Review of Turning Towards The Light by Adam Rudolph Go: Organic Guitar Orchestra, Cuneiform Records, 2015
I have to thank Marco Cappelli for introducing me to Adam Rudolph. I confess that before our pleasant and convivial meeting in Venice in March 2016 I had not yet had the opportunity to know his music and especially his rich and original musical thought.
Rudolph shows a simply extraordinary career as a percussionist and a composer, with an awesome knowledge about African and Indian ethnic. Experience built slowly and directly on the field, something very far from the kind of simulated experiences that we live daily in our current media society.
His latest record shows a further evolution of his project Go Organic Orchestra having him busy directing and coordinating the activities of a list of excellent musicians like Rez Abbasi, Nels Cline, Liberty Ellman, David Gilmore, Miles Okazaki, Marvin Sewell, Damon Banks, Marco Capelli, Jerome Harris, Joel Harrison and Kenny Wessel.
This record goes back to 2014 winter solstice, very special date, in which Rudolph has met all these guitarists, among the most adventurous in New York’s music scene, to achieve the thirteen songs included in this Turning Towards The Light. The cd is excellent and it’s a great news for all guitar enthusiasts, here Rudolph applies all his influences and experiences ranging from ethnic music to the musical mechanisms behind the works of contemporary authors such as Messian, Carter, Ligeti, Bartok and above all Toru Takemitsu.
In particular these influences and these studies lead to a particular language called “Cyclic Verticalism,” which combines in a very efficient and interesting way polyrhythms taken from African music to rhythmic cycles taken by the Indian music. Guitarists can move within these structures, a kind of stable musical orbits with which communicate and express themselves through improvisational structures. The constant use of polyrhythms and curious musical intervals make this music almost liquid, irridiscent and surprisingly meditative. Each guitarist is free to enrich and to bring his influences so the result is a fresh melange particularly passionate and always on the move, I heard several times this record and I was unable to grasp a center around which the music revolves, it seems to witness a curious and complicated Victorian mechanism, a series of elegant orbits that move between themselves in synchronism so perfect as difficult to decipher, and allow the music to flow and breathe showing every time new aspects.
By coincidence I listened to the same period the last Steve Reich’s record called “Radio Rewrite” and I was struck by certain similarities. Although the Reich’s music is based on very well defined structures and decided right from the start, without the use of improvisation, even in his music you can always find new elements that emerge every time different. The same can be said for the music of Organic Guitar Orchestra, it changes every time or rather changes each time the way you listen to it, I think this is a consequence of the structures and musical forms used by Adam Rudolph that allow guitars to express themselves in unconventional and innovative ways without forcing them into rigid structures. A great record, I hope to see the complete Guitar Orchestra playing alive!