Thursday, June 6, 2013
Wadada Smith and TUMO: "Occupy the World"
With regard to rhythm, here too he does not work within traditional structures. His rhythms are not based on specific tempi, but rather "through a proportional structuring of the music's geometrical forms." Lines have proportions to others, but as I understand it within the lines the tempi are free choices by the players.
So knowing the sonics, what about the intent? This is a CD based upon the Occupy Movement from 2011 to the present and the freedom and energy that it has unleashed on the world. It is about diversity, courage, a larger notion of unity and freedom, and of hope for the future. Each piece is fully described in the booklet -- the name of the composition, the sections of the piece and the players. Smith elaborates on his choices and intent thorughout each one.
In the end I am finding more and more small gems within the larger constructs each time I listen, and finding a fuller understanding of those sections that at first sound more like noise than composition. Sections of "Mount Kilimangaro" for example are spritely with strings and flutes, but then abruptly followed by a passage of dissonant string play and foreboding percussion. However, taken as a whole one can see the compositions as stories, as a sonic backdrop to a visual in one's mind of a hike up Kilimangaro. Smith's trumpet play on "Crossing on a Southern Road" is crystaline, pure, and emphatic, played over some unusual and other-worldly sounding parts within the orchestra in support. Together it becomes a very moving passage in the 25 minute piece, which also inlcudes some moving string parts.
In the end, I think I can best describe this as a challenging listen but one that rewards the prepared mind. Not a CD to put on for pure enjoyment, but not unenjoyable either. It's like going to the movies -- some are designed for pure enjoyment and pleasure, some for thought and reflection. This one's for thought and reflection.