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Listen to#5:
"Beside a Liquid Land"
realaudio download

Listen to#5:
"Beside a Liquid Land"
DSL/Cable realaudio stream

This disc is rooted deeply in Jon Iverson's love of Balinese gamelan, but it's not a gamelan record. How could it be? It uses traditional gamelan instruments (among others), and Jon has studied the music and its performance techniques---he obviously respects them---but this music cannot ever truly be considered Balinese as Jon hears gamelan as an outsider. However, outsiders can hear things in new ways---and that is what Jon has done here. Using the interlocking rhythms and polyphonic stratification of gamelan music, he has produced a portal into a new sonic world. The disc opens with a subtly swelling wash of gong overtones, as fat as pillows, before embarking on a pulsing, relentless march through different percussive landscapes---think of Steve Reich's [Drumming] without the phased decay element and you'll be in the very general neighborhood, although Jon hearkens as much to Brian Eno's sonic explorations as to the rules of either third world or classical music. Just as it melds cultural references, [Alternesia] takes what it needs from different instrumental traditions. In addition to the traditional drums and idiophones of the gamelan, Jon has added sampled bass "in just a couple of tiny spots," some evocative flute (played by Robert Rich, who mastered this recording), and a smattering of non-traditional instruments. Think of [Alternesia] as a 46-minute vacation to an alternative world. The normal rules don't apply (do they ever on a vacation?). I like traveling to [Alternesia]. I return there often---and I look forward to taking many more trips with Jon in the future.

- Wes Phillips, Stereophile Magazine

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