The loss of one's mother is an inevitable event. Coming to terms with it is a process, and it's different for everyone. Rob Mazurek's mother passed away, and like all of us he had to make sense of it. His choice was to record a sonic tribute to her. The disc begins with a few hesitant, uneasy notes on cornet and the ringing of bells. Throughout a box filled with shakers, paper, flute, and other objects is investigated, each employed at separate times to push the music forward. Even the container itself is used as an instrument. There are moments where two sounds are happening at once, but for the most part a single sound event occupies the sonic landscape, announces itself, and makes way for the next.
The results are spartan, at times recalling an imagined Egyptian funerary ceremony or some other ancient, ritualistic send-off. The lack of interplay with other ideas/musicians/instruments makes it sound more like a series of sound events than a composition however. At one point Mazurek chants a simple phrase over and over in hushed, solemn phrasing. It isn't until the final track that the familiar Mazurek reveals himself as an ascending musical figure emerges. A rumbling cloud of noise materializes as the energy rises and carries us off to the unknown, accompanied by a stark rhythmic pulse of static.
This LP raises a few questions. Does it stand alone as interesting on it's own without the back-story? If nothing else it's an intimate expression, at times the sound of breath is so close you may think he's standing next to you. If nothing else it's an anomaly in his vast body of work. I am quite a fan of his music, and have become intimate with his records as I have reviewed quite a few. Glimmers of his bag of tricks appear throughout, but this record stands alone in his discography. If you have lost your mother, and I hope you haven't, you may try this out. If you are simply a fan of his music or curious about sound in general, this piece offers much. This LP is certainly a must for fans of his work, but perhaps not the best place to start for newbies. It's a personal affair to be sure, although he has chosen to make it public, and hopefully it helps others cope with their loss.
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