Peter Madsen & Alfred Vogel: I Ching

Mike Jurkovic By

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Even if it all turns out to be hogwash in the end, the mysteries of the I Ching—its divination powers, its myth and madness—have held the world's consciousness in awe and fear for at least three thousand years. These legends and provocations are explored with resounding depth and clarity on I Ching, with pianist Peter Madsen and drummer Alfred Vogel tackling a series of sixteen captivating improvisations, each predicated on a throw of the I Ching's coins and the variables that ensue.

The symbols—thunder, wind/wood, fire/light, lake/marsh, heaven, water, mountain—dictate the titles, and I Ching opens with great thunder and only gathers energy from there. None of the compositions are longer than five minutes, but their impact on the senses is immediate, resonating, and lasting.

"Fire/Light Over Wind" sets the dark tone, each player sensing the other's time and space. Probing their language and sources, "Thunder Over Deep Water" evokes and crackles. There are no discernible melodies, just muscular interpretations and imaginings. "Thunder Over Thunder" is just that, an explosion by Vogel of the rhythmic, polyrhythmic and non-rhythmic. Madsen employs his instrument to the fullest, plucking its strings as the piece demands, placing objects on the strings for a number of vibratory effects. The duo also uses singing bowls and other percussive ingredients to bring these rich, daring miniatures to life.

I Ching, like the oracle bones from which it takes its name, is music that needs to be heard more than described. Madsen and Vogel have created a full work that captures the imagination, leaving each listener to their own interpretation and reaction.

Track Listing: Fire/Light Over Wind; Thunder Over Deep Water; Fire/Light Over Lake/Marsh; Mountain Over Wind; Deep Water Over Mountain; Mountain Over Fire/Light; Earth Over Heaven; Deep Water Over Thunder; Heaven Over Lake Marsh; Thunder Over Thunder; Earth Over Earth; Wind Over Earth; Thunder Over Earth; Lake/Marsh Over Fire/Light; Mountain Over Mountain; Lake/Marsh Over Lake/Marsh.

Personnel: Peter Madsen - piano, percussion; Alfred Vogel - drums, percussion

Title: I Ching | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Playscape Recordings

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