Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Julius Eastman - Femenine: Performed By Ensemble 0 [Sub Rosa 501]

Put out on the circuit via the long standing imprint that is Sub Rosa on March 26th, 2k21 is Julius Eastman's "Femenine", performed and executed by experimental project Ensemble 0 three decades after his tragic and untimely death in 1990 at only 50 years of age. As one of the few African-American composers Eastman gained recognition and a certain notoriety within New York's Avantgarde and Experimental Music circles of his time, yet was never as embraced as much as some of his way better known contemporaries. With their 71 minutes take on "Femenine" Ensemble 0 honor and reinterprete Eastman's composition and achievements for a new contemporary audience, providing a beautiful and well enchanting take on this piece that, first and foremost, is played on real life instruments despite a layer of ever morphing, swampy, warped electronic low end movements being present throughout most of the recording. This said "Femenine" is a well repetetive piece with its main motif being layered and slowly altered over the course of many repetetion cycles and carefully intertwined melodic layerings, in parts dabbling with compositional techniques probably derived from Dub, especially when it comes to the brass section of the ensemble, whilst clearly and most certainly coming from an angle and approach highly influenced by Minimal Music despite its rich tonality and harmonies which are also innate to other masterpieces of this genre like Manuel Göttsching's "E2-E4" which unintentionally have exceeded the confined realm of academia or avantgarde circles they never were meant for in the first place. This said, some might even file "Femenine" under the flag of ProtoAmbient or Balearic whilst others might be more comfortable with a classification as Modern Classical / Contemporary Classical music. But no matter what your take on this question is - there's absolutely no doubt that this album and original composition are absolutely timeless and deserve to become canon in the ever growing list of essential albums each and every musical connaisseur need to add to their collection. Instant classic.

Album artwork on Instagram!


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