Thursday, May 10, 2007

Lubomyr Melnyk- one man minimalism, no tricks

Minimalism is a music that produces a strange beauty. It doesn't sweep you off your feet so much as it slowly, stealthy inhabits you. Its gentle, lulling repetitions are perfect for meditation, deep thinking or just unwinding if that's what you want.

Even for music fans not familiar with the music itself, the names Terry Riley and Steve Reich are (or should be) pretty much known by now. One name you probably haven't heard or are familiar with (I definitely wasn't) is Lubomyr Melnyk, which sounds like a name that Woody Allen would give his character in one of his movies. The real Melnyk devised "KMH," a 50-minute solo piano piece in Toronto in the late 70's inspired by a dance company. This wonderful piece of music originally came out in 1979 in a limited edition and now gets a re-release courtesy of the Unseen Worlds label. While Riley used tape manipulation and Reich used ensembles to craft their magical music, Melnyk only relies on his two hands to produce a steady flow of music that's so rich and vibrant that you can't believe that one guy alone was responsible for it.

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