Mulo Francel: Mountain MelodyBy
On reaching the top, as he says, "the essence of the mountain becomes sound; the vastness of the view becomes melody." In these settings, his always clear-toned saxophone still comes out sounding clearer and purer than ever. Mountain Melody certainly feels as vast as those views, but Francel and friends (some trekking with him in person, others recording in studios afterwards) do it without a smidge of grandeur or bombast.
These pieces simply let the rich history and essence of each place beautifully speak for itself. A celebratory group session atop Greece's Mount Olympus conveys the subtlest kind of joy with flute, harmonium and balalaika. His visit to Iran's Shir Kuh produces a sinuous Persian waltz, full of haunting melancholy and mystery. An expansive three-part suite from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula has him switching to bass clarinet to complement a crystalline harp and the low twang of an oud. He recorded solo sax meditations on the Great Wall of China and in Beijing's Forbidden City, which blossomed into a shimmering Zen daydream with the later additions of glass harp and calming prayer-bowl-like chimes.
Francel has made a work of truly stunning beauty here. Everything feels deeply connected to the earth, being almost entirely analogue and anchored with a wealth of traditional percussion sounds. Each musical idea seems to contain a world of depth and atmosphere to be discovered with patience. The simple premise..."up there civilization is silent. No motors, no digital beeping..."allows for wonderful things to happen when the right players are open to it. All the parts add up to a gorgeous work that's equally majestic and humble, soaked in history but ultimately timeless.
The Viking; Lofoten Arctic Waters; The Wise; Invocation; The 11th Commandment; Olympic Voice; Rising of Collective Happiness; Poet on a Mountain Top; Ikarus' Dream; Chant from the Mountain Trail; Dance of the Stars; Vulcano; With or Without the Glacier.
Mulo Francel: saxophone; Andreas Binder: french horn; Philipp Schiepek: guitar; Evelyn Huber: harp; Robert Kainar: drums; Wolfgang Lohmeier: drums; Basem Darwisch: oud; Rafat Mohammed: percussion; Tim Collins: vibraphone; Ela Wallner: flute; Daniel Nodel: violin; Luna Lowka: flute; Chris Gall: piano; Philipp Sterzer: flute.
D.D. Lowka: bass (3-5, 8), percussion (3-5, 8), bass balalaika (7), udu drum (8); Rageed William: nay flute (3-5, 10-11), duduk (7, 10-11); Andreas Hinterseher: accordion (3-5, 8-11), vibrandoneon (9), bandoneon (13); Nicole Heartseeker: harmonium (7); Julie Fellman: copper tube chimes (7); Philipp Quack: bass balalaika (7); Franz Heller: hapi drum (7); Izabella Effenberg: glass harp (8); AIdin Tavakkol: vocal (10-11).
Title: Mountain Melody | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Fine Music
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About Mulo Francel
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