<< -- 3 -- Howard Smith MESMERIZING STUFF
Typically Balanescu sets out with hypnotic minimalist-style rhythmic figurations (e g 'Empty Space Dance'
[listen -- track 3, 1:58-2:59])
and bittersweet melodic strings (e g 'The Young Conscript and the Moon'
[listen -- track 2, 0:00-1:22]);
eventually breaking into captivating Balkan idioms (e g 'Turning Wheels'). On four of these tracks Tanase's recorded folk lyrics convey a palpable aura of timelessness. My response to Balanescu's opening 'Spotdance' remains divided, yet the remainder of this 78-minute offering resonates with beguiling, often mystic moods -- alternately ethereal, joyful, and ardent.
In Balanescu's own words -- 'I use Maria Tanase's actual vocals, combined with live material; for the idea that we can meet somehow with the help of new technology -- is really exciting
[listen -- track 10, 5:12-6:24].
The core of her art is the fatalistic Romanian folk philosophy (e g "Life and Death"), with its central idea of the transience of existence. Ultimately she passed on a message about the transcendence of daily suffering by ordinary people.'
Mesmerizing stuff -- exquisitely accomplished.
NB : I refolded the CD notes to replace Mute's ghoulish front cover.