Album reviews

What an innovative quartet ‘Kronos’ is. I have been absolutely riveted to some of the recordings that they have made and played them over and over again.

They went through one period where they made ‘crossover’ recordings – linking the old format of string quartet combined with ‘modernism’ in other areas such as Jazz and electronics.

The result in some cases is absolutely stunning and inventive.

If you don’t like modern, clashing sounds, then perhaps this isn’t for you and needs to be sampled first. I can fully accept this stuff as music but the emotion contained inside it is just amazing.

The first recording I found was Uniko

An amazing accordion player, who mixes traditional accordion with electronics and samples in order to produce some new sounds. This album is so interesting in the rhythms and textures that the 5 of them produce. Absolutely stunning.

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The second Kronos quartet album I found was, The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind. Isaac was alive way back … 1160 or somewhere around there into the 1200’s. Some kind of concept about being blind but ‘all seeing’, I think.

This is just a fun piece of music again, with a lot of ‘emotion’ behind it. There is a heavy Jewish theme going throughout and the clarinetist produces some amazing sounds. He also swaps to bass clarinet with the quartet backing him, often playing these ‘Jewish’ swoops and using a ‘Jewish’ kind of vibrato. (Very wide and quite slow)

What I really enjoyed with it was the way that the music was sounding really broody at some points and then slowly wound up launching into a Jewish ‘dance’ type of music. Really exuberant too.

There is also a kind of ancient mysticism contained within it.

It’s such an enjoyable listen as long as you are open minded and can take sometimes quite strident sounds.

For me, listening to something completely different and unusual is really lifting. It’s a very ‘honest’ and heartfelt kind of music that isn’t tarted up for people to sit there and say, what a lovely sound. There’s a rawness there that you have to have real conviction in what you are doing in order to actually publish it!!

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