Saturday, November 21, 2009

Kronos Quartet and Bon Iver: Playlist for The Open Window for November 16, 2009

The Open Window airs at (Kootenay Co-op Radio) on Mondays at 6am and Thursdays at 10 am pst.

Listen to a podcast of this show here.

Like all my shows this one is an experiment in juxtaposition or in the denial of genre, and the neighbouring of directions in this one is particulary (I hope) striking. The show moves back and forth between these two CDs:

Kronos Quartet: various tracks from Early Music (Nonesuch)

"Early music" normally refers to European music from Medieval times,
before Baroque etc. Some of that music is from that period-- for example there is a piece here by Hildegard von Bingen from the 11th century. But there is also music from modern composers like John Cage, Arvo Part, and Harry Partch. Despite this huge span of time and culture, the music somehow mysteriously works as a unified program. It's therefore the perfect CD for this show, as perfect as Kronos itself which has made a career of virtuosic and refreshing performance of music from everywhere (string quartet versions of Monk, Hendrix, Africa, Bollywood, tango, as well as lots of 20th century composers), and which may be the most often-played group on this show. So I decided to try to expand the range of Early Music even further by interspersing its music with:

Bon Hiver: For Emma, Stacks, Blindsided, Skinny Love, and Lump Sum from For Emma, Forever Ago (Jagjaguwar)

It's hard to explain the beauty of this CD mainly because I don't know what to liken it to or compare it with. The songwriter-musician Justin Vernon decided to hibernate for a winter in his father's cabin the the Wisconsin forest and came out with this self-produced album of songs on which he plays and sings all parts, under the name Bon Iver. It has a gentle, raw feeling and some beautiful harmonies that are rough and elusive but that's their charm. I like to think it works with Kronos. What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Bon Iver is a fantastic musician. I have been addicted to this cd for quite some time. Two people that I put in the play list mix with him are Amos lee and Ray Lamontagne. Ray is my god.