Marc Ribot

Marc Ribot: Scelsi Morning

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Marc Ribot's first entry in Tzadik's Modern Composer series allows him to further expand on an already wildly eclectic body of work. Several of the pieces are akin to film cues, more to evoke a mood than anything else. "Our Daily Bread" and "Batialle" are fairly Shrek-like and supply a large portion of the noise quotient for the album. Contrast those with the title cut, which sounds more like chamber music. The high points are probably the album centerpieces, "Pennies From Hell" and "Geese." "Pennies From Hell" is a slightly spooky piece, anchored by a somewhat percussive bass pattern and sparse piano chords with Ribot (using a very queasy tone) and Jill Jaffe (on violin) repeating and elaborating on a descending figure over the top. "Geese" is quite a showcase for Ned Rothenberg on clarinet and bass clarinet, a fabulous piece that's something like minimalism with a sense of humor. Rothenberg's performance on this one is amazing: circular breathing, tongue slaps, and some of the finest goose imitations you're likely to hear. All clarinet and strings, "Geese" really makes the case for Ribot the composer. Taken as a whole, Scelsi Morning is not really an easy listen (although a couple of the tracks are wonderful), but it certainly is impressive.

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