RECORDS

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The Independent Culture
CLASSICAL Kancheli: Caris Mere (ECM new series, CD). The slow- burning desolation of Giya Kancheli's music and its sudden, unpredictable eruptions into violence caused his old-Soviet colleagues to think of him as a "restrained Vesuvius". In the West he counts among the Holy Minimalists: spiritual cousin to Gorecki, Part and Tavener. But he is both these things and more, as the three pieces on this disc explain. They're all contemplative, devotions on a theme of pain. Kancheli's music seems to look more to the world in sadness than to God in hope: Caris Mere, the title of the third piece, is Georgian for "after the wind", and it could be after Armageddon for the sense the music gives of waiting in uneasy quiet on inconceivable unknowns. Atmospherically played by the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra with spacious direction from Dennis Russell Davies, there's some haunting playing here, not least from saxophonist Jan Garbarek, doing more of what he did for the Hilliard Ensemble's Officium. This will speak to similar audiences; but on its own terms. Michael White

ROCK

Pavement: Brighten the Corners (Domino, CD/LP/tape). "The infrastructure rots," proclaims Pavement's frighteningly erudite lead singer Stephen Malkmus in the heat of "Stereo", this record's rousing opening number. In truth, the infrastructure - at least as far as Malkmus and his four fellow Americans are concerned - is looking pretty solid at the moment. Their fourth album proper is as full of thrilling guitar flurries and startling linguistic coups ("A voice coach taught me to sing, he couldn't teach me to love!") as any of its fine predecessors. And thanks to the patronage of Blur's Damon Albarn, an impressionable new audience awaits. Ben Thompson

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