311

Okkyung Lee: Nihm

Celeste Sunderland By

Sign in to view read count
Okkyung Lee: Nihm Each of the ten tracks on Okkyung Lee's debut album sounds completely unique. Yet as Lee's cello and Doug Wieselman's clarinets fade away together—and Tim Barnes' and John Hollenbeck's percussion, mixed with Ikue Mori's electronics, rattle in an at times magical, at times frightening clamor—each track opens into the next with complete ease. Nihm undulates between psychological mayhem and organic serenity.

As a composer, Lee has the fearless ability to conjoin myriad textures, creating pieces of music with scarce melody but profound atmosphere. The opening track "On A Windy Day features the simple ringing of chimes against a low drone, which culminates in a clamoring orgy of steel and aluminum before yielding to the tribal echo of the hand drum. The visual movement of the piece is striking as the musicians create the sonic equivalent of a storm brewing.

A moment of passion is followed by calm on "Story of You and Me as Lee laces a deeply resounding ribbon around the delicate plucking of Shelley Burgon's soothing harp, but then "Anything You Say, Anything You Don't Say briskly arrives, resembling a relationship gone awry, or a mind gone askew. Sylvie Courvoisier culls rubbery, broken sounds from the strings of her piano that seem twisted by madness, while creaking, shattering noises fall all around. Thus begins the deranged apex of Nihm.

Wieselman's long clarinet tones attempt to quiet the psyche with "Returning Point, but spots of whirling whistles and soft cymbals add dashes of vibrant disarray to the tune's serene backbone as it leads into the strangest part of the album: "Home. This Korean children's song is an ethereal, space-less atmosphere created by Mori's extremely high-frequency electronics. Piercing sheaths of noise cut through the gentle piano passages and echoing electronics that resemble the microscopic sounds of the insect world. On "Deep Blue Knot, dense musical configurations result in violent texture as villainous cello combines with the ceaseless crashing of drums.

And then the album achieves serenity. Content in her solitude, Lee's solo cello breathes big on "Sky. For the final track, "Tuesday Morning, she links up with Wieselman's clarinet for a calming duo. Their contrasting tones enhance each other's impact, as mate can do to mate in the symbiotic world of planet Earth.


Track Listing: On a Windy Day; That Undeniable Empty Feeling; Story of You and Me; Anything You Say, Anything You (Don't) Say; Returning Point; Home; Deep Blue Knot; Closed Window; Sky; Tuesday Morning.

Personnel: Tim Barnes: Percussion, Drums; Shelley Burgon: Harp; Sylvie Courvoisier: Piano; Trevor Dunn: bass; John Hollenbeck: percussion, drums; Okkyung Lee: cello; Ikue Mori: electronics; Doug Wieselman: clarinet.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Tzadik | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Pulsation" CD/LP/Track Review Pulsation
by Nicola Negri
Published: August 1, 2016
Read "Godspeed" CD/LP/Track Review Godspeed
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 14, 2016
Read "Beginning of A Memory" CD/LP/Track Review Beginning of A Memory
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 15, 2016
Read "Impermanence" CD/LP/Track Review Impermanence
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 3, 2016
Read "Moving Still" CD/LP/Track Review Moving Still
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 5, 2016
Read "Of Earth And Sky" CD/LP/Track Review Of Earth And Sky
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 23, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!