Monday, April 19, 2010

Eyvind Kang - Virginal Co Ordinates (2003)

| Avant-Garde | Contemporary Classical |
| Experimental | Dream Pop |

Commissioned by the Angelica, Festival Internazionale di Musica in Bologna, Virginal Co-ordinates ranks paradoxically among Eyvind Kang's most ambitious and accessible works. The piece is scored for a large ensemble (the 16-piece ensemble Playground) and six extra musicians: singer Mike Patton, guitarist Tim Young, once Sun Ra violinist Michael White, Kang himself, and engineers Tucker Martine and Evan Schiller, who are responsible for the sound diffusion and live processing. Fans of Kang will recognize the spiritual yearning found in some of his NADE pieces. The 73-minute work takes the form of a suite of themes that draw from Indian classical music and American minimalism, with flourishes of impressionistic and big-band arrangements. Often a marimba will lead the group into a repetitive motif reminiscent of Steve Reich's percussion works, or of simplified gamelan music. The longer movements are built over trance-like repetition and melodic development akin to a raga, especially in "Doorway to the Sun." "Innocent Eye, Crystal See," with its luminously elevating chant (which shows the excellency of Patton's works on vocals. And yes, he's the only credited singer.), brings to mind Nana Vasconcelos' musical illuminations. Two shorter tracks take the form of songs: "I Am the Dead" and the closing "Marriage of Days," both interpreted with grace by an unrecognizable Patton -- as close to a choir boy as he'll ever sound. In fact, the latter is led by a flute melody and builds to an angelic finale your mother (or grandmother) would love! Once more Kang has managed to deceive expectations and come up with a brilliant album. But this one is so virginal white that some listeners might find it a bit too clean.

Catalog: IDA 016 (I Dischi Di Angelica)
Album Overview on Allmusic
Download (320kbps)

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