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  • Laurel Gross wrote on June 25, 2007 report

    Okay, it's a day to roll out the hyperbole. Or let's just speak straight. For me, the CD "At Night," featuring astonishing and gymnastic vocals and guitar work, by Theo Bleckmann and Ben Monder, respectively, is as extraordinary as Phil DiPietro intimates. Incidentally 2007 -- the year of this CD's release -- also exactly marks the 800th anniversary of the birth of the poet Rumi whose words are the basis for a number of the haunting original musical compositions realized here by Monder and Bleckmann. Just weeks after this recording's release I happened to witness a performance by The Whirling Dervishes of Turkey, an event specifically held to celebrate that anniversary. It was incredible. While different, that ritual also felt connected to what Monder and Bleckmann have created - a "magical-mystery tour" of inspiring beauty, complexity and movement that through the expertise of these two super-accomplished artists conveys a deep feeling of spirtuality and that using the musical palette paints a picture of human reach toward things bigger than one's self. The "tour" analogy's fitting, I think, because of this recording's connection not only to Rumi's poetry but to the Beatles in its exploration of the Lennon/McCartney "Norwegian Wood." DiPietro is right - this is a journey worth taking. Don't hesitate. It's the safest, cheapest and most entertaining (and adventurous) trip you can take. And you won't have to wait in line to get or renew your passport. For those who care about such things "At Night" offers a universe of bang for the buck. - Laurel Gross