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A Tree in your Ear

Logging on, with BASIL RAMSEY

Musicians Showcase    MS1014

Record Box


If surrealism might steal into your thoughts from the title alone, you are in the right zone, although nothing here is clear cut. I am intrigued by the concept, of which a bit more listening and thinking serves to configure the plan. This is 'celebration' from diverse musical sources: natural sounds, musical sounds - pure and electronic - and some of it subject to stages of distortion, although not suffering the extremes that turn some of these phantasies into nightmares, as much for listeners as performers.

A Tree In Your Ear. Copyright (c) 1999 Musicians ShowcaseFor a single CD the range of sounds as much as the treatment by six composers in 'landscapes' is vast. Nothing is obvious, either in material or treatment. The composers between them cover much of the disparate territory that today’s armoury of possibilities can yield in ideas and techniques to shape them. They include Alan Hovhaness, who died recently, Phillip Kent Bimstein, William Grant Still, Virko Baley, Mark Phillips, and the jazz composer, Yusef Lateef.

Foremost in this striking project is Stephen Caplan, a highly gifted oboist, who has masterminded it all and surmounts the playing challenge with apparent ease. He sums up the purpose and the implicit challenge to listeners: 'Composers use their eyes for hearing. Listen to their music and begin to see with your ears' [Listen - track 1, 7:27-8:17].


Copyright © 5 July 2000 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK





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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Wednesday series of shorter CD reviews