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Speaks Volumes

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Audio CD, January 23, 2007
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$12.07 $7.25
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Clear Music 9:29$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  2. It Goes Without Saying 9:22$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Honest Music 6:19$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Quiet Music 4:38$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Pillaging Music 8:04$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  6. A Hudson Cycle 3:20$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Keep In Touch12:16$0.89  Buy MP3 

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A behind the scene look into the latest recording


Writing choral music is one of my greatest pleasures in life; I was a boy chorister with an addiction to the textures and rapturous moments that define the Anglican choral tradition from the sixteenth century to the twenty-first. My sense of line, melody, and harmony all come from strange, specifically choral sources: a little turn of phrase in a Howells Te Deum setting, or a Tye vocal leap ... Read more in Amazon's Nico Muhly Store

Visit Amazon's Nico Muhly Store
for 7 albums, 3 photos, videos, discussions, and more.

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Speaks Volumes + Nico Muhly: A Good Understanding + Mothertongue
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 23, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: 2007
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Bedroom Community
  • ASIN: B000KCHW2W
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,159 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

2007 release features seven exquisite works of chamber music for small ensembles with Electronics. This debut album by composer Nico Muhly was created with producer Valgeir Sigurdsson (Bj”rk, Bonnie "Prince" Billy) in Reykjavik, Iceland and in New York, Muhly's hometown. Since having graduated from the Juilliard School for composition in 2004, 25 year-old Muhly has been causing significant ripples in modern music circles with a variety of projects. He has collaborated closely with artists as diverse as Antony (from Antony and the Johnsons who guests on Speaks Volumes) and Philip Glass, with whom he's had a long-standing relationship working on numerous stage works and film scores. Muhly played on Bj”rk's album Med£lla where he met Sigurdsson and the idea of working together on an album was soon discussed. He then worked with Bj”rk on the score for conceptual artist Matthew Barney's Drawing Restraint 9 film. Speaks Volumes doesn't sound like most classical records. It is not an idealized version of live musical performance or a substitute for the authentic live experience. It is not intended to conform to the nineteenth-century experience of classical music. Speaks Volumes was approached from a different direction. Sigurdsson's recording and production doesn't sit back and let the music sweep the listener away emotionally; it leans forward in exacting scrutiny and urges the listener to pay attention. Moteer.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Noel A. Hodda on November 3, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I bought this cd some months ago now and have held off reviewing it until I'd lived with it for a while. It is a more disparate album than 'Mothertongue', a work that immediately opened itself to me, consisting as it does of complementary suites. 'speaks volumes' contains seven compositions, each of which should be judged alone. There is a variety of styles in evidence here and at first listen one is tempted to think that they are not all successful but that is a trap the casual listener can often fall into. Like all good music, these pieces take time to reveal their depths and their subtleties. Give this one spin, perhaps even just two or three and you may be tempted, as others have been here, to write it off as mere noise or sound-making but that would be a big mistake. 'Clear Music' becomes more beautiful every time I hear it; 'It Goes Without Saying' exhibits a growing brashness, like a kid growing in confidence; 'Honest Music', 'Quiet Music' and 'Pillaging Music' are the closest thing to a suite here, even though they are discrete pieces. They edge the listener through searching sounds played on violin, harp and then piano until discovery is made and consolidated on percussion, piano and celeste. 'A Hudson Cycle' is a wedding gift I wish I'd received and 'Keep In Touch' exhibits an at times nervous surety in it's mixture of viola accompanying recorded trombone and voice, the latter supplied by Antony from Antony and The Johnsons as short, nervous gestures of sound.

This is a cd that marks Mr. Muhly out as a young composer to watch, a confident modern voice that is not afraid to acknowledge his influences nor so arrogant as to dismiss them. No, it's not party music. But it is music and that music is challenging, approachable, enjoyable and always intriguing.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Headphone Commute on April 1, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Somewhere on the outskirts of Reykjavik lies an Icelandic label formed in 2006 by Valgeir Sigurðsson. Bedroom Community is a collective of artists from around the globe focusing on high quality aesthetic music. Its roster at the moment includes above mentioned Sigurðsson, Sam Amidon, worldwide hailed Ben Frost for his experimental noise album, Theory of Machines (my personal Best of 2007 selection), and our current subject, Nico Muhly. Muhly is a Vermont born NYC resident with a Masters in Music from the Juilliard School. Born in 1981, his biography is already full of collaborations with recognized modern composers like Philip Glass. My brief biographical note will not do Muhly justice, and The New Yorker has done a much better job of it in its article, Eerily Composed (google for it). As for Muhly's music... well it Speaks Volumes itself (pun intended). The first label release is breaks through with gorgeous modern classical chamber composition. With Muhly on the piano, and with an exquisite touch of cello, harp, clarinet, trombone, and yes, some electronic treatment, we get a glimpse into composer's soul through his emotion filled debut. Muhly begins a new chapter of postminimalist sound, overshadowing the stuffy halls of contemporary classical, struggling to keep its aging neck above the flood of modern ideas. Muhly's forthcoming release, Mothertongue, a composition in four movements, is due out in May '08, on Bedroom Community. Recommended for the likes of Arvo Pärt, Steve Reich, Max Richter, Sylvain Chauveau and Ryan Teague. Favorite track: Keep In Touch.
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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful By deb2006 on July 25, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Nico Muhly's music reminds me of a combination of chamber music, Bjoerk's Medulla CD (Muhly actually played the piano on one of the pieces), and Philip Glass / Steve Reich / John Adams (in that order?) influence. The music is exciting, because there are many things happening, and often you wouldn't reall expect them. What's also imortant in this context is the producer, Valgeir Sigurdsson - who is not simply a producer in the classical sense, but who actively influences the music in his very own way.

Do I recommend this? Certainly yes! A very good start - and my personal favorite - is the last song on the CD, "Keep in touch".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mr. brown shoes on January 25, 2010
Format: MP3 Music
This is a complex album with some songs that are pretty user friendly and some that are not. There are definitely songs I skip. It does smack of pretension at times as with many composers who are trying to create true art. Muhly has scored movies with a skilled hand, so it's clear he knows what he's doing and is making conscious choices, not throwing notes together. That being said, I feel very confident that there are times that the notes are not being played exactly as written, but that there is a fair amount of improv, possibly with the score giving directions as to how to create a certain feeling more than actually defining which notes and where.

overall, a good listen. there is a lot of beauty and musicality in this album. sometimes it sounds like the song is playing with itself like a cat and an invisible mouse, that's fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. M. Perkins on April 15, 2008
Format: Audio CD
My first impression upon hearing Joshua was that I had to have the album. Sadly there was no album yet so I was forced to rip the music from the DVD. Then an album came along and it was still missing a few minutes of music. After hearing the complete album, I developed a rare like for Nico Muhly. A rarity in the sense that no first-timer has impressed me this much. I sought out this item and while I enjoyed it, I couldn't help but thinking that it sounded like a kid learning the orchestra for the first time and just playing with notes to see how they work and ironically, they do. This album is a variety of strange musical cues that still manage to surprise me with their simplicity but effectiveness. Couldn't recommend this album more.
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