Album Review

Blackburn, Philip – “Ghostly Psalms” – [Innova/American Composers]

humana   1/30/2012   A Library, CD

The liner notes tucked into the CD sleeve are a must-read, as they enhance the listening of each of these creations from acoustic alchemist Blackburn. 1 is a fabulous sound collage that really places you right in Duluth Harbor, MN, with its sounds of voices, alarm bells from bridges, church bells, carillons, steam engine whistles, joined with other intentional instruments (chain saws, drums, horns). The 9 parts of the Ghostly Psalms include an eerie requiem to a botanical system characterized by voice speaking in five languages, all punctuated by a conch trumpet (2), chant samples triggered by brain waves (3), organ duets (4, 6, 10), string bowing and plucking, breathing, bells, and human rhythmicon (9). The last track is a war of two choirs, one yelling the words, the other singing them gently. Enjoy this aural adventure that celebrates the coexistence of ambient sound and human creation.

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