Carefully stretching our my tendrils* in search of more modern classical music, I found “Statea”, a joint effort by Tijuana-born electronic musician Murkof and classical pianist Vanessa Wagner. Together, they re-interpreted works of avantgardist/modern/minimalist composers like John Cage, Valentin Silvestrow, Philip Glass, and even Aphex Twin.

The resulting nine tracks on “Statea” are quite wonderful – the version of Philip Glass’s “Metamorphosis 2” in particular with its minimal main theme and the swirling, romantic piano-arpeggios is so haunting that I must listen to it multiple times a day at the moment. It evokes images of either butterflies in flight or puffy clouds on a summer afternoon drive overland for me (I also feel some resemblance to George Winston’s “Carol of the Bells” from my favorite album of his, “December”).

The track isn’t spectacularly different from Glass’s original, a little more continuously played and overall floating perhaps – but the careful usage of electronic sounds and effects (most strikingly, when somewhere in between, the piano’s sounds are almost transformed into an organ, briefly) adds so much atmosphere – something inside of me reverberates with it.

Other tracks that I found accessible enough on the first listen:

  • the opening track “In A Landscape” (over the meandering piano, layers of melody and effects are built, to eventually grow into an almost epic and Vangelis-like piece with a distinct, strange atmosphere)
  • Farewell, O World, O Earth” (letting a vocoder loose over Valentin Silvestrow’s Gregorian chants is daring, but the result is fascinating)
  • “Variations For The Healing of Arinushka” (the pulsating bassdrum in the middle part was a bit unexpected and unsettling at first, but it works)
  • “Avril 14th” (which I find considerably better than the repetitive original – this may have to do with the fact that I simply never liked Aphex Twin very much – and it’s particularly funny when you consider that the original is a classical piano piece by an electronic composer, which got reworked into an electronic piece, helped by a classical pianist).

And the rest grew on me after repeated listens. 🙂

UPDATE/EDIT: there are also three EPs available, with different takes/interpretations, non-album material and (superfluous, sorry) remixes. EP01 is particularly noteworthy – I wish they had married Wagner’s piano work with the electronic soundscapes of Murcof in David Moore’s “What Arms Are These For You!” like on the album… the whole would be more than the sum of its parts…

*) I’m a plant – otherwise I’d have antennae of course

Thoughts? Let me hear them.

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