CD Christopher Adler: Epilogue for a Dark Day (CD 985500),
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Christopher Adler: Epilogue for a Dark Day

  • 1. Wind Blows Inside, for khaen, The
    2. Three Lai, for khaen, violin & viola
    3. Signals Intelligence, for percussion ensemble
    4. Epilogue for a Dark Day, for khaen
    5. Pan-Lom (Essays on Architecture I), for ensemble
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 8004

  • Credits
    EngineerJosef Kucera; Peter Sprague

    Personnel: Christopher Deane (hammer dulcimer); Eric Pritchard (violin); Frederic Raimi (cello); Bobby Newsome (oboe); Robbie Link (double bass); Steven Schick, Don Nichols (percussion).
    Audio Mixer: Peter Sprague.
    Recording information: Nelson Music Room, Duke University, NC (12/12/1998-04/06/2004); SpragueLand Studio, Encinitas, CA (12/12/1998-04/06/2004); UCSD Music Center Studios, University Of California, Sa (12/12/1998-04/06/2004).
    A Californian (San Diego) having traveled to the Pacific Rim frequently, Christopher Adler is perhaps one of the more unique modern composers of the 21st century. He combines traditional folk music of Thailand and Laos with the post-John Cage contemporary minimalist school. The result is a stunning music sporting unique instrumentation, timbres and tones that reflect an affinity for electronic music, and an acoustic esthetic that is sonorous, at times shimmering, and definitely spiritual. Adler plays two pieces on the khaen, an internal reed instrument with 16 bamboo pipes mounted in a wooden windchest, native to the Lao culture of Laos and northeastern Thailand. Its sound assimilates a harmonica with overtones of a drone similar to bagpipes, yet it retains a multi-harmonic resonance that might be the cousin of the ba-hu or forefather of the melodica or harmonium. "The Wind Blows Inside" is church-like and meditational but minimalist and not unlike Terry Riley's "Persian Surgery Dervishes." The title track, recorded five months after 9/11, seems naturally somber, at times inquisitive, sighing and breathing deeply. "Three Lai" adds violin and viola and displays a definite traditional dance quality before waxing romantic, then ending in a bouncy canon. The influence of Lou Harrison's gamelan experiments is quite evident during the outstanding "Signals Intelligence" played by the Red Fish Blue Fish percussion sextet. A very regimented but interactive piece, it incorporates the shifting rhythms, moods, and accents so typical of Asian music, with a booming bass drum or 7/8 rhythm tossed in. The magnum opus "Pan-Lom" is a musical essay on architecture that Adler offered for his PhD dissertation at Duke University. Meaning "to sculpt the wind," the live in studio (no overdubs) 23-minute piece with a 13-piece acoustic band and samples added has Adler on Thai xylophone, again quite regimented but more spectral and varied in emotional content, ranging from direct and historical to serene, dancing, and joyous, then calming. A violin solo by Eric Pritchard is placed in the middle on a composition also quite similar to what Lou Harrison might do with these exotic and standard instrumental combinations. It is a triumphant, regal, and proud world music statement, unique unto itself, and should be in the collection of all interested in any Indo-jazz or ethnic fusion events of recent documentation. ~ Michael G. Nastos

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