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Iyer, Vijay: Mutations

Pianist/composer Vijay Iyer has many albums to his credit. His latest titled Mutations is his first under the ECM umbrella as a band leader. Joining Iyer (piano, electronics) are Mircanda Cuckson (violin), Michi Wiancko (violin), Kyle Armbrust (viola) and Kivie Cahn-Lipman (violoncello).

The album kicks off with the solo piano piece "Spellbound and Sacrosanct, Cowrie and the Shimmering Sea" inundated with haunting piano with just enough snippets of melody to reel me in. "Vuln, Part 2" begins with fluttering electronic sounds that quickly morph into a long droning soundscape. A beat slowly pulses before deep piano chords instill an ominous feel. This is a very minimalist piece with nice contrast between subtle electronics and acoustic piano. The main part of the disc is the ten part "Mutations" suite where the band's chamber assertions take hold. I did find the music quite difficult at times as the often chaotic string rhythms and improvisational segments veer in too many different directions, at least for my liking. That is not to say it's bad, just not suited for my particular tastes. In some of the pieces the music gets quite intense which serves to further heighten the drama.

If you are into experimental jazz with a strong leaning towards chamber music Mutations may be right up your alley. For me, this is not something I will play often as I found the "Mutation" suite a little hard to digest upon repeated listens. I will say the recording quality and musicianship is there in spades which is not surprising given ECM's solid reputation.


Track Listing:
1. Spellbound and Sacrosanct, Cowrie and the Shimmering Sea
2. Vuln, Part 2
3. Mutations I: Air
4. Mutations II: Rise
5. Mutations III: Canon
6. Mutations IV: Chain
7. Mutations V: Automata
8. Mutations VI: Waves
9. Mutations VII: Clade
10. Mutations VIII: Clade
11. Mutations IX: Descent
12. Mutations X: Time
13. When We're Gone

Added: March 3rd 2014
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: label's Official Site
Hits: 1525
Language: english

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