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Germany has produced two masterful record labels, and no, one of them is not Deutsche Grammophon. They are ECM and Winter & Winter. Each pushes the creative envelope, producing the most compelling music being made today. Winter & Winter in particular has been creating what the label calls AudioFilms (cinema for closed eyes). The newest addition to this genre is cellist and composer Ernst Reijseger's Requiem for a Dying Planet, consisting of the film music composed for Werner Herzog's documentaries the Wild Blue Yonder and The White Diamond.
Herzog's two films truly skirt the outer reaches of thought in a most fascinating way. The Wild Blue Yonder is a documentary told from the perspective of a Roswell alien (played by Brad Dourif of One Flew Over the Nest). The White Diamond is about the engineer Dr. Graham Dorrington, who takes a trip to the giant Kaieteur Falls in Guyana, where he hopes to fly his helium-filled invention above the treetops. The results of this wish prove dangerous and deadly, yet Dorrington undertakes it. The cinematography for both films is stunning and required music of the same caliber.
Enter Ernst Reijseger, who recruited Senegalese singer Mola Sylla and the Sardinian group Tenore e Cuncordu de Orosei to mash up East and West influences in a most ambitious and very successful assimilation of genera. The collision of traditional mass settings with the humid Mediterranean voices of the island of Sardinia is beautiful in Reijseger's arrangement. Reijseger's setting for Handel's "Dank sei dir Gott is stunning, fitting perfectly the W&W subtext of the AudioFilm. The composer's cello adds an additional voice to the mix: well-composed, performed, and integrated into the musical surroundings of the film music.
Requiem for a Dying Planet is hypnotic in its beauty and stunning in its scope. Ernst Reijseger meets Herzog as an equal on the creative field, and together they produce a super-composition. This moody music is perfect as a film soundtrack. It stimulates consideration and transcends the art of music into another realm.
Track Listing: Intro Dank Sei Dir Gott; Dank Sei Dir Gott; Longing For A Frozen Sky; a Una Rosa; Libera Me,
Domine; In Search Of A Hospitable Place; Sanctus; Bad News From Outer Space; Su Bolu
Personnel: Ernst Reijseger: cello, voice; Mola Sylla: vocals, mbira, xalam; Voches de Sardinna: Tenore e
Cuncordu de Orosei: Patrizio Mura, Gianluca Frau, Mario Siotto, Piero Pala, Massimo Roych.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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