This double disc set collects two solo-violin pieces written by Norwegian experimental composer Ole-Henrik Moe, both performed by Kari Ronnekleiv. It?s easily one of the most challenging works to be released as of late, full of grating, choppy tonal assaults and warbly atmospherics. There are moments of beauty, but most of what Moe has written here is nerve wracking, spooky, fearlessly abstract, and ultimately intriguing. It?s sure to be a polarizing addition to the 21st century classical canon, and a welcome bit of difficulty for experimental music fans.
There?s always something to be said about turning a well-established medium on its head, and Moe?s gift at making a single violin sound like a chorus of flying locusts one minute and squealing feedback another minute is just such a scenario. The record?s liner notes point to Moe?s attempt to focus the listener on the ?microscopic changes? taking place, both in the physical approach Ronnekleiv takes in playing the pieces, and in an aural environment devoid of any melodic life preserver. The restraint Ronnekleiv manages in the face of such much unconventionality is impressive, but ultimately it?s the music?s emotional gravity, rather than its technical proficiency, that keeps these pieces from being relegated to avant garde refuse.
Both pieces purportedly stem from personal experience: ?ciaccona? with the death of a former teacher and ?3 persephone perceptions? with childhood memories. The former disc is broken into 14 sepearate tracks, each roughly between 30 seconds to 3 minutes in length. The later is perhaps more grand in scale, consisting of only 3 tracks, the second of which runs just over 20 minutes. It?s this piece that seems to take the harshest turn toward a sawing, squaking chaos, unrelenting in sound and spirit. It?s undeniably otherworldly, and while unadventurous listeners are bound to hear annoyance, those who seek that which makes them rethink their preconceived notions of music are bound to find something worthwhile here. 7/10 -- Jon Pitt (5 February, 2008)