Smoke & Mirrors Percussion Ensemble - Earth & Wood

Earth & Wood

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UPC: 198002841711

Stereophile's Michael Fremer rarely rates a vinyl album with an '11 out of 10,' but he did so for Yarlung's earlier Smoke & Mirrors Percussion Ensemble release. Mr. Fremer wrote: 'The sonics here are spectacular. These performances were recorded live to tape with no editing by the seven members of Smoke & Mirrors. The recording is superbly transparent and well-captures the hall's natural reverb.' Other reviewers offered equally positive comments: The Absolute Sound's Jim Hannon reflects that this ensemble created 'a wide tapestry of rhythms and harmonics skillfully arrayed across a broad and deep soundstage. There's an immediacy, clarity, and transparency to this modern classical percussion recording that seemingly brings the performers to your living room.' The ensemble's first percussion LP earned a coveted spot on the TAS Super LP list. Writing for Mono & Stereo, Carlos Guzman writes 'the sound of this production is exquisite. A great ambiance is captured in this tape and the effortless flow of music is graciously submitted with precision and focus. The instrument timbres are accurate and the performance is second to none. The quality achieved by Yarlung's team is excellent, clearly expressed in their recordings.' We hope to make you just as happy with Earth & Wood, offering more tracks from these now legendary recording sessions in Zipper Hall at The Colburn School. Lou Harrison's magical Canticle No. 3 fills side one. This concerto for ocarina and percussion, written in 1940 and 1941, uses the haunting primitive sound of the ocarina and a steel string guitar which contrast alluringly with Harrison's creative assortment of modern and ancient instruments. Joe Beribak plays ocarina and Derek Tywoniuk plays guitar. The earthen ocarina comes from many musical cultures, some ancient, but in this recording Joe's ocarina is a version of the earthen Maya and Aztec flute. We experimented with our musicians in many different locations for this recording, since we used one stereo AKG C24 microphone and no mixer for all of our takes on this album. As Joe reminisced, 'some instruments (like tom toms and snare drums) were designed for use with a modern orchestra, while other instruments, like the ocarina and teponaztli [a slit drum made from a hollow log], are ethnic instruments designed to be played in intimate settings. So we adjusted our setup to create the balance and tone quality we wanted. We brought the ocarina closer to center, and we actually rotated the toms 90 degrees counter-clockwise in order to balance these two voices properly on the recording. As a result we needed to modify the way we cued each other, since our relative positions were radically different from the way we stand when we perform this piece live. As with everything we did in this Yarlung recording, each challenge gave us a new perspective that enriched the musical experience and made it even more fun.'


Smoke & Mirrors Percussion Ensemble - Earth & Wood
Smoke & Mirrors Percussion Ensemble - Earth & Wood

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