Pauline Oliveros: Primordial Lift (cd)

Pauline Oliveros: Primordial Lift (cd)

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This is the Table of the Elements cd.

The musical output of Pauline Oliveros has centered around "deep listening"--the mesmerizing sounds of long notes with plenty of sustain and subtle, slight variations. The accordion is the perfect tool for her hypnotic compositions, but on Primordial Lift, she increases the instrumentation to include electric violin, cello, harmonium, and oscillator, and she collaborates with an all-star cast of New Music's elite (Tony Conrad, David Grubbs). The results are entrancing, to say the least. The 14-minute long "Primordial" flutters and drones with enough instrumentation changes to keep things interesting. But on the longer "Lift," the music changes more organically, with sonics that ebb against haunting vocals, keyboard and violin solos, and a sense of imminent crescendo that never actually hits you. It's hypnotic in the way that only Oliveros can be, and it's one of her finest compositions to date. For all the abrasion here, there's plenty of subtlety, too. --Jason Verlinde