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VASSILIS TSABROPOULOS, ANJA LECHNER, U.T. GANDHI.
Melos.

ECM 2048, 64.16, www.ecmrecords.com
Review by Steve Koenig

Let me state at the outset that this disc calls for close listening and, perhaps, high volume. In the background, it's too easy to ignore the intricate interplay and by default hear this as mood musick

For many, the draw of this disc will be the three tracks based on compositions by the mystic, Gurdjieff, but this trio is entrancing in its own right. This is a followup to a disc, 2004's Chants, Hymns and Dances, also using Gurdjieff compositions, which I haven't heard. Cellist Lechner is well-known from her ECM New Series classical discs. Greek pianist Tsabropoulos wrote all the compositions, save the three attributed to Gurdjieff, which add Lechner to the arranging credits.

My first impression of the first and title track, "Melos," was Chopin meets Yiddische yearning. Of course, these aural images are universal. Tsabrous' repeating, tinkling piano motif and Lechner's aching cello are beautiful. This is the basic structure for the majority of tracks: piano motifs which repeat and evolve, sometimes to the point of '60s minimalism; folk-flavored cello melodies which sometimes swing and often yearn; and Italian percussionist Gandhi's shimmering support which is perhaps too low in the mix, but serves as connective tissue between the piano and cello; lots of cymbal and brush punctuated with low-bass drum taps. Gurdjieff's "Tibetan Dance" has many changes and chords one stereotypically associates with American Indian music.

Quite beautiful.



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