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ARTIST
TITLE
Absolute Bird
FORMAT
2CD

LABEL
CATALOG #
RER HT1 RER HT1
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
9/8/2017

"This is an extraordinary and important work, breathtaking in its apparent simplicity but raised on a lifetime of study, thought and contrariness. All 41 tracks are, in one way or another, built around transcriptions or recordings of the Australian pied butcherbird -- mining every possible variation. Each composition pairs a bird, or other environmental sounds, with one or several instruments: standard, soprano, bass and contrabass recorders, violin, vibraphone, bassoon, viola, flute, cello, bass clarinet, vocal ensemble, bass or string quartet -- all seamlessly linked together. As with Berio's cadenzas, virtuosic and extended techniques are standard, and long stretches of each CD side are programmed for continuous and highly contrasted listening. The featured soloists are all recognized virtuosi. This is an important release because although it's clearly music, and clearly composed, it's also birdsong -- and we're not sure, culturally, whether we think that's music or not. Then there are the categorically non-musical sounds that play a central and continuous role. It's a CD that will attract attention in experimental and contemporary circles precisely because it puts these elements together in a new and provocative way. There's a story here. The recording quality is excellent, the performers, human and otherwise, virtuosic (without making a fuss about it) and the sweep quietly vast. Both CDs come in the inner covers of a very strong and substantial hard-cover book containing 48 full-colour pages of notes, reflections, explanations and photographs."