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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 'e s'Astore; Mura/Ballu Turturinu; Song of the desert; [Ernst Reijseger/Mola Sylla] Kyrie.
Personnel: Ernst Reijseger: cello, voice; Mola Sylla: voice; Voches de Sardinna: voice; Patrizio Mura: voice; Gianluca Frau: voice; Mario Siotto: voice; Piero Pala: voice; Massimo Roych: voice.
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...