And here is something different. As the magazine Avant wrote, "This
is a stunningly good album ... impossible to categorise, and all the better
Prejudice can lead to dismissiveness and unfair criticism and an artiste
or recording can suffer at the hands of inequitable comments. When I saw
the name of the record label and also that, among his many activities, Mark
Lockett was into experimental rock music I approached this CD with preconceived
ideas and therefore a wrong attitude. I will not be the only one to do so.
First of all, Mark Lockett is a professional musician, not a Top-of-the-Pops-type
performer. He was born in 1956, studied piano with Kathleen McGrath at the
Royal Northern College of Music and with Paul Crossley. After receiving his
BA, he was awarded a Fullbright Scholarship and studied at the University
of California in San Diego achieving his MA and studying 20th century piano
music, composition and ethnomusicology. In 1983 he received his PhD researching
the American free jazz movement. That year he became a founder member of
the English Gamelan Orchestra and composer-in-residence at Dartington. The
list of his activities is almost endless. He currently teaches world music
at the Birmingham Conservatoire.
The disc is of twelve pieces some using a gamelan ensemble and there are
also some solo piano pieces such as Mono Lake 1. Some of the pieces
are thorough-composed. For example, you could acquire scores of the piano
pieces and play them as on this CD. There are some improvisatory elements
in the ensemble pieces.
The gamelan ensemble pieces are extremely attractive. The material may be
minimalistic but the composer varies the accompaniment and employs effective
crescendo and diminuendo elements to prevent ennui. This is a really wonderful
sound world and yet it is not just that. The piece Alcatraz perfectly
conjures up the island prison with the pounding waves of the sea. It is
marvellously visual music!
There is a wonderful warmth in this music, a splendid representation of Oriental
culture and it has a terrific message. Music is a universal language and
we ignore the music of other cultures, perhaps through prejudice or ignorance,
or both, and miss precious experiences and are sorely impoverished as a result.
There is so much variety in these pieces and some delightful surprises such
as the wordless voice in the fifth piece and the humorous Rejang reyong.
Something different ... impossible to categorise ... a stunningly good album
... yes, all these things and more. Only the narrow-minded and prejudiced
will ignore it.
Go and buy it!
Very warmly recommended.