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Strange Imaginary Animals


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Audio CD, November 28, 2006
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$17.43 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 28, 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Cedille Records
  • ASIN: B000K2UF26
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,465 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Zaka (Jennifer Higdon)
2. violence (Gordon Fitzell)
3. Indigenous Instruments mvmt I (Steven Mackey)
4. Indigenous Instruments mvmt II
5. Indigenous Instruments mvmt III
6. Friction Systems (David M. Gordon)
7. evanescence (Gordon Fitzell)
8. strange imaginary remix (Dennis DeSantis)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

About the Artist

Formed in 1996, eighth blackbird is one of the world's premier new music ensembles. Winners of numerous awards, including the Naumburg Chamber Music Award, the Concert Artists Guild Competition, and several ASCAP/CMA Awards for Adventurous Programming, they are currently in residence at the University of Richmond in Virginia and the University of Chicago. Their past seasons have included performances in South Korea, Poland, Mexico, and throughout the United States and Canada. The group made their Carnegie Hall debut premiering David Schober's Split Horizon: Concerto for Sextet and Orchestra with the American Composers Orchestra in 2004. They have been featured on "CBS Sunday Morning," National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," and in The New York Times. eighth blackbird is represented by ICM Artists, Ltd. ensemble.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Sor_Fingers on March 16, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This is definately Eighth Blackbird's strangest release thus far. This recording includes many cage rattling works in the new music world I've ever heard. While there are many works on this album that are exciting additions to the new music scene, there are a few cuts on this album that are either out of place or simply unmoving.

The Jennifer Higdon work on this recording, "Zaka" is easily the strongest track. The piece is very rhythmically exciting and Higdon uses a lot of interesting colors throughout the piece. The way the piece unfolds is absolutely captivating. We hear pianos being strummed, mutted piano sounds, screaming winds and fantastic percussion work. This piece is really the cornerstone of the record, and it's worth buying for the 13 minutes of excitement that this piece exhibits. Unfortunately, the record goes downhill from here.

The next works, Gordon Fitzell's "Violence" and Steven Mackey's three movement "Indigenous Instruments" are both fine pieces, but do not possess the accesability and ease of listening that Higdon's work does. Violence is a stream of generally quiet sounds and light timbres. The piece really depicts the destruction instead of the aggression of violence. Indigenous Instruments has many pleasing moments in it, but unfortunately, there are many places where I get lost in the music.

The last three tracks on the album constitute the weakest parts of the album. David M. Gordon's "Friction Systems" is 15 minutes of outright unpleasing dissonance. Not that dissonance doesn't have a place in music, but where there is tension, there needs to be release of some kind. Fitzell's other piece on the album, "Evanescence" isn't even dissonant, it's just noise. It's too hard to tell what actual instruments are being used here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Django Rienhardt on June 22, 2011
Format: Audio CD
After listening to this CD several times, Eighth Blackbird's music has gotten under my skin and now I realize how original and exciting this music really is. This seems to be a promising path for modern classical music where different musical genres are fused together to create a truly unique aesthetic. "Indigenous Instruments" seems to be the product of Brian Eno meeting Milton Babbit while "Friction Sytems" sounds like a 21st century Prokofiev.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Autonomeus on February 9, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I had the opportunity to see eighth blackbird live on April 2, 2011 at Kennesaw State University north of Atlanta. It was a great concert! The group has a fantastic sense of theater, a kinetic presentation quite distinct from most classical music. And the group's repertoire and sound is distinctly American, strongly post-minimalist, and more indirectly reflecting a jazz influence, especially in its strong percussiveness. That night they played "Music in Similar Motion" by Glass, an excellent Reich-influenced piece by Stephen Hartke, and two choral pieces by the young Nico Muhly, one a commissioned world premiere for a KSU ensemble, with Muhly in attendance. They also performed John Cage's "Aria," with woodwind player Tim Munro singing the wild vocals, which was quite a spectacle!

This recording, which I picked up after the show, won a 2007 Grammy Award for contemporary chamber music. It was recorded at Ball State University in August, 2005. Of the six compositions, I find four to be quite compelling, and the other two not quite as much. "Zaka" (2003 -- 12'50) leads off, a rhythmic piece by Jennifer Higdon. Definitely one of the disc's strongest pieces, it gets things off to a high-energy start, and clearly demonstrates the group's strengths of tight interplay and percussive quality that are so evident in their live performance. Gordon Fitzell's "violence (2001 -- 9'46) is a low-key piece that doesn't work nearly as well. The violence must be repressed, because there is nothing in the writing that would indicate that concept to the listener. Steven Mackey's "Indigenous Instruments" (1989 -- 17'34) is the oldest work here. In three parts, it is often humorous, but I find that it doesn't work for its entire length.

David M. Gordon's "Friction Systems (2002; rev.
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By rmager on April 4, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Is there a better musical ensemble than this? We are truly blessed to have Eighth Blackbird. How refreshing it is to have music at this level. Avant-garde just doesn't get the airplay it needs to grow. Cds of this caliber need to become standard in anyones library. I tip my hat to these musicians and their performance. Music outside the norm is my passion. This is very passionate music.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Valerie Jeanne on February 12, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I like everything about this CD, and now there are two more reasons to like it:
1. This CD just received a Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance.
2. Producer Judith Sherman was also awarded a Grammy for Best Classical Producer.
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