternating between bowing and pizzicato techniques. The program consists of four suites, titled "Darkwood IV" through "Darkwood VII." (One would like to think that somewhere there exist "Darkwood I-III" and perhaps "VIII-X," but it's hard to give Darling the benefit of the doubt when, in place of any explanatory notes, the insert pamphlet contains a Gerry Lopez short story. This is not a man afraid of seeming pretentious.) However mannered the presentation may be, though, this music is really stunning. All of it moves slowly, like a dark cloud formation, as spare lines pile up on one other and pizzicato sections nudge up against long, sustained tones. "Dawn" and "New Morning," which are virtually identical compositions, bracket the program, and they are the loveliest tracks of all; where pieces like "Returning" and "Searching" hover in a sort of harmonic stasis, "Dawn" and "New Morning" move deliberately and gently through a definite chord progression, and the effect is almost cathartic. Highly recommended.