Sunday, July 18, 2010

HurdAudio Rotation: Noise, Love and Funk

Iannis Xenakis: Orchestral Works - Vol. I. 2000. Timpani: 1C1057.

Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg
Arturo Tamayo: conductor

Ais (1980)
Spyros Sakkas: baritone
Beatrice Daudin: percussion

Tracees (1987)

Empreintes (1975)

Noomena (1974)

Roai (1991)

The music of Iannis Xenakis is a necessary component of the orchestral literature. The Dionysian element of sound that treats the large ensemble as a fantastic noise maker that operates within a precision and indifference to polite restraint. Such indifference does not exclude the extremes of human utterance and experience. It actually revels in such extremes. As evidenced by some of the greatest program notes ever written: "[Ais is] a work of heroic
attitude, it seems to concern a mythical hero who, with the support of a large orchestra, tells a story so extraordinary that most of its content is beyond normal, comprehensible words." Which neatly sums up the Xenakis aesthetic of pursuing an idea (and sound mass) to its logical end no matter where it goes. The Luxembourg Philharmonic bringing a precision of performance equal to the precision of composition. The end result is a beast with orchestral players and instruments along every limb. Stark, violent and beautiful.

Olivier Messiaen: Messiaen Edition [disc 3]. 1988. Warner Classics: 2564-62162-2.

Maria Oran: soprano
Yvonne Loriod: piano

Poemes pour Mi (1936)
Chants de terre et de ciel (1938)

Song cycles composed during an idyllic period in the young Messiaen's life. Written in the early days of his marriage as a gift and an expression of love. What is interesting here is how much of Messiaen's harmonic language is fully formed and how profoundly important his sense of faith is. All of this prior to the trials ahead that would test and solidify his connection to his faith. Also interesting here is the fact that these songs, written for his first wife, are performed by his second on this recording.

Miles Davis: The Complete On The Corner Sessions [disc 2]. 1973, 1974, 2007. Sony/BMG: 88697062392.

Miles Davis: trumpet, organ
Carlos Garnett: soprano saxophone
Bennie Maupin: bass clarinet, flute
Herbie Hancock: electric piano, organ
Lonnie Liston Smith: electric piano
Harold Ivory Williams: electric piano
Colin Walcott: electric sitar
Michael Henderson: electric bass
Al Foster: drums
Billy Hart: drums
Don Alias: kalimba, African percussion
Badal Roy: tablas
Cedric Lawson: organ
Reggie Lucas: guitar
Khalil Balakrishna: electric sitar
Mtume: congas

Generous canvas slathered deep with the material of funk. The prolonged durations of groove slip this multi-layered material into a ritual of free form expression. The changes in texture clearly being directed by an unseen Miles Davis as he breaks things down and builds them up again. Leaving just enough space for soloists to appear and vanish at intuitively grasped intervals. The multi-disc experience of the "Complete" recordings allows the transcendent qualities of this experience to come to the fore. While the real listening reward lives within the details of this funky soup.

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