MEREDITH MONK Do You Be

This release features song excerpts from various long-form theater pieces, the first four coming from Meredith Monk's theater piece Acts From Under and Above, and these are the most jarring on the record. "Scared Song" features English lyrics, minimal accompaniment, and Monk singing harsh, abrasive "scared" sounds. Very unsettling -- and perhaps that is the intention. "Do You Be," a selection from her opera Vessel, features Monk solo on piano and voice with a shrill, piercing wail. Very satisfying. Additional selections from Vessel appear on Monk's 1992 recording Facing North. With one exception, the remaining tracks come from a Monk/Ping Chong science fiction epic opera called The Games, and these more diverse, more exploratory pieces really make the collection work as a recording. A casual listener unfamiliar with the theater pieces may well be put off by the abrasiveness of the first four tracks, which may unfortunately be enough to deter them from the remainder of the recording. But beyond some questionable programming choices, fans of her work will be delighted to see her continuing development as a recording artist.

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