May 26, 2008

Four out of five stars

This is modern music and sounds it. For the listener it is an undertaking. Containing themes of religion, diverse cultures, historic events, life’s passage and Lee Hyla’s personal understanding and weaving of these themes.

Not like his previous collection of pieces in the Trans CD. This is a little less accessible than Trans going back to a more modern musical vision he had with earlier works.

The music and text tell stories within the individual sections and across the larger collection of pieces and sections on this CD. Connecting the themes previously noted with a full pallet of musical tools and text. The pieces are complex and varied, dramatic and full of colors. There are many exclamation points as well as some subtleties using voice and individual instrumentation to deliver some very expressionistic, tense, sharp and severe passages.

The music conveys the story like a friend that uses her voice, arms, hands, shoulders and face to tell a story.

The music and vocalization can be challenging at times, yet rewarding upon several listenings. Sung in multiple languages. The enclosed booklet with text is essential, even if you speak Japanese and English. The booklet is very well prepared and full of information regarding the music, text, artists, composer and themes.

Recording quality is very high and well balanced given the variety of sounds appearing on this recording.

Kudos to Gil Rose and BMOP Sound for recording and producing the CD. With this CD, they continue to fulfill their mission of presenting and capturing contemporary music.

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