Ethel

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The second album from string quartet Ethel finds them in even more adventurous form than their earlier work. That's never more so than on Ethel Dreams of Temporal Disturbances, where the group works around a recurring sample, the piece going through several different shifting moods to create a atmosphere that seems to resemble the cycles of manic depression. Chai, on the other hand, is a little sublime piece of funk that works beautifully in the setting. It's ironic, perhaps, that it's more soulful than #3 (From Four Thoughts on Marvin Gaye), the composition by Don Byron that's more an exploration of mood than anything. There's some glorious playing here, brash and bravura, but capable of many degrees of subtlety. It'll challenge what you think of contemporary music and make you think, not only about the music you hear on this CD, but the things to listen to when it's over.

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