184

Myra Melford: The Image of Your Body

By

Sign in to view read count
Myra Melford: The Image of Your Body The harmonium is not a native Indian instrument. It was conceived in Europe, but adopted by India in the 19th century, quickly becoming a traditional element in the region's folk, devotional and popular music. Myra Melford studied the instrument in India under a Fulbright Scholarship and, as she writes in the liner notes of this new album, she was "waiting to see what would emerge naturally (...) as opposed to trying to make something happen.

The Image of Your Body is the collaborative effort of Be Bread, Melford's group with Brandon Ross (electric guitar, banjo and voice), Cuong Vu (trumpet, electronics), Stomu Takeishi (electric and acoustic bass guitar, electronics) and Elliot Humberto Kavee (drums). Here is an album that tackles mysticism and romanticism with the sort of pronounced dogmatism that is flawed if it's not elastic; Melford would have benefited by bringing less tangled art and more lucid matter to the quartet's accomplished effort.

Certain tracks like "If You've Not Been Fed and "Fear Slips Behind are quaint little clusters of noise that come across as ominous and divine in nature. Ross' electric guitar does a splendid job of engulfing note after note and darting sonic spasms of the most random nature. "To the Roof is the longest track, lined with horizontal rhythms that do not lose momentum even though they make up an almost twelve-minute meditation. What the meditation is on is unclear and remains unclear for the duration of the album. The harmonium, however, brings a refreshing otherworldly dimension to the music and it serves as a surprising backdrop to every track's unraveling.

Melford is nothing if not audacious and her music is unflinching. Be Bread is a sonorous exercise in fusion, but it is layered in a way most fusion music isn't, with no cohesiveness or even artful dissymmetry to speak of. The tracks are strung together like styrofoam-like bits that are soft without being mellifluous and bold without being whimsical. Still, the holistic experience leaves you drained and not that enlightened. It seems as if though the album was purely an exercise in learned mysticism and its potential for clarity was overestimated. The album's title comes from a poem by 13th century Persian poet Jalalud'din Rumi and describes the album in more ways than one. Rumi pronounces with characteristic frankness, "You're still restless . He's got a point.


Track Listing: Equal Grace; Luck Shifts; Fear Slips Behind; To the Roof; Yellow Are the Crowds of Flowers II, The Image of Your Body; Be Bread; If You've Not Been Fed; Your Face Arrives in the Redbud Trees; Made it Out.

Personnel: Myra Melford: piano, harmonium; Brandon Ross: electric guitar, banjo, voice; Cuong Vu: trumpet, electronics; Stomu Takeishi: electric and acoustic bass guitar, electronics; Elliot Humberto Kavee: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Cryptogramophone


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
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 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 Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Echoes From Rudolph's" CD/LP/Track Review Echoes From Rudolph's
by John Sharpe
Published: March 30, 2016
Read "Oblivion: The Music of Bud Powell" CD/LP/Track Review Oblivion: The Music of Bud Powell
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 19, 2016
Read "Intersection" CD/LP/Track Review Intersection
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 9, 2016
Read "At This Time..." CD/LP/Track Review At This Time...
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 11, 2016
Read "Sanctuary" CD/LP/Track Review Sanctuary
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 22, 2016
Read "Life and Other Transient Storms" CD/LP/Track Review Life and Other Transient Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 26, 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!