Chris Prosser: Mistune; Violin and Tanpura (Rongotai)

 |   |  <1 min read

Quakey
Chris Prosser: Mistune; Violin and Tanpura (Rongotai)

Violinist Chris Prosser was one half of the innovative and genre-defying duo Besser and Prosser (with pianist Jonathan Besser) in the Eighties. After two albums they went on separate paths: Besser also part of the Free Radicals electronic outfit with Ross Harris then into many other directions; Prosser back to London for 20 years before returning to New Zealand a decade ago.

These days he is involved in theatre music, free improvisation, running his own Rongotai label, playing klezmer music (as he did in Besser and Prosser) and playing again with Besser.

But here – using different tunings and with Susan Thomson providing the tanpura drone – he offers 15 stark pieces which, despite the presence of the Indian tanpura, reach into other other cultural and musical references.

You can certainly hear elements of Balkan and Jewish folk laments in some pieces, a sense of yearning and loss in others (the measured lachrymose tone of Standard) and a sense of timelessness – or times past -- in others (the almost wearily romantic Thrum).

The overriding sensibility is of gravitas and penetratingly dark melodies so it goes without saying that such spare, serious and emotionally demanding music is not for the casual listener.

However for those prepared to accept the drone, atonal aspects and the sparse settings there are many rewards here, especially when sampled slowly to appreciate the uniqueness of each piece.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Womad Artist 2014: James Lindsay of Braebach

Womad Artist 2014: James Lindsay of Braebach

Double bassist James Lindsay of Scotland's Breabach says what they will be delivering at the forthcoming Womad in Taranaki is quite simple: “Expect a varied and exciting showcase of... > Read more

ELSEWHERE WORLD SERVICE: A quick overview of recent world music releases

ELSEWHERE WORLD SERVICE: A quick overview of recent world music releases

Here's a frequent flyer/transit lounge column for those at home who want to get their musical passport stamped. Elsewhere has so many CDs and downloads commanding and demanding attention that we... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bruce Springsteen; Nebraska/The Ghost of Tom Joad

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bruce Springsteen; Nebraska/The Ghost of Tom Joad

Elsewhere has already made the case for Bruce Springsteen's 1982 Nebraska as an Essential Elsewhere album. It was not only a great album but a turning point in his career: it allowed him to step... > Read more

Mark Knopfler: Why the long face, son?

Mark Knopfler: Why the long face, son?

When former Dire Straits man Mark Knopfler came to New Zealand to play in 2005 I read the interview in the Herald about his terrible motorcycle accident . . . and burst out laughing. Not... > Read more