Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

281

Okkyung Lee & Phil Minton: Anicca

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Following previous Dancing Wayang releases from the duo of John Edwards and Chris Corsano, and a solo release from Mats Gustaffson (with another from Peter Evans in preparation), the label continues its successful series of freely improvised music with this first recorded meeting of vocalist Phil Minton and cellist Okkyung Lee, recorded at Eastcote Studios in May 2009. As always with the label's releases, Anicca is released as a limited edition on 180gram vinyl, in a beautiful, hand screen-printed, wraparound cover—this one based on an intricate paper cut by Lee herself.

Lee and Minton are both highly distinctive stylists—each instantly recognizable within seconds of hearing a few notes from them—so it is fascinating to listen to the ways in which they manage to coexist without either compromising their uniqueness. So in among his singing, Minton moans, groans and jabbers, producing a shifting kaleidoscope of voices from a repertoire that seems to be ever expanding. Someone on a bus producing some of his sounds—faraway screaming, demonic whispering, gurgling, dog-like yowling—might rightly cause concern, but to hear the sounds in safety is to be endlessly intrigued. (As Christian Marclay's sleeve note concludes, "Beware, this is scary stuff.")

Lee has a repertoire of sounds almost as diverse and personal as Minton's, hers ranging from sustained drones at the lowest frequencies the cello can produce through swooping glissandi, tapping and scraping all over the fret board, to surprisingly gentle bowed melodic passages.

The reality of their playing together is that Lee and Minton do far more than merely coexist. Throughout, they subtly shift their playing in order to be compatible with each other but, in that process, neither is drawn away from their core repertoire of sounds. The end results contain some remarkably sympathetic passages: on "Mu ah" (all the tracks are titled in Lee's native Korean) they play an effective section combining sustained low-frequency glissandi with that faraway screaming sound; on "Mu kyung" Lee gently bows melodic passages, to which Minton almost sings along in half-formed words and phrases that have no literal meaning but plenty of emotional and psychological meaning, sounding like an oh-so-human cry for help.

Anicca creates its own self-contained universe in which Lee and Minton are totally compatible and inextricably bound to each other. It is so successful that listening to either of the pair solo afterwards gives the strong impression that something is missing—the other one. A stunning achievement.

Track Listing: Mu ah; Mu kyung; Mu byun; Mu jin.

Personnel: Okkyung Lee: cello; Phil Minton: voice.

Title: Anicca | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Dancing Wayang

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Mar29Fri
Rashad Becker, Okkyung Lee
Cafe OTO
London, UK

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Cuando Sea Necesario Album Reviews
Cuando Sea Necesario
By Dan McClenaghan
March 22, 2019
Read West 60th Album Reviews
West 60th
By Peter Hoetjes
March 22, 2019
Read In Between the Tumbling a Stillness Album Reviews
In Between the Tumbling a Stillness
By Mark Corroto
March 22, 2019
Read Arirang Fantasy Album Reviews
Arirang Fantasy
By John Sharpe
March 22, 2019
Read The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul Album Reviews
The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul
By Mike Jurkovic
March 22, 2019
Read Octopus Album Reviews
Octopus
By Jack Bowers
March 21, 2019
Read Pinch Point Album Reviews
Pinch Point
By Mark Corroto
March 21, 2019