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Audio CD, April 24, 2012
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Product Details

  • Performer: Ralph Farris
  • Composer: Don Byron, John Halle, Julia Wolfe, John King, Raz Mesinai, et al.
  • Audio CD (April 24, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Innova
  • ASIN: B007C7FCUW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,257 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Acclaimed as America's premier post-classical string quartet, ETHEL presents a power packed, sonic snapshot of the group's life in New York City in it's latest album, Heavy.


The postclassical pioneers embrace the bluesy potential of an
electrified string quartet on their funky, decidedly urban new Innova
album, Heavy (a counterpoint to 2006's Light). A Marvin Gaye inspired
quartet from heady, hip composer Don Byron kicks the album off; the
ensemble follows it up with tracks by Ethel faves John Halle, Julia
Wolfe, John King, Raz Mesinai, David Lang, Kenji Bunch and Marcelo
Zarvos. Tonight, the foursome performs some of the pieces live in
celebration of the CD's release. --Time Out New York

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By I Care if You Listen (.com) on September 26, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Since its beginnings in the late 1990s, the string quartet Ethel has grown to become a powerful force in new music, premiering over fifty new works in the last three years alone. Incorporating amplification and improvisation into their performances, Ethel's style is infused with traces of jazz and rock and roll, culminating in a unique and powerful voice.

Released six years after their previous album Light, Ethel's Heavy marks the group's third self-produced album. The packaging, designed like a 7" EP with cover art fitting of a rock band, hints at the music found on the CD. But it's the album's title that is a dead giveaway for what the listener is in for: a sustained, in-your-face sound that borders on the edge of rock and roll at times--a sound that Ethel achieves remarkably well.

The album begins with two pieces heavily influenced by soul and jazz: Don Byron's "String Quartet No. 2: Four Thoughts on Marvin Gaye" and John Halle's "Spheres." Byron's piece is a quick, four movement reimagining of Marvin Gaye songs, the third movement of which was previously released on Ethel's Light album. "Four Thoughts" is a dynamic piece with a lot of variety, although the brevity of the movements (between two and three minutes each) is a bit disappointing and leaves me wanting more. I wish the pieces developed more over a longer period of time so the listener would have more opportunity to enjoy the brilliance Byron manages to fit into a two or three minute time slot. Halle's piece "Spheres" is an homage to Thelonius Monk, based on "Straight, No Chaser" and "Brilliant Corners." The nearly distorted strings and textured rhythms of Halle's piece keep the intensity of the album rising from one song to the next.

Recalling Halle's "Spheres" is Raz Mesinais's "La Citadelle.
Read more ›
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sheistheday on June 9, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Very very unique and interesting. I don't think I've quite heard anything like this before. Not for the faint at heart!
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