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Speaks Volumes

3.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 23, 2007
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$15.06 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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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.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 23, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Bedroom Community
  • ASIN: B000KCHW2W
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #233,876 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Audio CD
"For centuries society has been preparing for Victor Mature and Mickey Rooney.By destroying they come to fulfill."
Adorno and Horkheimer - Dialectic of Enlightenment

If there is one CD that I own that I would love to toss, but that I can't because I believe that it is "significant", this is that one. The whole simpering Post - Genre thing is a drag. But I feel like the great George Steiner, whose father lifted him up to the window to watch the Anschluss Celebrations in Vienna, saying "Look! This is History!". A defining moment for the young George…to which we owe "Language and Silence", etc.

This is Our World. God knows how we got here, but here we are. The ignorance of the 1 - Star Review here (on Amazon) makes me want to give this disc Five Stars, but I'd rather have a coyote eat off my arm. The dynamics alone - all those "sensitive" crescendos - make me want to scream.

The liner notes are brilliant - necessary to an understanding of what is being attempted - and achieved - here. And, make no mistake, something is achieved. Dismiss this CD at your peril. Maybe the vise - like grip of Late Capitalism has become so omnipresent and inevitable that very strong opiates are the only answer. Resistance is ultimately futile. Lose yourself in yummy quasi - New Age - y timbres, all expertly combined and orchestrated, with a patina of craft and artfulness. This is why I hate the word "experimental" applied to anything coming out of the Pop World. It was fine when they kept it there - let them all believe that using things that come from 100 - Year Old Contemporary Music is "Experimental"! But when it trickles back…

That is what makes this CD confusing, hateful, important. People think they really know what the word "Beauty" means again. Well, they're wrong, but who's gonna tell them? The "Beauty" here is hideous.

Obviously I'm keeping this one.
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