Maria Neckam & Mika Pohjola: Wenn es dunkel wird


Wenn es dunkel wird


Maria Neckam (vocals) and Mika Pohjola (piano)


Das Wörterbuch (, digital download)

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Maria Neckam (vocals), Mika Pohjola (piano).

Composed by Maria Neckam


Recorded: New York, 2009


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

It is perhaps appropriate that this stark, minimalist endeavor hovering somewhere in the musical ether among third stream, fusion and impressionism, would reside exclusively in cyberspace. Das Wörterbuch, a collaboration between Austrian expatriate singer-composer Maria Neckam and acclaimed Finnish pianist Mika Pohjola, is available only in digital download format- a growing trend which makes musical experimentation more economically feasible but is still somewhat in the awkward “early adapter” stage.

Maria Neckam has never played it safe, especially with her writing and her vocal interpretations, but with Das Wörterbuch this New York-based artist is really flying without a net. She has found the perfect improvisational partner in Pohjola, whose earlier piano-vocalist duo outings included Sophie Duner, Lina Nyberg and Jill Walsh. With fearless abandon, Neckam and Pohjola roam freely through a series of spontaneous, contemplative modal sketches, occasionally coloring completely outside the lines. Not for the uninitiated, but definitely worth a listen.

Neckam’s composition, “Wenn es dunkel wird” (roughly translated, “When it gets dark”) is compelling, taking the listener across a mind-field of introspective rumination. With a bit more structure than some of the other tracks on this release, it is a reasonable jumping-off point for those who are just sticking their big toes into the chilly waters of the avant-garde; to an open mind already swimming in its currents, the Weillian imagery of this piece opens into a dreamy, existential garden shrouded in the encroaching fog of twilight.

Reviewer: Bill Barnes

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