Giancinto Scelsi / Marianne Schuppe Incantations

Every once in a while a piece of music comes into your sphere of listening and you wonder how in the world this stuff ever came into being and how you ever missed it. This CD of microtonal voice compositions is possibly one the most intense yet strangely static experiences that have come my way in a long while. Scelsi was an Italian composer who passed away in 1988. In his musical life he developed from the music of 20th century classical form into the realm of microtonal music where he cut his own path in the exploration of the subtle shifts of articulation and phrasing. The music on this disc is sparse in its execution, being primarily performed by a single voice with the addition of a second on tape for four out of the 13 tracks. This austerity manages to intensify the experience to the point of an almost spiritual level, but at the same time is as ecstatic and pagan as any good orgy. As an insight into the scope of microtonality, it is invaluable as some of the pieces are literally based on one note. Some of the tracks gives one the idea that Diamanda Galas spent some time listening to Scelsi and one of the most interesting things about the CD is that some of these "songs” are reinterpretations of instrumental works. Sheer brilliance! (New Albion)