Album: Eyvind Kang

Virginal Co-Ordinates, I Dischi di Angelica / ReR Megacorp
Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Prospective purchasers of the Mogwai album would be well advised to check out this latest album from the violinist Eyvind Kang, which offers a much more satisfying excursion, traversing far-flung musical territory. Best known for his work alongside such avant-gardists as Laurie Anderson, John Zorn and Arto Lindsay, Kang composed Virginal Co-ordinates as a large ensemble piece for Bologna's Angelica festival, where it was performed by the Playground Ensemble augmented by electric guitar, the violins of Kang and the former Sun Ra side-man Michael White, and the Faith No More front man Mike Patton's electronics and vocals - more than 20 musicians in total, whose performances were skilfully processed and mixed live by Tucker Martine and Evan Schiller. It's an extraordinary pan-cultural piece, vast and meditative, encompassing various movements, from the Indo-European slow waltz "Go in a Good Way to a Better Place", through passages of Spanish guitar ("Taksim"), sombre clusters of strings and horns ("Occultum Lapidem") to the woodwind arabesques of "Sidi Bou Said", before drifting away in the heat-haze of sitar, flute and vocal whoops that is "Marriage of Days". There are beautifully finessed transitions between moods - such as when jet-plane whines of violin lead into the pizzicato, bamboo percussion and marimba of "Doorway to the Sun". Taken as a whole, the album is immensely soothing, a restorative immersion in the harmonious oneness of music. One of the albums of the year, impossible to recommend too highly.

Comments