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Product Description

Boomkat - ''Within the space of his short, yet incredibly illustrious career, Nico Muhly has contributed his talents as an arranger to recordings by Bjork, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Rufus Wainwright and The National, while also enjoying a successful sideline as a composer in his own right, presenting works in conjunction with a variety of high profile orchestras - he even finds time to work as a performer and conductor for Philip Glass on his various film soundtracks. Mothertongue is the sophomore solo effort from Nico Muhly, following up on the wide acclaim of his 2006 debut, Speaks Volumes, and marking a further step towards genre cross-pollination and a more avant-garde approach to the conventions of composed music. The album is segmented into three different suites, the first (itself titled Mothertongue) being an exercise for ensemble and choir, which begins with female vocalists chanting numbers and dispensing information as if sifted through some granular synthesis plugin. In addition to the predictably luscious string section backdrop, Muhly injects some electroacoustic presence into the mix on 'Shower', via watery samples, and chiming glockenspiel and piano strikes, mirroring the raindrop effect given by the recordings. This first cycle of pieces concludes with 'Monster', the final component of the Mothertongue suite, characterised by bold, percussive chord changes and an awkward time signature, all made to sound thunderous under the supervision of producer Valgeir Sigurdsson, who brings a heaviness to the sound balance you'd be unlikely to find on many other recordings in the field of modern composition. The next suite is titled Wonders, and retains the female choir from Mothertongue, this time setting it against harpsichord, percussion and brass arrangements, often sounding quite playful in its rhythmic instability and occasional ventures into discord. The final sequence, titled 'The Only Tune' is a collaboration with fellow Bedroom Community artiste, Sam Amidon, who helps fashion an exended folk narrative, beginning with the banjo plucking of 'The Two Sisters' before shifting into less familiar territory on the bluegrass operatics of 'The Old Mill Pond'. By this point, any notions of comfortable, conservative Americana are out the window and you're confronted by a highly experimental clash of vastly different musical schools, before finally, 'The Only Tune' restores a semblance of normality with a lovely piece of widescreen folktronica. Quite unlike anything you're likely to encounter, this second album from Nico Muhly shows even greater ambition than its predecessor, establishing a language that's far removed from the kind of easy-going post-Blue Notebooks modern composition that's become so widespread. Very highly recommended.''

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Marrying the old and the new Aug. 12 2008
By Noel A. Hodda - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
At first listen this sounds like something a precocious youngster might come up with: "Let me at those instruments! Give me that Studio time! I'll show you!", and maybe that is the case. Mr. Muhly is young and no doubt somewhat precocious but there is something else at work here - a voice that carries its influences openly and securely. There is nothing here that other modern composers haven't been playing with for years but it is the confident individual voice on show that impresses. At times these works sound as if they are a marriage of old compositions and new; of old voices exploded into the contemporary world. This feeling is heightened in the final suite 'The Only Tune' when Sam Amidon's deconstructed and angular singing of 'The Two Sisters' and 'The Old Mill Pond' is accompanied by an arrangement that pushes several worlds and ages together to make a thoroughly engaging modern piece. When played as a whole the three suites that make up the album, 'Mothertongue','Wonders' and 'The Only Tune', carry the listener from an absolutely contemporary place to the past and vice versa, as if the music is collapsing on itself, with the old and the new passing each other in two directions until it resolves in a modern pastoral setting. A rich journey indeed and very satisfying.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
it may take getting used to May 6 2009
By RALPH P. GRAY - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This will be a short, general review based on 2 CD's. Muhly is new for me. I find some of his works intriguing; others less so. Some are sprightly - make me feel bouncy & cheerful; others seem too minimalist for my taste & annoy me a little. But then he suddenly changes course & I am "with him" again.

Overall: I think he is very worth while following & seeing how he develops. His is unquestionably a bright mind & spirit.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic album Jan. 4 2014
By Austin Feller - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The first time I listened to this album, the thought that popped into my mind is "This is what genius sounds like." Mothertongue: I. Archive, and Mothertongue: III. Hress are two of the best pieces of music that I have ever heard. They grab onto your mind and enthrall you while sounding like absolutely nothing you have ever heard before except perhaps the ambient noise that has surrounded you for your whole life. I don't listen to it everyday. I don't listen to it every month, even, but whenever I start to feel like I am getting tired of hearing noises, that either music has lost its magic or that the mundane world has lost its music, this is the album I come back to. I listen to it once or twice to reset my ears and remember just what it is that I have forgotten to listen for in all the noise that everywhere else seems to have simply become ruckus din.
7 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Wherein I remedy the lack of reviews Aug. 11 2008
A Kid's Review - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I'm not much of a reviewer, lacking both insights and the ability to express them eloquently. I hope others will review this marvellous album. In the meantime, search google for reviews, and listen to the samples!
7 of 34 people found the following review helpful
The dumbest thing you will ever hear Dec 29 2010
By brainiac - Published on
As you frantically press 'next track' on your media player, hoping you weren't scammed and praying that not all of the tracks consist of some moron saying "nnn-TEEK! nn-TAKK! nnn-TOOK! guh-BOP guh-BEEP!" while discordant music dribbles along in the background, you'll be torn between admitting this is garbage and trying to save face by writing something pretentious about it being avant-garde and inventive. Choose the former option. Don't propagate the lie by suckering some other poor person in. Because this is junk. There are thousands of unsigned bands in the US alone who actually have talent and make music. Give any of them your attention instead. Or better yet buy an instrument - preferably one you do not know how to play - and record yourself hitting or coming near occasional notes while a two-year-old coos nonsense over it and thus create your own Nico-Muhly-esque scam.