Saturday, June 28, 2008

Nico Muhly -- Mothertongue

I'm sure I'll have much more to say about this amazing album, but for now I'm content to quote from the press release:

"Wonders," a track on "Mothertongue," includes the ethereal voice of Helgi Hrafn Jonsson, an Icelandic performer, singing fragments in English from "The Travels of Sir John Mandeville," a sonnet about sea monsters, composed by King James I; and a 1619 complaint against Thomas Weelkes, the composer and organist at Chichester Cathedral, for his repeated drunkenness. "The Only Tune," also on "Mothertongue," is another Muhly collage -- a dismantled traditional English song about a violent sororicide, delivered with affecting flatness by an American folk singer named Sam Amidon, to the accompaniment, variously, of a sampled Farfisa organ similar to that used by Philip Glass in "Music in Twelve Parts," a pair of butcher's knives scraping against each other, a recording of whistling Icelandic wind, and the sound of raw whale flesh slopping around a bowl."

It's hard to pass up a good sampling reference to raw whale flesh slopping around in a bowl. Eat your heart out, Jay-Z.

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