Natalia Mann: Pasif.ist (Rattle)

 |   |  1 min read

Natalia Mann: Time
Natalia Mann: Pasif.ist (Rattle)

One of the legitimate complaints made about certain types of New Age music in the Eighties and early Nineties -- and latterly with fusion world music -- is that the music becomes acultural and stateless, existing in a place where cultural resonances are hinted at rather than effected.

While that can make for some fascinating "world" music, it can also lead to an emotional emptiness -- and at times this album, beautiful and beguiling though it is in places, certainly comes perilously close to suggesting all things but settling on none.

Harp player Mann -- Australian/Samoan originally from Wellington and for the past six years living in Istanbul -- here works with players on fretless bass, saxophones, violin, taonga puoro (traditonal Maori instruments) and various ethnic string and percussion instruments for an album of compositions which liner note writer Alexandra Ivanoff says "dwell in the subsconscious' netherworld" and "blends more than East and West [but] is a global music collage of who she is".

That may be true, but pieces like the seductive UC Adim errs rather too close to ambient, world music and jazz -- but none of them specifically -- to be fully engaging (although an imaginative remix might be interesting). Greenstones with Richard Nunns on taonga puoro and percussionist Izzet Kizil (Mann's husband) is certainly evocative enough (the flutes appeal innately to Kiwi sensiblities perhaps?) but again the overall result is disappointingly unmemorable.

However, When Once Birds -- a darkly melodic harp and disconcerting, scraping percussion duet -- is a standout for the emotional weight carried in its wistful romanticism counterpointed by brooding melancholy and a sense of loss.

Equally interesting is Butterfly Effect where again the percussion grounds the otherwise featherweight harp and gives the earthy sound of the klemence (a Turkish bowed instrument played by Sercan Halili) and arco bass (by Dine Doneff) some supportive backdrop.

The most fully realised and satisfying piece is Aksam Duasi which, over seven and a half minutes, quietly evokes a yellow desert slowly sinking into a golden dusk. 

But in too many places this album passes by leaving little trace and pointing to nowhere in particular, evoking but rarely defining, shifting rather than settling.

Like the idea of this kind of music? Then check out this

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

The Golden Awesome: Autumn (M'Lady's)

The Golden Awesome: Autumn (M'Lady's)

Having been very impressed by the Amazing (although rather underwhelmed by Gold Medal Famous) I am a sucker for a band that doesn't under-sell itself on the naming front. Toad the Wet Sprocket... > Read more

Dodson and Fogg: Walk On (wisdomtwinsbooks)

Dodson and Fogg: Walk On (wisdomtwinsbooks)

Imagine this if you will: A world where Marc Bolan wasn't killed in 1977 when his car hit a tree. That instead he took time out, trimmed down, cleaned up and left London for some more benign... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

EPs by Shani.O

EPs by Shani.O

With so many CDs and downloads commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column by the informed and opinionated Shani.O. She will scoop up some of those many EP... > Read more

Barbecued Duck Breasts

Barbecued Duck Breasts

These days I, like most people, can toss together a very serviceable and reasonably impressive red curry with duck in just a matter of minutes. It helps when you have a shop selling cooked duck... > Read more