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Angelica Sanchez & Marilyn Crispell

How To Turn The Moon

Review by Gary Hill

This is quite an intriguing album. It's very artistic. The two musicians here are piano players, but some of this involves sounds - like ringing the strings without using the keys and hammers - that are not traditionally thought of as piano playing. The music here is also not traditional. I've put it under progressive rock, but there is no rock here. This is fairly tightly connected to the Rock In Opposition movement. It's also definitely art music. A cool touch to this is that each musician is isolated to one side of the stereo mix. This is a piano album, but one very different from most piano albums.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Lobe of the Fly

Uneasy piano opens this, and the cut works forward from there. This thing works through all kinds of twists and turns in a psychotic and fast-paced jam that has a real Rock in Opposition feeling to it.

Ancient Dream
This is much quieter than the previous piece. It's also stranger. Weird percussive elements apparently produced by the piano strings are on display and in the driver's seat for much of the first half of the number. The tune turns mellower and yet still disquieting as it continues. This is all piano, but not in the way you might think of piano. It's very artistic and almost non-musical at times. Yet, it's also strangely captivating.
Calyces of Held
More freeform and rather unusual piano playing is at the heart of this number. It does land more in the zone of jazz and classical music, though.
Space Junk
More of a percussive element, like we heard on "Ancient Dream" is on display here. The cut starts to threaten turning more melodic just before it ends.
Ceiba Portal
I like the angular melodies that start this piece quite a bit. The number has a real classical music angle to it. The piano is used more traditionally. It gets pretty crazed as it continues, though. In fact, later portions move toward something that feels rather dangerous and psychotic. After that, though, it turns much more melodic and pretty for a while. This song is over eight-minutes long, and that time is put to good use with a lot of variety built into the number.
Windfall Night
A mellower and less chaotic piece, there is a grounding effect to it for the first half. It's a bit like two songs, though. There is a period of silence mid-track, then the cut twists to more of a strange and unsettling movement. It has a lot of jazz and Rock in Opposition style to it. It's still quite melodic, but not restive at all.
Twisted Roots
The roots that seem twisted on this are classical ones. This really does feel like a classical piece twisted toward weird and almost sinister. This is a short piece.
Sullivan's Universe
There is a real space-like vibe here. There are empty spaces in the sonic tapestry. There is a weirdness, but also some real beauty. It does cover quite a bit of territory in an intriguing arrangement.
Rain in Web
This is a fast-paced and rather noisy number that is chaotic and a bit crazed.
Fires in Space
There is some jazz here, quite a bit actually. It's an energetic and driving piano jam that still manages to be chaotic and strange.
 
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