Eyvind Kang – The Narrow Garden

Journalist Name: Asche
Artist: Eyvind Kang (USA)
Title: The Narrow Garden
Label:  Ipecac
Cat. #  IPC 132
Format: CD, Album
Genre:  Classical/Folk/World & Country/Stage & Screen

01  Forest Sama’i
02  Pure Nothing
03  Usnea
04 Mineralia
05  The Narrow Garden
06  Nobis Natalis
07 Invisus Natalis

“Now THIS is a composer!” said I as the first track unfolded magically before me.  Dragging on a clove cigarette under the stars as the winding path that is “Forest Sama’i” lay stretching before me in effortless poetry, I could almost imagine myself in the far-flung ancient Empire of Persia.  The structure is one of reachable grace and cold reality.  Only the latest in a huge discography (15 and counting) that dates  back to 1995, this album both grasps familiar feeling, while yet crushing initial expectations.  Stark beauty abounds…each song written with deeper purpose and finality.  Each dream fully explored and realized, the sense of completeness and purpose is clearly stated.

The use of multiple, talented ensemble musicians is both effective and three dimensional.  Though this is fairly minimalistic throughout, each piece plays it’s part wonderfully.  No fewer than 27 musicians make up the final ensemble.  It is important to note that this entire work was composed and directed by Eyvind Kang, and is recorded as a live series of movements.  Though recorded in 2007, it has only recently been released in early 2012.

I think the most surprising and endearing element about this work is the incredible variety to be found throughout.  Fitting together well as a whole, each track moves it’s pieces differently, presenting a refreshing walk into beauty and art.  Soaring when flight is needed, subtle when hidden truth makes known it’s silence.  No one track overreaches another, as all play within the bounds of their natural creation.  A perfect example of this is the track “Invisus Natalis”.  Slow and subtle in it’s inception, the plaintive reeds call for their partner.  The percussion responds in kind, and the dance begins.  as more instruments join, the result is a very natural, ancient sound…echoing one upon the other as the Sun’s descent flames the western sky.  This is truly the essence of this album.  It breathes, it lives within itself within the orb that the ensemble has so expertly created.

Truly, my only real complaint with this album is the length.  At only 37:55, I feel it’s a bit short.  However, taking into account the fact that it IS a live recording, I must state that this is a personal opinion, and in no way takes away from the album, musically, as a whole.

This work is best enjoyed when the listener has no distractions, and I found the most evocative journeys were had with this after the sun had set.  This, to me, is evening music, best enjoyed in solitude or with your significant other.  As I make my way back through the previously released albums, it occurs to me that this seems to be the composer’s most ethereal release to date. I would go as far as to say that this work, experimental as it may be, still seems to embody the artist’s “final realization” of these works….built as they are with the talented and wonderful ensemble.  Recommended very highly for fans of Arcana, Dead Can Dance, Enigma, Sopor Aeturnus, Loell Duinn, etc.

Rating: 5/5

Tags: , ,

Categories: Classical, Ethnic/World, Folk, MUSIC REVIEWS

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