Vijay Iyer: Mutations (ECM/Ode)

 |   |  1 min read

Vijay Iyer: Mutations VII: Kernel
Vijay Iyer: Mutations (ECM/Ode)

Pianist Vijay Iyer is not one to undersell himself and is certainly a genuinely intellectual guy but, as Elsewhere noted previously, you shouldn't let that come between you and his music.

The border between jazz and classical music has often been fairly porous, especially at the ECM label, and that's the region Iyer occupies with this collection of pieces, 10 of which are written for string quartet, piano and electronics "linked either genetically or by a kind of symbiosis" he writes in the liner note.

Two others are for piano and electronics (which he handles), and the opener is a deftly impressionistic piece Spellbound and Sacrosanct, Cowrie Shells and the Shimmering Sea which previously appeared a trio piece two decades ago but now is reflective solo piano essay full of space, melodic hints which evaporate and some romantic passages.

It's lovely, but it is the 10 title-track pieces (with subtitles such as Air, Canon, Chain, Waves, Descent etc) which command the most attention.

In some places they seem to be the cheerful offspring of brightly pastoral classical works (Air) at others the moody children of the minimalist school (Chain) or the trickledown from the experiments of Brian Eno, Joachim Roedelius and others along the electronic axis (Waves).

The focus here appears to be on the inclusiveness of Iyer as a composer who brings a vast musical history to bear but who also doesn't force the issue in any dogma.

That such discrete pieces co-exist so easily -- although they may be a challenge for conservative jazz and classical ears -- is a testament to not just his compositional skills but also to how he can listen and write across that porous border. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

Roger Manins: Trio (Rattle Jazz)

Roger Manins: Trio (Rattle Jazz)

Taking the pulse of New Zealand jazz is difficult: just because there are festivals (which rely on imported drawcards) and the annual Tauranga event (a guaranteed core audience because of its... > Read more

ALAN BROADBENT INTERVIEWED: The art of time, and timing

ALAN BROADBENT INTERVIEWED: The art of time, and timing

To my horror recently, I realised it had been almost a quarter of a century since I first interviewed the LA-based expat jazz pianist Alan Broadbent. It was 1984 and he was briefly back in Auckland... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

PITCH BLACK INTERVIEWED (2000): Lightning striking again and again . . .

PITCH BLACK INTERVIEWED (2000): Lightning striking again and again . . .

Lightning sears the walls, neon tubes dance along the screen, mobile tie-dye patterns hover in the mist. And all the while, pulsing, ever-changing electronic music triggers the images, ebbs and... > Read more

ENEMY COMBATANT by MOAZZAM BEGG

ENEMY COMBATANT by MOAZZAM BEGG

The impending closure of Guantanamo Bay prison will bring an end to an especially dark chapter in American history and geo-politics . . . But perhaps not to the Orwellian newspeak so many Americans... > Read more