Shahrokh Yadegari's trance-oriented Migration for violin and electronics (2005) combines live improvisations in the traditional Persian style by violinist Keyavash Nourai with layers of mysterious, blurred sounds and drones produced on the Lila, a computerized musical instrument invented by the composer. Cast in four roughly balanced sections, poetically titled Longing, Harmony, Dance, and Migration, Yadegari's soft, vaporous tableaux -- one hesitates to call them movements, for their minimal activity and lack of direction -- are quietly meditative and almost narcotic in effect, while Nourai's free performances are alternately reflective and rhapsodic, in imitation of Iranian kamanche playing. Beyond these simple descriptions, the music is almost too calm, soothing, and mellow to be distinguished from bland new age fare, and too static and monotonous to be judged for any other salient features. It is easy to criticize this piece as an automated aural phenomenon that requires little thought from the artists, and even less from the listener. However, Nourai's energetic bowing and improvisational skills are sufficient to sustain interest in the comparatively active middle parts, and Yadegari's otherworldly sonorities create mildly interesting, vaguely hallucinatory impressions in the opening and closing sections. Recommended only for "chilling out," this CD should not be played while driving or operating heavy machinery.
by Blair Sanderson
|Migration, for violin & electronics|