Vespers for a New Dark Age

vespers_sFeel like listening to something different?  Then I can recommend Missy Mazzoli’s 2014 genre defying Vespers for a New Dark Age.  Conceptually it reimagines the traditional vespers prayer service with its, perhaps, archaic formality to explore he way we confront technology, ghosts, death, doubt and God in our “new dark age”.

Structurally there are eight movements run together which set fragments of poems by Matthew Zapruder.  The setting uses vocals, amplified strings, winds, organs, synthesizers and lots of electronics to create a weird and disturbing soundscape of many moods though the overall tone is very dark.

The performance is created by Mazzoli’s ensemble Victoire, Glenn Kotche (of Wilco) and vocalists Mellissa Hughes, Martha Cluver and Virginia Warnken (of Roomful of Teeth).  Electronic production is by synth producer Lorna Dune, who plays a crucial role, and is also responsible for the bonus track; an electronic remix of Mazzoli’s A Thousand Tongues.

The only criticism I have of the disk is that I couldn’t find the texts anywhere.  Sometimes they are clear enough on the recording, sometimes not so much.

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