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    Keeril Makan – Afterglow

    Keeril Makan - Afterglow

    Following up his excellent Target CD from 2011, the young avant-garde classical composer Keeril Makan (born 1972) returns with a smorgasbord of works spanning the years 2006-2010 that were at least partially derived from his dealings with depression. The meal begins with a Caesar’s salad known as “Mercury Songbirds,” a subtly wheezing, minimal / maximal time-stopper chock-full of droning alto flutes, cellos and violins peppered with occasional piping flutes and piano outbursts with lyrical Bacon Bits sprinkled on top courtesy of clarinet, plus some cool piano knocks. It’s quite strange the way this track combines dissonance and consonance in such an odd, unsettling way. The title was inspired by the increasing level of mercury found in Hudson Valley songbirds. You know that startled feeling you get when someone wearing a fright wig unexpectedly jumps out from behind a corner and screams at you? That’s what the beginning of “Husk” sounds like. And to think it was produced by a simple, dissonant harp strum and flute cry. Then, suddenly, amid a sustained web of tense oboe drones, the piece gets all Psycho shower scene on you as it continues to occasionally stab your ears with fabulous bursts of atonality.

    In the title track, which was composed for solo piano, “the sympathetic vibrations of the unplayed strings” are allowed to ring out as sparse tinkles and dense clusters alike engage in a somber affair with your feelin’s. Moving on to “Becoming Unknown,” it’s worth noting that the philosophy behind this track serves as the modus operandi of the very web site you’re currently visiting, as the path forward “is not a negative process, because each step forward either dissolves or embraces the dissonance of the past. A sense of peace with the unknown enables the listener to become receptive to, rather than blocking out, the unexpected or unusual.” In this track, a bed of sustained double bass tones support homely melodies from flute, bass flute, clarinet, bass clarinet and trumpet. “Mu” presents some fantastic, shrill, scrape-and-trill on a violin prepared with paper clips with a few micro-plucks thrown in for good pleasure. The album culminates with the aberrant “After Forgetting” for clarinet, piano, percussion, violin and cello, in which the composer eschews dissonance in favor of a “gentle, open approach to his search for musical beauty.” Starting out pleasant enough with a slew of sentimental melodies and almost pop-like time keeping, it goes on to display enough pomp and circumstance for a rock opera. Despite the pleasantries afforded the listener during the closing track, Afterglow should appeal to fans of such avant-garde icons as Edgard Varese and Iannis Xenakis, two of the composer’s main forebears.

    Label: Mode Catalog Number: mode 257 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel Case Tracks: 6 Total Time: 60:25 Country: United States Released: 2013 More: MIT, New York Times, Official, Other Minds, SoundCloud, Twitter

    Text ©2014 Arcane Candy

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