Rachael Elliott

Polka the Elk

by Deanne Sole

12 September 2011

 
cover art

Rachael Elliot

Polka the Elk

(Unfinished Side)
US: 15 Sep 2011
UK: Import

Polka the Elk is built around a bassoon. The bassoon, smiling and shining with a round sunny golden glow, is played by Rachael Elliot of Clogs, and most of the composition work was done by one of Clogs’ co-founders, Padma Newsome, who also composed the group’s 2010 song cycle, The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton, an album I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word about. He composed the Elk‘s title track and a longer piece, “With Eyes Cast Down”, a charismatic exploitation of a chamber group’s nimbleness, its ability to jump from a sudden low sound to a sharp high without the weight of an orchestra hanging off its ankles. There’s an Eastern European/Early Music tartness in here that made me think of Michael Nyman before they sapped him over the head with The Piano. The rest of the album is taken up with “Press Release”, a bassoon version of David Lang’s 1991 work for bass clarinet, and Tawnie’s Olson’s “À Mon Seul Désir”—the bassoon drawls at an itchy piano—and “Bed and Rest”, a group composition, warmer and more indie than the rest, a glance back at the musicians’ collaborations with Sufjan Stevens, et al.

Polka the Elk

Rating:

 

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.

 


//comments
//Mixed media
//Blogs

20 Questions: Nashville Singer-Songwriter Natalie Hemby

// Sound Affects

"Natalie Hemby's Puxico is a standout debut from a songwriter who has been behind the scenes for over a decade.

READ the article