Album Review

Kuehn, Mikael – “Object Shadow” – [New Focus]

Thurston Hunger   6/30/2018   A Library, CD

Call it modern classical, compositions with a hint of soundtrack
and a (very) remote West Coast jazz flair. Well, I can picture a
detective on some of them. Compositions are loaded with what feel
like questions, uneasy revealing of notes, sneaky snakey ones at
that. Much use of the percussive epiphany, a single strike often
emphasized by the lingering reverb of a vibe/marimba/piano. Is it
the cold slap of an interrogator? Strings are spies, sharp as
razor-wire. #3 and #5 invite electroacoustics into the mix, they
deftly blend in, camoflauged by cello on “Chiaroscuro” and
lurking behind a lineup of saxes on “Objet/Ombre.” On both
cuts the electronics add drone and darkness to the atmosphere.
Solo marimba on “Devouring Time” is as warm as it gets, then
solo acoustic guitar on “Unfoldings” an apt description for
much of this CD, or maybe *Disarmings* as in trying not to
detonate an IED. Things. Are. Tense. Listeners may need an
alibi after listening to this. Clearly they got to whoever
assembled the booklet (looks like a staplecide)
More info on the composer at http://mikelkuehn.com/
-Thurston Hunger

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