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Ligeti, Luka: Mystery System

Luka Ligeti Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 23.37 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Product Details


1. Pattern Transformation
2. Moving Houses
3. Independence
4. New York To Neptune
5. Delta Space

Product Description


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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Although all of it's quite astounding . . . July 12 2004
Format:Audio CD
. . . the big news here's the last cut, "Delta Space," commissioned by New York University for pianist Kathleen Supové, with support from the Mary Flagler Clay Charitable Trust.
Lukas Ligeti, son of the famous Hungarian classical composer, György Ligeti, is an accomplished percussionist, composer, and world-music bridge-builder. With Mystery System, he has produced a disc of huge character and significance. Able to cross ethnic, musical, and cultural boundaries with absolute ease and aplomb, Ligeti fils, with his sophomore disc, arrives on the world music stage with a statement of gigantic presence.
Combining traditional musics with the latest techniques in computer and electronic soundscapes--he has, after all, spent two years at Stanford University's computer music lab, as well as collaborated with traditional musicians from places as diverse as Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Florida, Egypt, and the Ivory Coast--what emerges here is a kind of template for possible 21st Century musics. Some of it is so complex as to be nearly impossible to play ("Pattern Transformation")--though once played, it sounds entirely natural; other pieces, equally or even more complex ("Independence"), belie their rhythmic and timbral sophistication and come out sounding just gloriously worldly-jazzy.
But, as I say, the real action happens on "Delta Space." this number, ostensibly a solo piano piece, actually incorporates ultra-sophisticated computer-generated musical soundscapes that end up "competing" for playing-space with the pianist! Add in ethereal West-African kora and balafon samples that meld seamlessly with experimental composition and you have a brilliant amalgam of Nu music (of the Nu-est sort) with transcendent traditionalism: a combination hard to beat.
The future of music. Don't miss it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Although all of it's quite astounding . . . July 12 2004
By Jan P. Dennis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
. . . the big news here's the last cut, "Delta Space," commissioned by New York University for pianist Kathleen Supové, with support from the Mary Flagler Clay Charitable Trust.
Lukas Ligeti, son of the famous Hungarian classical composer, György Ligeti, is an accomplished percussionist, composer, and world-music bridge-builder. With Mystery System, he has produced a disc of huge character and significance. Able to cross ethnic, musical, and cultural boundaries with absolute ease and aplomb, Ligeti fils, with his sophomore disc, arrives on the world music stage with a statement of gigantic presence.
Combining traditional musics with the latest techniques in computer and electronic soundscapes--he has, after all, spent two years at Stanford University's computer music lab, as well as collaborated with traditional musicians from places as diverse as Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Florida, Egypt, and the Ivory Coast--what emerges here is a kind of template for possible 21st Century musics. Some of it is so complex as to be nearly impossible to play ("Pattern Transformation")--though once played, it sounds entirely natural; other pieces, equally or even more complex ("Independence"), belie their rhythmic and timbral sophistication and come out sounding just gloriously worldly-jazzy.
But, as I say, the real action happens on "Delta Space." this number, ostensibly a solo piano piece, actually incorporates ultra-sophisticated computer-generated musical soundscapes that end up "competing" for playing-space with the pianist! Add in ethereal West-African kora and balafon samples that meld seamlessly with experimental composition and you have a brilliant amalgam of Nu music (of the Nu-est sort) with transcendent traditionalism: a combination hard to beat.
The future of music. Don't miss it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Varied effort. Nov. 15 2005
By Michael Stack - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
"Mystery System" is a collection of compositions by Lukas Ligeti, son of composer Gyorgy Ligeti and percussionist in the downtown New York music scene.

Perhaps the most immediately noticable aspect of the music is its remarkable diversity-- the binding sound appears primarily to be rhythmically founded. Two of the pieces are soley percussion features by the Amadinda Percussion Group-- "Pattern Transformation" is a piece for two marimbas of unnerving rhythmic complexity which Ligeti states in the liner notes he had thought was "unplayable". A testament however to Ligeti's talents is that the piece feels entirely organic and utterly engaging. The second piece performed by this ensemble-- "Independence"-- is a moody percussion number that finds the ensemble performing on various instruments, from wood blocks to hand drums to what sounds to be a kit set. While the piece holds your interest, I found it a bit too loose in its elements to feel much for it as a hole.

Ligeti presents two pieces for strings on the record-- "Moving Houses" is scored for string quartet with the main theme being passed between violin and cello and (again) highly rhythmic and shifting backgrounds throughout. While the piece stretches fourteen minutes, it races by faster than you could notice. The second string piece I find far less engaging-- "New York to Neptune", scored for violin, cello and drum machine, is totally unexpected, frantic, but didn't move me as much as the rest of the record. On the other hand, it does end in under two minutes.

The album closes with a piano vs. sample duel, "Delta Space". I'm under the impression I'm the only person who doesn't like this one-- the piano performance-- closer to the Cecil Taylor concept of 88-tuned drums (albeit at a much more relaxed pace and infused with more traditional melodicism)-- is wrapped in samples of various exotic instruments. It starts off nice enough, but the samples feel totally at odds with the piano and the piece invariably drags.

The liner notes to the record contain commentary by Ligeti on each piece, and certainly helped shed light into the intent of some of the performances.

"Mystery System" is a good record, but I find that it misses nearly as frequently as it hits. Nonetheless, for those seeking adventerous composition, this is a worthwhile endeavor.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enthusiastic footnote Aug. 21 2008
By Bartolo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
As a consumer of recent music, not a musician, I'd humbly agree with Jan P. Dennis ("Longboard jazzer") insofar as my enjoyment of "Independence" in particular and the quality of this CD in general. I'd just want to call attention to the string quartet as well: a favorite genre of mine, with recent pets from Lutoslavski's to Peter Sculthorpe's #8, Ligeti here has just added another favorite to my list with "Moving Houses." To my ear this sounds original, distinctive and very engaging, using the quartet in a new way. Like a post-minimalist reminiscent of Reich but with a far less rigorous, more playful (organic?) approach, Ligeti's repetitions/transitions undergo changes so rapidly that there's no time to feel impatient, only enjoyment, and by the time you think a movement should end, it does. Ligeti is very considerate of his audience, having nothing to prove re his avant-garde chops. "Independence" and "Moving Houses" are both terrific here; to have 1/2 a contemporary CD consisting of instant favorites is quite a bargain by my lights. Now having read Mr. Dennis, I'll have to give another listen or two to "Delta Space."
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