Friday, November 07, 2008

Featured Artist: Nico Muhly

Nico Muhly
is a contemporary classical music composer I've recently had the good fortune of stumbling upon. It's very hard to define exactly the kind of music Muhly, who has worked with artists like Björk and Philip Glass, is creating. Just what is "contemporary classical music"? How do you know if it's "classic" when it's contemporary and still fresh, perhaps too fresh, in the ears?

The simple answer would be that it depends on the type of musical instruments, arrangements and scores being created, and whether it was similar to the works of the recognized classics. Muhly, who is greatly influenced by 16 and 17th century English liturgy and choral music, however, seems to take a different approach. And no, it's not fusion. It's a sort of a minimalistic, stripped down approach to music, celebrating the creative process from a unique place of personal and cultural history and that somehow emerges, seemingly effortlessly, from the artist.

This post's musical piece is in fact the closing piece (in three parts) of Muhly's second album, "Mothertongue", produced and performed together with
Samamidon (Sam Amidon). In his words, it is part of an emotional reaction against the "totally pussified" or "wimpy guitar based thing" folk music that abounds these days and that lacks "blood and guts and infanticide" (featured prominently in the folk songs the piece is based upon).

Nico Muhly - The Only Tune (parts 1-3) (from Mothertongue)
Nico Muhly's picture is from his page.

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