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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Okkyung Lee - Ghil (Editions Mego, 2013) ****½

By Stef

It isn't noise, it's something else, growing from the inside, something incredibly physical and emotional at the same time, like extreme bodily tension and nervous stress mutually reinforcing each other, with strings tight as tendons, muscles wired by the electrical discharges of neurons, full of anger and confusion, it's visceral and intense, hoping somehow for relief yet there is only one alternative, to build up more energy and more hypnotic dynamics of raw abrasiveness, of making bow and strings collide and tear and fight to express the thing that cannot be explained, that cannot be understood even, yet that needs to be said and brought out in the open, through wood and guts and hairs in fierce contempt for all that came before, giving birth to sounds that never touched air and ears before, like yawns and rumbles and shouts, screams and whispers, powerful and soft at the same time, fingers hammering and carressing, ....

.... in sum, she pushes herself and her instrument to the extreme, like the Jimi Hendrix of the cello, reinventing the instrument and its language.

An incredible statement, so radical that you either love it or hate it, but next time you'll listen to other conntemporary cellists, like Ernst Reijseger, or Erik Friedlander, or Vincent Courtois, or Daniel Levin, or even Fred Lonberg-Holm, you risk to find them too tender and traditional ....

Listen to "Meolly Ganeun", one of my favorite tracks on the LP.


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