Apr 26, 2015

Sundaze 1517

Hello, ok so Sundaze isn't just easy listening as the coming weeks will show, when it's all about the voice....

Today's scene is set for an American composer, performer, director, vocalist, filmmaker, and choreographer. Since the 1960s, she has created multi-disciplinary works which combine music, theatre, and dance, recording extensively for ECM Records.... N'joy

xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

Meredith Monk (b. November 20, 1942, New York, NY) is a composer, singer, director/choreographer and creator of new opera, music-theater works, films and installations. A pioneer in what is now called "extended vocal technique" and "interdisciplinary performance," Monk creates works that thrive at the intersection of music and movement, image and object, light and sound in an effort to discover and weave together new modes of perception. Her groundbreaking exploration of the voice as an instrument, as an eloquent language in and of itself, expands the boundaries of musical composition, creating landscapes of sound that unearth feelings, energies, and memories for which there are no words. Over the last fifty years, she has been hailed as "a magician of the voice" and "one of America’s coolest composers". Celebrated internationally, Monk’s work has been presented by BAM, Lincoln Center Festival, Houston Grand Opera, London’s Barbican Centre, and at major venues in countries from Brazil to Syria. Among her many accolades, she was recently named an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Republic of France, and the 2012 Composer of the Year by Musical America. Monk is also one of NPR’s 50 Great Voices, and has received a 2012 Doris Duke Artist Award and a 2011 Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts.

In 1968 Ms. Monk founded The House, a company dedicated to an interdisciplinary approach to performance. In 1978 she founded Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble to expand her musical textures and forms. As a pioneer in site-specific performance, she has created such works as Juice: A Theatre Cantata In 3 Installments (1969) and Ascension Variations (2009) for the Guggenheim Museum, and American Archeology #1: Roosevelt Island (1994). Monk’s award-winning films, including Ellis Island (1981) and her first feature, Book of Days (1988), have been seen throughout the world. Her music can also be heard in films by such directors as Jean-Luc Godard and the Coen Brothers, and in the recent HBO series, True Detective. In addition to her numerous vocal pieces, music-theater works and operas, Monk has created vital new repertoire for orchestra, chamber ensembles, and solo instruments, with commissions from Michael Tilson Thomas/San Francisco Symphony and New World Symphony, Kronos Quartet, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Master Chorale, among others.

Since graduating Sarah Lawrence College in 1964, Monk has received numerous honors including the prestigious MacArthur "Genius" Award, two Guggenheim Fellowships, three "Obies" (including an award for Sustained Achievement), and two "Bessie" awards for Sustained Creative Achievement. She holds honorary Doctor of Arts degrees from Bard College, the University of the Arts, The Juilliard School, the San Francisco Art Institute and the Boston Conservatory. Monk has made more than a dozen recordings, most of which are on the ECM New Series label, including the 2008 Grammy-nominated impermanence and the highly acclaimed Songs of Ascension. She has also been working with the publisher Boosey & Hawkes since 2001.

In October 1999 Monk performed A Vocal Offering for His Holiness, the Dalai Lama as part of the World Festival of Sacred Music in Los Angeles. Her 40th year of performing and creating new music was celebrated in 2005 by a four-hour marathon at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, with additional performances throughout New York City. In February 2012 she was honored with a remix and interpretations cd, MONK MIX, featuring 25 artists from the jazz, pop, dj and new music worlds. In March 2012, she premiered Realm Variations for six voices and small ensemble, commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony, and performed in John Cage’s Song Books as part of the Symphony’s American Mavericks Festival. Monk’s newest music-theater piece, On Behalf of Nature, premiered in January 2013 at UCLA and is currently touring internationally. This fall, Meredith Monk will mark her 50th season as a creator and performer. Recognized as one of the most unique and influential artists of her generation, she has been appointed the 2014-2015 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall.

xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

Meredith Monk’s third album marks a massive leap forward in terms of quality and creates a sanctuary where her eccentric vocalism becomes harmonious and impressive enough to be approachable in a less unconventional sense. Our introduction comes in the form of an appropriately named track called Lullaby. Completely unobscured by instrumentation or eccentric vocal play, this is the first time we hear Monk’s voice in serene and captivating solitude to fully realize its beauty.

The subsequent tracks bring back the underlying theatricality of Monk’s debut album; her morose, desperate laments are re-invented with a more pleasing and emotionally effective result. Although these songs seem obviously centered around characters and narratives conjured by their creator, the lack of words allows the listener to interpret Monk’s imagined language in any way deemed appropriate based on the moods and emotions conveyed. For the first time the universal and timeless quality of her work is revealed in its entirety; a person from any era and any country could listen to her singing and draw his own conclusions hindered by neither time nor geography, which is doubtlessly the most persuasive appeal of her creativity.

Another exposed virtue in Monk’s artistry is the sheer diversity that found its way into the record. The theatrical songs are followed by the charming and playful Wa-Lie-Oh which in turn is replaced by a track where the repeated sounds of an insect are mimicked thoroughly. Imitations of nature return later on in Prarie Ghost which is preceded by one of the few tracks featuring an instrument besides the human voice: Jew’s harp.

Everything fades in comparison, however, to the massive and almost overwhelming finale. Tablet begins in a disorientating and bizarre attack on your eardrums before soothing piano-play conquers the scene. Eventually Monk’s trademark wailing enters the mix, albeit more composed and subdued than usual. Her voice expands and retracts between different sounds whilst a sporadic flute adds to the unusually prominent instrumentation. The pattern remains more or less unchanged until Monk’s voice is abandoned by all accompaniments and left to reign in complete solitude. Once the piano returns Monk is joined by a set of other voices that harmonize in unity, respond to each other and evolve back and forth from enhancing one another to desperately competing for attention. Monk’s enigmatic language, her theatrical way of conjuring images as well as emotions and the full capacity and range of her vocalism; all of the admirable traits that originally made her a force to be reckoned with are fully captured and perfectly accentuated throughout this beautiful and choral masterpiece.

Meredith Monk - Songs From The Hill/Tablet (flac 193mb)

Songs From The Hill
01 Lullaby 1:39
02 Mesa 2:05
03 Jade (Old Woman's Song) 2:25
04 Wa-lie-oh 3:45
05 Insect 1:51
06 Descending 1:45
07 Silo 2:13
08 Bird Code 1:49
09 Jew's Harp 2:26
10 Prairie Ghost 5:36
11 Tablet 23:05

xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

Meredith Monk has such a wonderful and unique vocal style that she is able to sing in complete abstraction (no known words or language for much of the album) yet maintain a very emotional and even sentimental quality in these abstractions, at times. Listeners who can get past just how unique and abstract her approach is will find immense joy and sadness deep within her pieces. On Dolmen Music, Monk wavers from being sad to the point of being quite morose (such as the tracks "Gotham Lullaby" and "The Tale") to being happy to the point of hysteria (as on "Traveling" and "Biography") without skipping a beat. Most of the musical accompaniment is minimalist (mainly piano with occasional, sparse percussion, guest vocalists also being prominent on the final six-part track "Dolmen Music"). This minimalist support only furthers Monk's vast vocal language as the prominent focus in the recordings. Listeners will also be very pleased to find that her wonderful voice is not crowded or overshadowed. A true original, Monk's work should be sought by anyone with an interest in vocal exploration.

Meredith Monk - Dolmen Music  (ogg 224mb)

01 Gotham Lullaby 4:15
02 Travelling 6:15
03 The Tale 2:47
04 Biography 9:24
05  Dolmen Music 23:39
5a Overture And Men's Conclave
5b Wa-Ohs
5c Rain
5d One Tree Lullaby
5e Calls
5f Conclusion

xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

A daring display of vocal gymnastics and a journey back to childhood when all sounds were wondrous, Turtle Dreams includes the title track composition for four voices (two men, two women) and four organs as well as shorter pieces featuring various combinations of voice, Casio, piano, miniMoog, and didgeridoo. Monk's work raises smiles as well as the hair on the back of the neck. Here she seems tapped into some primordial force -- humming, babbling, chattering, all set to looping, funereal organ works of chromatic simplicity. Mesmerizing yet never mechanical, the side-long "Turtle Dreams" and "View 1" derive their pleasures from the infinite sounds of the human voice. The entire album accompanied a multimedia work where Monk and three other singer/dancers were intercut with shots of a turtle walking over various terrains (including miniature cities, looking like a monster movie). Comforting thoughts during any listen.

Monk Meredith - Turtle Dreams  (flac  159mb)

01 Turtle Dreams (Waltz) 17:52
02 View 1 10:13
03 Engine Steps 2:03
04 Ester's Song 1:14
05 View 2 6:02

xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

This release features song excerpts from various long-form theater pieces, the first four coming from Meredith Monk's theater piece Acts From Under and Above, and these are the most jarring on the record. "Scared Song" features English lyrics, minimal accompaniment, and Monk singing harsh, abrasive "scared" sounds. Very unsettling -- and perhaps that is the intention. "Do You Be," a selection from her opera Vessel, features Monk solo on piano and voice with a shrill, piercing wail. Very satisfying. Additional selections from Vessel appear on Monk's 1992 recording Facing North. With one exception, the remaining tracks come from a Monk/Ping Chong science fiction epic opera called The Games, and these more diverse, more exploratory pieces really make the collection work as a recording. A casual listener unfamiliar with the theater pieces may well be put off by the abrasiveness of the first four tracks, which may unfortunately be enough to deter them from the remainder of the recording. But beyond some questionable programming choices, fans of her work will be delighted to see her continuing development as a recording artist.

Meredith Monk - Do You Be  (flac  176mb)

01 Scared Song 6:04
02 I Don't Know 3:31
03 Window In 7's 2:12
04 Double Fiesta 5:21
05 Do You Be 4:02
06 Panda Chant I 1:56
07 Memory Song 6:40
08 Panda Chant II 1:35
09 Quarry Lullaby 2:00
10 Shadow Song 1:57
11 Astronaut Anthem 4:56
12 Wheel 3:40

xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx


Anonymous said...

songs links do not work

Anonymous said...

Same here. "Songs..." Flac mirror doesn't work. The sendspace link doesn't load, Netload leads me to their 'terms and conditions' page and I tried to figure out free.dl using different browsers with adblockers off and failed.

The Dollmen upload works though, thanks for posting.

Discovered your blog two months or three ago and keep finding some great music going through your older posts. Excellent blog.

Rho said...

Hello, Ok so i re-upped Songs elsewhere N'Joy

Anonymous said...

Hi Rho

Could you please re-up the Meredith Monk albums?

Thank you

Anonymous said...

hi Rho "Meredith Monk - Dolmen Music" file not found - maybe you could try that one again, thanks.

Rho said...

Hello Anon, A month after a re-up that shouldn't be Dolmen is back up now N-Joy

Anonymous said...

many thanks Rho! N-joy I will :)