Thursday, July 13, 2006

Avro Pärt: Tabula Rasa

This is another album I've really been looking forward to. I really would like to expand my appreciation for classical music and given Tim Bray's recent glowing review of this album I figured I'd give it a listen. So I followed his advice and actually bought a shiny plastic disc from, and it arrived yesterday.

I like it. I really like it. And it's perfect for this office environment, because I can just play it, and when I need to take my head out of the code for a while, it's right there for me to get into.

Pärt's wikipedia entry describes him as a "minimalist", which I think I can see. The first two tracks are definitely not what I'm used to from classical music, but they're great. Even though the music itself isn't - for lack of a better word - crowded, there's still plenty there to absorb.

I will say, though, that the last 5 minutes of Tabula Rasa sound like the orchestra is filing out of the studio. People are dropping shit on the floor, clearing their throats, sounds like some guy is rolling around a cart or something. Is this gross indecency or some classical 'effect' of which I am unaware, like Syd Barrett slipping little animal squeaks into his songs?

Just as with Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, I think my unfamiliarity with the genre led to some pretty poor preconceptions. I'll admit that the first time I heard this album I thought it sounded more like a movie soundtrack than a classical piece. A couple more listens knocked that idea out of my head though.

Altogether, a great album. Definitely worth the $20 or so that I paid for it - which is something I haven't done in a long, long time. I reckon the last album I bought was probably Radiohead's Kid A - what a goddam disappointment that was. Tabula Rasa: 4 apples / 5 oranges.


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