Nico Muhly: Mothertongue Pt. 1: Archive


Mothertongue Pt. 1: Archive


Nico Muhly (keyboards)


Mothertongue (Bedroom Community HWY 018)

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Nico Muhly (keyboards),

Abigail Fischer (vocals), Matthias Nardeau (oboe), Monika Abendroth (harp), Una Sveinbjarnardottir, Zbigniew Dubik, Adrews Kleina (violins), Borarinn Mar Baldursson (viola), Valgeir Sigurosson (electric bass)


Composed by Nico Muhly


Recorded: New York and Reykjavik, Iceland


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

OK, let's get this out of the way: this piece is not jazz. It doesn't pretend to be. I chose it because it had the same effect on my ears that many great jazz compositions have had: I sat up and thought, "Why, what the hell is that?!"

Composer/pianist Nico Muhly, who has worked with both Bjork and Philip Glass, takes language and the human voice and turns them into something...else. Sung by mezzo-soprano Abigail Fisher, words fly by at the speed of light. Vaguely reminiscent of the Glass compositions Einstein on the Beach and Music with Changing Parts, "Mothertongue" employs simple language fragments (including the alphabet and spoken street addresses) as source material around which Muhly wraps orchestration, gorgeous harp, and layers of deeply buzzing synthesizer. The effect is otherworldly yet somehow drenched with emotion.

Reviewer: Mark Saleski

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