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Copal

Into the Shadow Garden

(self-released; US: 10 Mar 2010; UK: Import)

Sinuous

New York-based violin maestro Hannah Thiem is the driving force behind Copal, a musical collective that draws inspiration from the vague but recognizable tropes collectively referred to as “world music”. Most tunes feature Thiem’s fluid violin at their center; lead track “Roots” provides a good example of the group’s template. Other elements—varied percussion, lilting Middle-Eastern rhythms, the occasional non-English vocal—provide seasoning. The six-song set clocks in at over 37 minutes, so individual tunes have plenty of room to stretch and breathe, but the propulsive drums and snaky, sinuous melodies ensure that the energy rarely flags. Some songs, notably the dreamy “Ether” and closing track “Shadows”, with its hypnotic rhythms, approach something like transcendence without ever sinking into New Age mush.

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DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


Tagged as: copal | hannah thiem
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Copal - "Roots" (live)
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