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Into the Cauldron


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Audio CD, May 13, 2003
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 13, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sugarhill
  • ASIN: B00008YJHY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,758 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Harvest Time
2. Desvairada
3. J.S. Bach: The Goldberg Variations
4. Scrapple From The Apple
5. Fisher's Hornpipe
6. Stranded In Kodiak
7. The Saga Of Harrison Crabfeathers
8. Hey Ho!
9. Something Quite Trifling
10. What A Blast!
11. Shamrock Shore

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

Listening to Into the Cauldron, a collection of mandolin duets by Mike Marshall and Chris Thile, can be a frustrating experience--in the best possible way. It's definitely not the playing. Marshall, a veteran of such seminal acoustic bands as the David Grisman Quintet, and Thile, the mandolin wunderkind of Nickel Creek, sound better than ever. No, the problem is in the variety of styles on display. After hearing Marshall and Thile dance across the strings on "Fisher's Hornpipe," you'll wish this CD was a collection of fiddle tunes. When they trade licks on "Scrapple from the Apple," you long for more bop tunes. Their too-brief version of one of Bach's Goldberg Variations only whets your appetite for a mandolin version of the complete composition. And the duo's original tunes seamlessly blend elements from all of these styles, and more, as if mixing James Brown's rhythms, Bill Monroe's melodies, and Stravinsky's harmonies is the most natural thing in the world. Listening to Into the Cauldron is frustrating because it's only one CD, and Marshall and Thile obviously have more than enough musical ideas to fill a dozen more. --Michael Simmons

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Its like they're each trying their best to make the other sound better.
Robert McClanahan
If you're thinking about buying it, just go ahead an buy it; it's worth the money.
S.Haig
Their music is so pure and true that it does true justice to bluegrass.
Sarah Caesar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mark J. Fowler VINE VOICE on August 22, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have been absolutely playing the spots off of this CD.... I'm becoming addicted. I won't repeat what others have written about the credentials of Mike Marshall and Chris Thile - they're two mandolin virtuosos FAR beyond any who ever recorded to my knowledge and let's leave it at that.
The whole dad-gummed thing is almost painfully good, but here are a few highlights...
Charlie Parker's Scrapple From the Apple - they play so cool and funky.... you know how you hear a good jazz player diddlin' around and you think "Man, I'd like to hear this guy just cut LOOSE on something?" Well.... this song is these two cut LOOSE at their cool, funky, jazzy best.
Fisher's Hornpipe - Alison Krauss also plays this on the Mark O'Connor, Yo Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer CD Appalachian Waltz..... BUT with all due respect to those four fine musicians (and I love MOC, Yo Yo, Alison, etc).... You've just got to hear this recording to believe it - you remember that album Marshall and Darol Anger did 20 years ago, The Duo? Well, THIS album, and this cut in particular is like Marshall has been practicing for 20 years and waiting for someone who could keep up.... and along comes The Kid (the family nickname for the prodigiously talented barely 20-something Chris Thile) with his mandolin loaded for BEAR.
Their Fisher's Hornpipe isn't just good, it isn't just hot.... it absolutely crackles with sizzling intensity. They alternately glide gracefully along the strings, then put in mind-teasing syncopy then play sizzling, raging passages.... the only thing that comes to mind to compare is Eric Johnson' Masterpiece "Cliffs of Dover".
I agree with others who have said that this recording just whets your appetite for the potpourri of styles that Mike and Chris are absolute masters of. Classical? Check out the Goldberg Variations.
How good can a recording of two guys playing mandolins be?
This good.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kim A Miller on December 16, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This CD is a collection of original works and covers by diverse artists. The styles include classical, jazz, celtic and unique variations on progressive acoustic forms. Once you've sorted out who is playing (Chris on the left, Mike on the right), you begin to recognize the elegant, frenetic and a bit more subdued playing of Chris Thile and the louder, less precise and some would argue fuller tones of Mike Marshall. Many of the compositions are exceptional. However, the acoustics feel a bit distant as if you were in a room with too many echoes to be optimal for acoustic listening. I felt there was too much strumming, but this is a slight gripe. Also, in the interest (apparently) of trying everything you can do with mandolins, there is an excessive amount of banging and thudding. Some of this works. Some of it seems like noise. Overall, there is a lot of genius to enjoy on this progressive acoustic collection.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ted E on August 5, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Genius meets genius. No other way to describe it, and the unbelievable result of its "sum being greater than its parts" will leave virtually every mandolinist recovering from bruises on the jaw from hitting the floor. The rendition of "Scrapple from the Apple" itself is enough to own this CD. If their isn't a Grammy nomination in the hopper on this, their truly is no justice.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Pharoah S. Wail VINE VOICE on September 28, 2003
Format: Audio CD
For whatever reason, it took me a while to get around to getting this one. Been meaning to grab it since it came out but just never did. I think my recent pre-order of Sam Bush and David Grisman's Hold On We're Strumming finally pushed me to get this one. Now that I have it, I really don't know why I waited so long.

Actually, I am enjoying the fact that I got these 2 cds at more-or-less the same time. They are an excellent contrast to one another. Two cds, both featuring two mandolin greats playing together... similar? Not at all. First off, this disc is a true duo. No guests, just Thile and Marshall. The Bush & Grisman disc with all its guests frequently has a group sound. The overall vibe is that the Bush & Grisman comes across as being more roots-oriented, even when Bush is doing his funkier stuff. Into The Cauldron somehow seems to be this sort of completely progressive album. Previous people have mentioned technical ability and that sort of thing, to which I'd still say that Radim Zenkl is the most technically outrageous, jaw-dropping, dazzling mandolinist I've ever heard (plus he has a massive gift for melody), but really, who is counting? Thile and Marshall are mind-benders themselves and they play wonderfully together. Also be sure to check out Burma (Myanmar) for 2 fantastic mandolinists!

I still think Thile's tone isn't as full and round as Mike's is, and Mike tends to have a more melodic flair to his playing, but when both guys are playing together it's easier to forget that Thile still leans more towards the technical side while Mike hits you right in the heart. Quite often I do love what Thile does, but sometimes I do get the feeling that he's doing this or that for no other reason than to make sure you know he can do it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Wiegers on May 13, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I'm an addict of all things mandolin, so I was eagerly anticpating this CD like none other. I picked it up at a Mike Marshall show, and WOW. The chemistry and interplay between these guys is stunning, and their range of musical styles and compositions is certainly deep and wide. Be aware that the entire recording is simply two mandolins (Mike picks up his mandocello for one track). This really isn't for background music, in my opinion: it's for enthusiastic if not intense study at least at first, and exhilarating and inspiring listening for years to come.
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