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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Ken Walicki, Cyberistan, Electro-Acoustic Music

Every day I try and turn words into music on these pages. Modern music does not become words, exactly. It has a parallel and the words point more than emulate. So there are words this morning for a new wrinkle on New Music, a Modern take on Electro-Acoustics, namely Ken Walicki and his CD Cyberistan (Ravello RR7974).

Five works grace the program. Each concentrates on an acoustic instrument or set of instruments. Each centers the instrumental sound in a carpet of electro-acoustic sounds directly related to the instrumental situation or in complement to it.

So we hear Tom Peters' double bass as a foundational launching pad on "Light," Virginia Costa Figueiredo's clarinet and Fureya Unal's piano on "Black Water," Rachel Mellis's flute on "Sabah," Fureya Unal's piano on "Cyberistan," and the Eclipse Quartet on "nada Brahma."

The title Cyberistan is telling. Walicki makes a kind of transformed World Music with elements of Jazz, New Music and an acute sense of purposefulness. There may be no tighter a bond of live instruments and electro-acoustics than what we hear here. All exists seemingly by design and direction more so than chance. That saying it is nonetheless often spontaneous sounding

Walecki is another exemplar of the Modern as tonal, spacious and vaguely non-Western. There is lift, expressive drift, parts working together as an organic whole. Yet one does not want to leave the "another" hanging. Because there is nothing merely sequential, no simple "this follows the before" patness.

The send-off of "nada Brahma" leaves us with a certainty that such sounds are rare and affirming. What is the Modern today? This is one excellent answer. Hear it.

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