Album Remarks & Appraisals:
All About Jazz - Glenn Astarita
Aaron Novik blends the readings of the Kabbalah into a nouveau, borderless set of musical inferences, combining horns, strings, electronics and disparate instrumentation with Jewish mysticism and man's destiny into a shadowy portraiture. Featuring ominous passages and weighty movements, the San Francisco-based leader integrates his electric clarinet amid a cavalcade of psycho-rock sorties and lean improvisational segments, embedded into an ultra-progressive program.
Here, Jewish traditional music is often low-key, but suitably presented in various forms and flavors. However, Novik and his large ensemble override the core elements with contemporary chamber movements, electro-acoustic metrics, and pulsating arrangements, featuring Carla Kihlstedt's scorching electric violin solos.
Eminent guitarist Fred Frith incorporates avant-rock treatments as Cornelius Boot's bizarre robot clarinet lines offer a portentous bottom-end. Within various theme-building escapades dispersed throughout these five movements that follow the Kabbalah, Novik and his cohorts impart guerilla tactics via alien-like treatments and moments that summon a day of reckoning mindset. ... read more...
All About Jazz - Eyal Hareuveni
Secret of Secrets is the most ambitious project to date by Bay Area composer and clarinetist Aaron Novik. This dark and epic, deeply personal composition draws its inspiration from the writings of the late 12th century mystic Rabbi Eleazar Rokeach, known as Rabbi Eleazar of Worms. The Rabbi's masterwork, the five-book Secret of Secrets, deals with different mysteries of the spiritual realm, delving into these hidden worlds and divulging the true names of god, the secrets of the divine chariot, angels and even how to make a golem - an animated anthropomorphic being, created entirely from inanimate matter.
Novik's five-part composition attempts to transform the cryptic Kabbalistic texts using gematria, the Jewish system of assigning numerical value to a word, translating the texts into contemporary classical compositional techniques with references to different klezmer dances, avant-rock, metal, world music and improvisation. Novik's materializes his musical vision with some of the best forward-thinking musicians living in the Bay Area, including guitarist Fred Frith, violinist Carla Kihlstedt and clarinetist Ben Goldberg. ... read more...
Personnel: Aaron Novik (electric clarinet, percussion, programming); Fred Frith (guitar); Alisa Rose, Irene Fraser (violin); Carla Kihlstedt (electric violin); Dina Maccabee (viola); Jessica Ivry (cello); Ben Goldberg (clarinet); Henry Hung (trumpet, flugelhorn); Adam Theis (trombone); Jamie Dubberly (bass trombone); Doug Morton (tuba); William Winant (vibraphone, glockenspiel, tubular bells, gong); Aaron Kierbel (dumbek).
Audio Mixer: Myles Boisen.
Recording information: Guerilla Recording, Oakland; Mills College, Oakland; New, Improved Recording, Oakland.
Editor: Carlos Arredondo.
Photographer: Mark Wilson .
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