Jocelyn Pook

Untold Things

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This otherworldly, ethereal sonic and vocal experience could fit into many categories -- world music, ambient, new age, even classical. An accomplished cellist and composer, Pook earned broad critical acclaim for her eclectic fusion of classicism and unorthodoxy (also her stock in trade as a string player and arranger for Peter Gabriel, PJ Harvey, Morrissey, and Siouxsie Sioux) in the music for Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. This hypnotic disc is above all else a unique creative vision, mixing obscure medieval instruments with strings, talking drums, and casual everyday sounds like birdsongs and children's playground chatter. "Dionysus" features a heartbeat-like synth groove behind a soaring wordless vocal and chant; the result is an ambient tranquility, which is slighty disrupted by the exotic wailing behind the gentler chanting and laid-back harp melody of "Red Song." "Yellow Fever Song" features an easier-to-handle chant vocal over a dramatic wall of strings, while "Hell Fire and Damnation" broods along darkly with a distant mandolin sound over its percussive chamber sound. "The Last Day" comes across like a cello elegy -- dark and haunting classical chamber music. Pook's wild blends of seemingly everything under the sun may not be everybody's cup of tea, but it's bound to grab a lot of attention because nothing else in popular music comes close to approaching its thought-provoking oddness.

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