Monday, October 22, 2012

Steve Reich - The Desert Music (Nonesuch - 9 79101-1 F)

This is a record which took me some time to find a clean one to listen to. Interestingly it's not the rarest of his records, but it became one of the last 3 records of his that I didn't own. Therefore it is special in that way also.

Steve Reich is one of my favorite composers of the 20th century. The only reason is not his Minimalist background also. He has pioneered this genre, had a hard life in the beginning and opened various ways for future composers and artists to follow. He did not compose as much as Philip Glass and was not in the spotlight like him, but all the works he has written are known to be crucial.

Desert Music is structurally Steve Reich, but the vocals and the melodies are reminiscent of Terry Riley. The first thing you can hear in the desert is the wind and your pulse (Or so they sayy). Reich started from the point of pulse and developed from it. Repetition of 8 notes created this effect also pointing out his repetitive style. The use of mallet instruments is also very significant and this style has been a signature of his since he composed "Drumming".

The composition is based on William Carlos Williams's poems which you can also hear in the vocals. The poems themselves have absolutely no relation to desert, but they were also a starting point like the pulse effect. He was also ideally effected by Sinai and the religious importance of it. Moreover, he himself had experiences in Mojave desert. However, the musical feeling in the 5 movement piece has no relation to desert or the feeling of deserts apart from the name. Yet all movements which some are divided in slow and moderate are stylishly developing into one general piece which enables you to savour the moment while listening a true talent. It is also key to notify that Michael Tilson Thomas conducted the members of the Brooklyn Philharmonic orchestra along with the Steve Reich's musicians and chorus. It is a staggeirng record which was obviously worth the wait.

To buy this record:

@ Ebay
@ Discogs

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Les Diaboua De Brazzaville - Congo (SFP - FP7-72503)

As part of my latest fascination with ethnic music, I have also delved into African music and found some gems along with it. This record in question is one of those. It is a sample of Congolese music performed by Les Diaboua De Brazzaville at the Festival Mondial Du Folklore in France. This is a live recording and the enthusiasm of the crowd is totally captured.

The rhythms are violent and powerful with percussion taking over the main stage. Every song has a meaning. The opening track "Benguela" is a fisherman's song while "Gandza" is celebrating circumcision, "Waya-Waya" is a welcoming song for an important member of a friendly family. This is African music. They don't do music for the sake of music. It needs to have a meaning. It should be a part of their expressionism in their daily lives.

The music is highly entertaining. Even though you don't get to see the dancers, you can understand their rapid movements by the reactions from the crowd. This being a live recording really raised the level of sheer enjoying of the music.

I honestly don't know if these festivals are still taking place, but I will surely check it out and if possible, go there to view in person. They should be one hell of an attraction both musically and visually. This record has shown me more than enough to give the desired motivation.

To buy this record:

@ Ebay (The search did not bring results, but you can try anytime)