Friday, January 31, 2014

Mike Marshall & The Turtle Island String Quartet AMA 2014

A nuanced texture of lyrical motion, breathtaking!
Brent Black /
To create the harmonic movement over evocative cover art over eleven compositions is no easy task. Mike Marshall & The Turtle Island Quartet are back and on the cutting edge of acoustic music. Expect the unexpected, a new age of harmonic enlightenment as this cutting edge quintet boldly go where most string players fear to tread. The creation of that illusive three dimensional sonic depth of field is the melodic equivalent of catching lighting in a bottle. Mike Marshall & The Turtle Island Quartet raise the bar for critics and the overuse of abstract terms like organic and in doing so have created a cerebral masterpiece that gives up something new with each subsequent spin of the disc.
In further exploration of abstract critical terminology, forget everything you think you know about the term hybrid. This particular release is not a mix of genres and styles but a meticulously crafted and precisely constructed acoustic tale of global flavors and textures that while subtle at times, they are amazingly unidentifiable as the constant lyrical motion propels the listener forward and past the normal form and function of the improvisational music we refer to in the United States as jazz. New classical, ambient world, third-stream are again limiting in both artistic consideration and listener development. There are no preconceived notions with this release. Be the ball. Aside from stellar compositions contributed from Mike Marshall we go from Egberto Gismonti to a spirited arrangement of Robert Johnson's Crossroads as turned in from Darol Anger.
Acoustic virtuoso performance are few and far between with most predictable as technically proficient but lacking the artistic interest to sometimes finish the release. This may well be their finest release, a triumph in every possible sense of the word.
Tracks: Interplay: Shoka, Inner Voices, Rishi's Dance, Thyaga; Brazilian Choro Medley; Eqypt; Loro; House Camp; Gator Strut; Sweets Mill; Crossroads.

Personnel: David BalakrishanL Violin; Mds Toling: Violin; Jeremy Kittel: Viola; Mark Summer: Cello; Mike Marshall: Mandolin and Mandocello