Meredith Monk - Songs of Ascension (2011) [Avant-Garde, Modern Composition]; FLAC (tracks+.cue)

Chamber Jazz, Improvised Music, Avant-Garde Crossover
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Mike1985
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Meredith Monk - Songs of Ascension (2011) [Avant-Garde, Modern Composition]; FLAC (tracks+.cue)

Unread postby Mike1985 » 12 Sep 2016, 12:07


Artist: Meredith Monk
Album: Songs of Ascension
Genre: Avant-Garde, Modern Composition
Label: ECM New series
Released: 2011
Quality: FLAC (tracks+.cue)
Tracklist:
  1. Clusters 1
  2. Strand (Gathering)
  3. Winter Variation
  4. Cloud Code
  5. Shift
  6. Mapping
  7. Summer Variation
  8. Vow
  9. Clusters 2
  10. Falling
  11. Burn
  12. Strand (Inner Psalm)
  13. Autumn Variation
  14. Ledge Dance
  15. Traces
  16. Respite
  17. Mapping Continued
  18. Clusters 3
  19. Spring Variation
  20. Fathom
  21. Ascent

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Meredith Monk's Songs of Ascension is made up of 21 relatively short movements for ensembles of voices or instruments or combinations of both, in groupings as straightforward as a string quartet and as complex as the mix of 12 virtuoso vocal soloists, strings, bass clarinet, and percussion. The unity of the material may not be apparent on first hearing, but Monk helps orient the listener with her titles; there are three related movements with the title "Clusters," four with "Variations" (one for each season), two with "Strand," and a "Mapping" and "Mapping Continued." In his insightful program notes, Kyle Gann comments that Monk's music sounds "not avant-garde, but ancient… not minimalist but like an invented folk tradition," and that Monk herself "sounds less like the sophisticated New York composer she is than like a shaman, some Druid priestess… whose music has somehow come down to us in a miraculous state of preservation." That imagery does certainly capture something of the intensely evocative, primordial quality that makes Monk's music so distinctive. It is potent testimony to the fertility of her imagination that even after a very productive lifetime of exploring non-traditional uses of the voice, she continues to astonish and dazzle with new vocal sounds, nowhere more evident than in her solo, "Fathom," the CD's penultimate track.

The album was recorded in a studio, but Songs of Ascension was conceived and created as a site-specific work, to be performed on the staircase of an eight-story circular tower in Sonoma, CA, designed by artist Ann Hamilton. Something may have been lost in transferring the piece from its original, unique sonic environment, but what's added is the massed power of the Montclair State University Singers, who bring an awesome monumentality to the final movement. Monk also marshals a broad range of new music virtuosi: the members of her own ensemble, the singers of the M6, and the Todd Reynolds Quartet. Produced by ECM's legendary Manfred Eicher, the album's sound is immaculate, warm, and immediate. Highly recommended, especially for Monk's fans and anyone who loves innovative vocal music.

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