Thursday, August 14, 2008

nico muhly: mothertongue

Mothertongue, Nico Muhly’s second full-length, features three fascinating pieces that are broken into multiple movements. The first movement in the opening/titled piece is a string of broken Meredith Monk-like voices uttering random numbers over minimal instrumentation. This vocal style continues through the second movement. As the voices create this illusion of pedestrians exchanging dialogues in a busy street, there is a sense of lost that carries through to the third movement. The final movement is painted by thundering distorted noises and xylophone raindrops while frantic and uneasy emotions continue through the recurring voices whispering random numbers.

Although it is accompany by the beautiful and cheerful sounding harpsichord in the first two movements, "Wonders" is mostly overcast by the sad horn theme and gloomy vocals. Overall, the second piece has a Scott Walker’s The Drift feel as it projects a very dark and rather crappy atmosphere.

"The Only Tune" consists of three fantastic movements that blend Muhly’s minimalist style with tradition folk music. Revolving around the theme of a girl who murders her sister in the river, Muhly uses beautiful melodies and Sam Amidon’s delicately gorgeous voice to contrast the horrifyingly violent lyrics. The complexity of Mothertongue is undesirable; it is multi-dimensional, genre bending, and beyond brilliant.

Mothertongue: IV. Monster [super-wicked-cool song]
Wonders II. The Devil Appeared in the Shape of a Man [wicked-cool song]
The Only Tune: I. The Two Sisters [super-wicked-cool song]
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Visit Nico Muhly’s MySpace here
Buy Mothertongue here

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