Sunday, 9 August 2009


I've been listening to the Kronos Quartet's latest album, Floodplain, a great deal of late. It's a nice concept - music taken from the floodplains of the world, because in the floodplains are the roots of civilisation - and particularly interesting because it blends the music of various other cultures into the framework of western classical music. The piece above, 'Oh Mother, The Handsome Man Tortures Me', is one of my favourites, unafraid to bring in electronic percussion to augment the performance (no surprise from a quartet I know best for playing Stockhausen.) Similarly, the collaboration with Palestinian collective Ramallah Underground on 'Tashweesh' ('Interference') is a genuinely interesting collaboration by artists from profoundly different traditions. But the quartet come into their own with the virtuoso playing on the Raga and, particularly, the twenty minute 'Hold me, Neighbor, In This Storm', which conjures all the tension and catharsis and terror of the storm - it's worth taking the time to genuinely listen to, rather than letting it slip off as background music. Very highly recommended.

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