fri 19/12/2014

Minimalism

Just in From Scandinavia: Nordic Music Round-Up 12

The voice is unmistakably Icelandic. Fluting and dancing around the notes, the words it carries are broken into segments which don’t respect syllables. Although singing in English, Hildur Kristín Stefánsdóttir hasn’t sacrificed her Icelandic...

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CD: Kiasmos

As vaporous as the haze on its cover, the sound of Kiasmos resonates like clouds sweeping across low mountain peaks, intermittently breaking into a storm or opening to reveal wan sunlight. Although firmly within the boundaries of electronica, the...

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Glenn Ligon: Call and Response, Camden Arts Centre

“I was a nigger for twenty-three years. I gave that shit up. No room for advancement.” This astute joke, by American comedian Richard Pryor, is stencilled in black capitals on the gold ground of a painting by Glenn Ligon.I’ve long admired the work...

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The Trial, Music Theatre Wales, Linbury Studio Theatre

According to the programme essay, Philip Glass describes his latest opera as “serious, but also hilariously funny”. All I can say is, if The Trial is his idea of thigh-slapping hilarity then never, ever let him pick the movie on a night out. Whether...

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CD: Aisha Orazbayeva - The Hand Gallery

It seems that the gradual leakage of avant-garde-post-classical-call-it-what-you-will music from the rarefied environment of concert halls and into the spaces traditionally inhabited by alternative and club music is now inexorable. And violinist...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: I am the Center, Haiku Salut

Various Artists: I am the Center – Private Issue New Age Music in America, 1950–1990A landmark reissue either retells a familiar story in a new way or tells an unfamiliar story in a way that fascinates. In both cases, the annotation, packaging,...

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CD: Nils Frahm – Spaces

Although most readily pigeonholed as a minimalist pianist whose compositions are as much about the space between the notes as what he actually plays, Germany's Nils Frahm has also worked with the Juno synthesiser and released pieces which edge...

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Satyagraha Remix: Opera Reaches Out

The brightly coloured flyer promises all manner of activities. Improvised jam sessions, performance poetry, and philosophy discussions. Oh, and an Indian dance workshop. On an obscenely cold Sunday night I find myself braving not only the cold, but...

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BBC Singers, Endymion, Hill, Milton Court

Milton Court’s new concert hall is a mighty small space, but the BBC Singers under their chief conductor David Hill were determined to launch their residency there with a musical epic of world events from Genesis to the post-nuclear era. And they...

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Berezovsky, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Järvi, Royal Festival Hall

In 1980, an orchestra and conductor then hardly known in Britain came to the Royal Festival Hall. I went to hear Elisabeth Söderström in Strauss’s Four Last Songs; I left stunned by an unorthodox Sibelius Second Symphony and above all by one of the...

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Lubomyr Melnyk, Village Underground

Imagine the rising and falling piano cadences of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Then plug the gaps between each note with any of those which may have been encountered on the path to the next. Once that’s done, ensure that the playing is constant with...

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Impossible Road

"Avoid missing ball for high score" ‑ possibly some of the most famous and minimal videogame instructions ever, for one of the earliest arcade games, Pong. The instructions for Impossible Road could probably be similarly distilled to such haiku...

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