[22 April 2013]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Like me, you may have been exposed to the mysterious sounds of composer/violinist Jocelyn Pook thanks to a rather non-erotic orgy scene involving New York’s upper crust. More than 10 years after Eyes Wide Shut, Pook’s intoxicating mix of classical and world music hasn’t changed a great deal, though the context for her projects do jump around, given her reputation for taking up commissions and collaborations.
This time, Desh is meant to accompany a stage production of the same name by English/Bangladeshi dancer Akram Khan. Pook weaves collected sounds from her travels to Bangladesh through her minimally laced string motifs. The Bulgarian Orchestra adds weight to the sound while a rotating cast of eight vocalists invoke chants for “Hallelujah”, “Ave Maria” as well as a handful of other tracks. Desh could be an overall compelling package in the flesh. But without the visual component for which it was written, its use of repetition and formulaic structure prevent it from standing on its own as an album.