Johann Johansson —
Orphee ... CD Deutsche Grammophon (Germany), 2016. New Copy ...
A beautiful re-interpretation of the myth of Orpheus – handled here by composer Johann Johannsson in a beautiful style that recalls some of the best Deutsche Grammophon projects from Max Richter! The composer plays a variety of keyboards – including electric and pipe organ – in shifting settings that either feature the American Contemporary Ensemble's strings, the cello of Hildur Guonadottir, the AIR Lyndhurst String Orchestra, or the shifting Theater Of Voices conducted by Paul Hillier – all musical elements which are sampled and used carefully alongside Johannsson's keyboards and a bit of electronics – with results that seem to take the generation of 4AD and advance it more than a few steps with a new sort of complexity and emotional depth. The blend of the compositional and personal here is wonderful – maybe even more so than in Richter's work – and titles include "A Pile Of Dust", "Flight From The City", "The Radiant City", "Fragment II", "The Burning Mountain", "Good Morning Midnight", and "Orphic Hymn". (Out Sound, Classical)CD
A fantastic addition to the catalog of Terry Riley during his most influential years – a set that features two long, extended organ performances by the minimalist – both on a par with his best records of the time! The similarity in title to Riley's classic Rainbow In Curved Air album is no surprise – as the sound here is very similar, and he performs a stunning 61 minute version of that song on the first CD in the set – one that's more open, more expressive, and more compelling than even the studio take – as Terry layers his lines on organ in a really beautiful way! CD2 features and equally wonderful version of "Persian Surgery Dervishes" – almost 50 minutes in length, and done at a level that shows how important individual examples of performance were amidst the minimalist canon! (Out Sound, Classical)CD
A completely amazing presentation of this very unusual piece by John Cage – one that plays with chance actions and sound even more than the original composition! The format is very unusual – producer Gino Robair (who's almost part of the performance himself) recorded pianist Tania Chen in three different duet versions of the work – one with Thurston Moore on guitar, one with Jon Leidecker on mobiles and mixer, and one with David Toop on a variety of electronic elements and feedback! Then, Robair layered all three duets together at once, and had the record move between them with chance action – almost like you're flipping the switch back and forth between three channels on a mixing board, but at a much more random level. The end result moves between noise and silence, fuzz and clarity, electricity and earthiness – all in the space of a 69 minute performance. (Out Sound, Classical)CD