Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Terry Riley - Songs For The Ten Voices Of The Two Prophets (Kuckuck - Kuckuck 067 Digital)
This album came as quite unexpected to me. This was one of the albums which I've never listened from Terry Riley before and I was expecting somewhere along the lines of his other works. Yet here it is. Bright and clear as a sunny morning sun glaring into my ears, Contemporary Classical and World Music fused into one gigantic bowl. It would not be unexpected to expect something unexpected from Terry Riley in every album, but you can't know what to expect before you listen it anyway.
Terry Riley undertook a big change. It is true that many Minimalist composers have taken a significant interest in Eastern cultures and religions. They have also included Eastern musical understanding into their modern approaches even though this is not something they pioneered. Balinese music was already adopted to Classical music in the late 1800s in regards to the Folk movement which affected many composers.
In this album Terry Riley not only adopted Eastern musical concepts, he has taken a step away from Minimalist Classical music and drove himself toward World music. True, the general outline of the structure is in accordance with Minimalism, but the bigger picture shows otherwise. The synth melodies are contrasting against the vocals and the musical structure. To some people, the music may sound bizarre or unnatural. This is of course very standard for innovative music. I'm quite sure people who listen this record and like it will also like Talvin Singh and even Muslimgauze to some extent. These are similar minded people who has taken this innovation to several steps further.
Actually the title is about these synthisizers. Two prophets are the two Sony PCM synths and since each of them are capable of 5 voices, we get the total of 10 voices for 2 prophets. Sweet.
Another important aspect of this record is that Terry Riley is singing. His style is close to Indian and Pakistani vocal style which is absolutely natural since his teacher was Pandit Pran Nath. He sang in Eastern scale which created an offbeat feeling during the recording between music and the vocals. Naturally Terry Riley's strength is not singing and it obviously shows off during the record. I have many times though how beautiful it would have been if he somehow convinced Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan to accompany him on this project. That would have been a spectacle, believe me.
To buy this record: