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Kali Malone: All Life Lengthy Album Evaluation

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All Life Lengthy is just not all pipe organs. The album rotates by way of organ, choir, and brass ensemble. The works for voice recommend the Sixteenth-century polyphony of Palestrina. “Passage By way of the Spheres,” opens with one singer panned all the best way to the best; shortly after one other singer enters from the left. The voices alternately replicate, presage, and full one another’s traces. The exaggerated stereo separation indicators Malone’s camaraderie with Janet Cardiff’s landmark sound-art set up that includes the music of Renaissance composer Thomas Tallis, 40 Half Motet, which makes use of particular person, freestanding audio system for every of its titular vocal traces, permitting the listener to stroll amongst what’s, in impact, a choir of ghosts.

Whereas Malone has employed horns up to now, as on 2018’s Forged of Thoughts and 2022’s Dwelling Torch, that was in service of drones—chamber devices as synthesizer modules, in a fashion of talking. On All Life Lengthy, she is actually writing for brass ensemble, yielding a regal high quality: much less goth, extra Solar King (minus the filigree of the Baroque period). Particularly, elegant horns on tracks like “Retrograde Cannon” and “Formation Flight” echo the dignified preparations of David Byrne’s The Knee Performs, music the Speaking Heads cofounder composed for Robert Wilson’s opera the CIVIL warS. In Malone’s and Byrne’s items alike, you may hear fashionable sensibilities merging with antiquated strategies.

Malone does inquisitive listeners a favor by repeating two works in numerous kinds. The title piece, first performed on organ, seems towards the top of All Life Lengthy in a voice setting that appears faster, much less ethereal. The second model additionally reveals the supply of the album’s title, a mournful poem, “The Crying Water,” by Twentieth-century Welsh literary determine Arthur Symons. “No Solar to Burn” is carried out first by brass, with enthralling excessive factors, after which in a while organ, extra delicate and tenuous.

Malone is amongst a cadre of Twenty first-century musicians respiration new life into organs. Others embody Olivia Block, Robert Curgenven, Sarah Davachi, Lawrence English, FUJI​|​|​|​|​|​||​|​|​|​|​TA, and Claire M Singer. They accomplish that coincident with the continued deconsecration of many church buildings. Malone has acknowledged this stress in items like “Sacer Profanare,” from 2019’s The Sacrificial Code. It’s a dangerous endeavor; have been her music not so shifting, it would invite accusations of purloined gravitas. The addition of vocal polyphony on All Life Lengthy intensifies Malone’s engagement with such liturgical themes, and he or she nudges the matter additional together with her textual content choice for “Passage By way of the Spheres.” Sung in Italian, it might be mistaken for a Vatican homily, however it’s fairly the opposite. The supply is an essay by thinker Giorgio Agamben that quotes Trebatius Testa, a 1st-century BC Roman jurist, on the subject of perceived irreligiosity: “Within the strict sense, profane is the time period for one thing that was as soon as sacred or non secular and is returned to the use and property of males.” The deeply felt lesson of All Life Lengthy is that secular deployment of such sources can itself be a fount of magnificence, reflection, and even perhaps revelation.

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Kali Malone: All Life Lengthy

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