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Vladimir Martynov – Night In Galicia (CD, Long Arms)

Posted: February 11th, 2009, by Justin Snow

Vladimir Martynov is a very special Russian composer. He’s one who is primarily interested in minimalist, avant-garde, and religious music. I’d venture a guess that there aren’t very many of his type. Night In Galicia takes all of his fascinations, churns ’em up, and spits out a stunning and endlessly intriguing piece of work.

Galicia is a little over an hour long with 13 separate tracks but it’s the 15 minute opener that stands out as the epic focal point. It starts out nice and pure, with a man and woman going back and forth, unnervingly reciting the various pronunciations of our alphabet’s vowels. When I first played this, my wife hated it. She wouldn’t let me get past the 2 minute mark, which is a shame, because that’s exactly where it gets a bit more dynamic. More and more vocals come in and they form some sort of syncopated beat. Eventually, everything bursts into a grandiose chorus that sounds halfway African and makes you want to stomp your feet and and break out in tribal dance. It’s seriously amazing and hypnotic. The CD could end there and it wouldn’t even matter. But there’s still another 50 minutes left to knock you off you feet.

The remaining songs on Night In Galicia alternate between edgy orchestral string drones and majestic vocal work that brings me to the same place as Yoshi Wada’s Lament For The Rise & Fall Of The Elephantine Crocodile. The moods may be dissimilar but the technique and approach are very much alike. And considering how highly I regard Lament, that is one honorable compliment.

My guess is that Galicia might take some getting used to. Granted, that’s only due to my wife’s reaction, but I guess it never hurts to take precautions. I was immediately hooked but it’s possible this might be considered a “tough listen.” If you’re feeling brave, give it a go. I know I’m new here so my word doesn’t mean much, but I 100% recommend this record and will defend it indefinitely.

Vladimir Martynov (Long Arms bio) (Wikipedia)
Long Arms Records

Justin Snow

Justin resides on Lon Lon Ranch in Massachusetts with his wife and two magical bunnies who help him raise a herd of lifegiving milk cows. A childhood encounter with the evil lord Ganondorf brought about his love of music genres involving the words DOOM, DEATH and DESTRUCTION. Justin also enjoys watching films, playing Ludo and eating popsicles.


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