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Anna Thorvaldsdottir

Rhízōma

(Innova; US: 25 Oct 2011; UK: 25 Oct 2011)

“[T]he beauty of this sonic environment,” wrote Daniel Tacke for the liner notes of Rhízōma, “is in a constant shifting of focus between discovering the richness of detail and marveling at the splendor of the whole.” This focus-shift is not hard to detect, although some listeners have complained that the different pieces of music are too similar, that they play the same tricks, namely, setting up reverberations and then employing embroidery. The “richness of detail” not rich enough to save it from being overwhelmed by the “whole”.


I’d argue against that: I think the idea of multiple lines flowing outward, illustrated on the cover by that drawing of a tree, is executed non-repetitively and with alert variety, particularly in “Dreaming”, which is one of the album’s two big set pieces. The other, “Streaming Arhythmia”, starts by compartmentalizing that “shifting of focus”, giving you strong drum-spasms and then serene string-flow. You don’t shift naturally, you jump. The clever mixing toward the end of “Dreaming”, something like an orchestration of an orchestra tuning up, does the opposite, confusing the shift, disguising it, perhaps making it feel as though you the listener are adjusting the music on your own. More pleasurable, but, if you like, less honest, less upfront.

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