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Album Review

Crumb2C George – 22Black Angels3B Makrokosmos III 22 – 5BMode Records5D

Thurston Hunger   11/22/2006   A Library, CD

Two pieces working from varying degrees of darkness. The disc opens with
an homage to Bela Bartok, “Makrokosmos” mirroring Bartok’s “Mikrokosmos”
books of piano works. Piano here is augmented with whistling (almost
sounds otherworldy on the “Wanderer-Fantasy” section…which has some
extremely quiet moments). Gong clashes come in, with room to resonate
on “The Advent.” “Myth” seemed to me the most amazing section, must
have been a pretty busy summer evening, as we’ve got squiggly mbiras,
some shouting (it leads off with a pair of paroxysms) and plenty of
striking percussion. Lot’s of silence too, that’s the darkness in the
night sky I presume, the conclusion of this suite in track 5 has sort
of twinkly piano chords, bass clusters with lots of sustain, and then
a trickling of notes that again leads to a stark silence in phases.
More shining chimey percussion on that, the longest track on this CD.
“Black Angels” starts with an attack of flying snakes on violins, I
guess they are insects per the title…but after the very quiet end
of the first piece, this pluck the hairs up and out of my head. The
liner notes talk about compositional form, I sort of found these very
short movements loosely connected, again a sense of darkness to match
the night-space-void of the first suite. Strings w/ contact mics give
this an electric vibrancy, and though dark, this is never malevolent.
It has a sort Harry Partch/Lou Harrison playfulness likely coming from
Juan Pablo Izquierdo’s arrangement and conduction. I like the see-saw
melody used at times in this piece, kind of dizzy, kind of exotic.
“Ancient Voices” also creates that feeling with pinched notes on the
strings… Definitely leaves me wanting more, longer passages.

-Thurston Hunger

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