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Strange Toys by Joan Jeanrenaud

Longtime cellist with the cutting-edge chamber ensemble Kronos Quartet, Joan Jeanrenaud developed these works over several years, as a result of experimentation and personal exploration. Kronos largely delves into interpretations of prominent artists work. But here, the cellist executes these self-penned pieces while employing EFX treatments amid collaborations with various musicians such as mallet master Willie Winant among others performing on various tracks.

One of the more captivating aspects of this outing pertains to the magnetic flow that becomes quite persuasive as the program unfolds. Ethereal, minimalist, and avant in spots, Jeanrenaud establishes ostinato-based rhythmic motifs during many of these works. For example, on the opening piece "Sling Shot," she implements extended bowed lines while underscoring matters with a timely pluck of a string, which in effect, creates a metronome-like sense of time. Then she uses subtle EFX treatments to intertwine contrasting layers of sound into her introspective, yet largely melodic voicings.

Winant renders a simple vibes motif atop Jeanrenaud’s staccato phrasings on "Livre," where she delves inward and casts a notion that might be akin to someone seeking the answers to life’s debacles. In sum, Jeanrenaud’s music is an aural treat as she fuses many characterizations and sub-plots into her game-plan. And the overall results are simply splendid.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Joan Jeanrenaud
  • CD Title: Strange Toys
  • Genre: Other
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Talking House Records
  • Rating: Four Stars
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