eMusic Review 0
John Luther Adams (not to be confused with the Bay Area’s John Adams, of “Nixon in China” fame) has lived for much of his career in Alaska, though he has recently moved to warmer climes. But the Arctic, and especially the impact of human activity on the environment there, continues to haunt his works. JLA, as he is almost universally known, has created a series of soundscapes, for various combinations of strings, voices, taped and/or electronic sounds, that have explored the vast expanses of the Arctic and the long and largely harmonious existence of Native cultures there. Inuksuit is perhaps his ultimate Arctic soundscape.
Named for the stone cairns or markers that dotted the land for centuries in the far north, this piece is ostensibly for a small army of percussionists, but it is full of natural sounds, noisemakers (rain sticks, whirlies) and horns — not sophisticated orchestral or band instruments, but simple horns that sound like centuries-old hunting calls. It is an immersive experience, intended to blur the distinction between “concert music” and the sounds of the earth around us. It should, therefore, never work as a recording.
But this performance, by a 34-piece troupe led by Doug Perkins and recorded… read more »