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Maya Beiser: TranceClassical [Digipak] *

Track List

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Album Remarks & Appraisals:

Maya Beiser, the "reigning queen of the avant-garde cello" (The Washington Post), presents this new release, TranceClassical. A very personal project, Maya says of this album, "TranceClassical started from a washed-out still photo in my mind- me, as a little girl curled with a blanket on my parents' sofa, hearing Bach for the first time, hanging on to every mysterious note coming out of the scratchy LP... the pieces I bring here give me a sense of trance- a reverie and meditation on his place in my heart." A varied program, the album opens with Maya's interpretation of Bach's Air on G, in which she channels the sound of an old vinyl record, spinning on some far-off turntable. Especially notable are Maya's arrangements of Imogene Heap's Hide and Seek and Hildegard von Bingen's O Virtus Sapientiae. "With virtuoso chops, rock-star charisma, and an appetite for pushing her instrument to the edge of avant-garde adventurousness, Maya Beiser is the post-modern diva of the cello." (The Boston Globe)

Album Notes

Audio Mixer: Dave Cook.

Liner Note Author: Maya Beiser.

Photographer: Lili Almog.

Maya Beiser is the star of avant-garde cello, insofar as such a field may have a star. Her work has exerted an appeal beyond traditional classical audiences, which is all to the good. The title TranceClassical namechecks a contemporary trend, but tends to give the wrong idea about the music, which is not particularly trancelike. The opening and final pieces by Bach and Hildegard of Bingen come from the classical canon; Beiser has said that the version of Bach's "Air on the G string," backed by an electronic evocation of a scratched-up LP record, was inspired by her memories of hearing the piece in just such a way as a child. But most of the music takes rock or contemporary classical music as a point of departure, and you'd have a hard time working up a trance to any of it. Beiser plays her cello, sings, and adds electronic layers, accomplishing various kinds of dialogue among the three realms her music inhabits. Only in David T. Little's Hellhound (track eight), inspired rather than based on Robert Johnson's "Hellhound on My Trail," does she give the music a heavily rhythmic shape. Instead, sample her take on Lou Reed's "Heroin" (track five), where the cello suggests some of the psychological currents contained in the lyrics of the song. Recommended even for those beyond Beiser's fan base as a piece of work that crosses genres intelligently. ~ James Manheim



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