Thursday, February 17, 2011

MUSIC FROM AN IMAGINARY ISLAND pt. 2: "The Stolen Stars"

Music For Maniacs proudly co-present with the North American Embassy of Anaphoria Island a second spellbinding, uniquely exotic album from microtonal composer Kraig Grady.

"The Stolen Star
s: An Anaphorian Dance Drama" is an altogether different beast from the "Music From The Island of Anaphoria" album we presented here a couple of weeks back. "Music From The Island" was a variety show, every track a new direction. But "The Stolen Stars," tho it's divided into different tracks, is all of a piece. The music, designed to accompany a puppet shadow play dramatizing ancient Anaphorian myths, begins with "The Bees Awaken" - the thick string drones do indeed resemble buzzing insects. Gradually these give way to vibraphone-like metallophones until finally the strings fades out and gently chiming gamelan-like percussion melodies take over. The microtonal scales (no 'do-re-mi' here, folks) performed by a crew ten people strong create shimmering resonances that trick the ear into hearing notes not played. I took pics of the liner notes (included in the zip file) that describe the myth.

Kraig Grady "The Stolen Stars: An Anaphorian Dance Drama"

Grady's latest album "Beyond The Windows Perhaps Among The Podcorn" is an original piece not utilizing any of the musics of the mysterious island of Anaphoria, but it certainly is inspired by them. The 6-person group, now including sax, cello, trumpet, bassoon, and the wordless vocals of popular L.A. singer Mia Doi Todd is even more drone-laden, like Eno's "Music For Airports" minus any interruptions, stretched out to induce a remarkably hypnotic state - a veritable audio yoga class. I'm not posting it, tho - it's one of the few Grady releases still in print, so buy it HERE.

But - hey, cheapskates! - some new free Grady action is now available. Whirlpool, the duo of Grady and Chris Abrahams (of The Necks), recently performed an outstanding radio concert for micro-tuned harmonium and vibes that you can listen to if you scroll down HERE to Feb. 12, 2011. It's another lengthy piece, but I was never less than completely captivated by it.