Record companies, artists and publicists are invited to submit CDs to be considered for review. Send to: Jerry Bowles, Editor, Sequenza 21, 340 W. 57th Street, 12B, New York, NY 10019

Latest Posts

Ernst Pepping and Allan Pettersson: Moral Dilemmas in Symphonic Music
"The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and... "
Tell the Birds
Soundtrack to an Apocalypse
Feast Your Ears: New Music for Piano
Gone For Foreign
Fred Lerdahl: Time After Time
Nothing Sacred
Two From Wayne Horvitz
Two Fresh Cantaloupes

Record companies, artists and publicists are invited to submit CDs to be considered for our Editor's Pick's of the month. Send to: Jerry Bowles, Editor, Sequenza 21, 340 W. 57th Street, 12B, New York, NY 10019

Saturday, December 18, 2004 Saturday, December 25, 2004 Friday, December 31, 2004 Wednesday, January 05, 2005 Monday, January 10, 2005 Thursday, January 13, 2005 Thursday, January 20, 2005 Sunday, January 23, 2005 Monday, January 24, 2005 Saturday, January 29, 2005 Wednesday, February 02, 2005 Thursday, February 03, 2005 Monday, February 07, 2005 Tuesday, February 08, 2005 Friday, February 11, 2005 Monday, February 14, 2005 Wednesday, February 16, 2005 Tuesday, February 22, 2005 Monday, February 28, 2005 Sunday, March 06, 2005 Monday, March 07, 2005 Wednesday, March 09, 2005 Sunday, March 13, 2005 Friday, March 18, 2005 Monday, March 28, 2005 Saturday, April 02, 2005 Monday, April 11, 2005 Sunday, April 17, 2005 Tuesday, April 19, 2005 Monday, April 25, 2005 Monday, May 02, 2005 Monday, May 09, 2005 Tuesday, May 17, 2005 Tuesday, May 31, 2005 Monday, June 06, 2005 Thursday, June 16, 2005 Sunday, June 19, 2005 Sunday, July 10, 2005 Wednesday, July 13, 2005 Sunday, July 24, 2005 Friday, July 29, 2005 Monday, August 08, 2005 Monday, August 22, 2005 Wednesday, August 24, 2005 Friday, September 16, 2005 Sunday, September 25, 2005 Tuesday, October 04, 2005 Tuesday, October 18, 2005 Monday, October 24, 2005 Tuesday, November 01, 2005 Monday, November 07, 2005 Saturday, November 12, 2005 Wednesday, November 16, 2005 Tuesday, November 29, 2005 Friday, December 16, 2005 Monday, January 09, 2006 Thursday, January 12, 2006 Thursday, January 19, 2006 Tuesday, January 24, 2006 Thursday, February 02, 2006 Monday, February 13, 2006 Wednesday, February 15, 2006 Wednesday, March 01, 2006 Sunday, March 19, 2006 Sunday, March 26, 2006 Friday, March 31, 2006 Sunday, April 09, 2006 Monday, April 10, 2006 Thursday, April 20, 2006 Friday, April 21, 2006 Thursday, May 11, 2006 Thursday, May 18, 2006 Saturday, May 20, 2006 Friday, June 02, 2006 Tuesday, June 06, 2006 Friday, June 16, 2006 Monday, June 19, 2006 Sunday, June 25, 2006 Monday, June 26, 2006 Monday, July 10, 2006 Thursday, July 13, 2006 Thursday, July 20, 2006 Friday, July 21, 2006 Sunday, July 23, 2006 Thursday, August 03, 2006 Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Powered by Blogger

Sunday, April 17, 2005
Bang on a Can All-Stars, Bang on a Can Meets Kyaw Kyaw Naing
Bang on a Can Meets Kyaw Kyaw Naing popped up from the pile I’ve been given to review accompanied by a dilemma. My journalistic integrity in the case of this disc is a bit compromised as I’ve been helping out at Bang on a Can/Cantaloupe Music for the past several months. At first I was hesitant to write, but eventually I decided that I didn’t want a worthy CD to go unreviewed just because of my affiliation with its producers. While I suppose I could’ve attached a disclaimer to a standard review, I wanted to find some way of restoring some objectivity. After a little deliberation, I hit upon a solution. I decided to play the CD for the students in a composition seminar I’m taking at Columbia.

Before we get to their responses though, a little background on the CD is in order. As the title suggests, the disc unties the Bang on a Can All-Stars with Kyaw Kyaw Naing. Naing is a composer and a virtuoso of the Burmese pat waing, which describes as “a traditional instrument made of 21 separately tuned drums… [that] surround the player completely, and are played melodically at lightning fast speed.” The bulk of the nine compositions on the disc come from Naing, and two feature just the pat waing and the si wa, paired Burmese cymbals and clappers. On the other seven pieces, an expanded All-Stars lineup adds bass, percussion, piano, keyboard, violin, guitar, cello, and clarinet to Naing’s drumming.

Unfortunately for the direction of my review, my classmates didn’t share my opinion of the music. Perhaps the most positive response came from the TA of the class who described being “simultaneously attracted to it and repulsed by it.” After I remarked that I though it at least deserved praise as a pleasant listen, one student asked, “What’s pleasant about it?” The general reactions of the rest of the class fell somewhere between these two comments.

Though my classmates’ objections to the CD were perfectly valid, my composition seminar, in retrospect, was not the ideal environment for an evaluation of Naing and the All-Stars. First, time constraints prevented us from hearing the entire CD. Second, the disc is much closer to world music than to the more academic, avant-garde works that we discuss in the seminar. In comparison to those pieces, Bang on a Can Meets Kyaw Kyaw Naing might well seem trite, but the disc isn’t meant to be compared with them.

Evaluated on its own terms, Bang on a Can Meets Kyaw Kyaw Naing is full of joyous, energetic music that’s often quite beautiful. The tracks featuring the All-Stars heighten the melodic aspects of Naing’s playing and writing and avoid the ‘fusion-y’ sound of albums similar in concept, even on the improvised track. In addition, Naing’s two (nearly) solo excursions are highlights for me. Both are full of excitement and reveal both the pat waing and Naing’s music to be tremendously expressive.


Search WWWSearch