Somnambule - Writing About Music

Eyvind Kang ~ Virginal Co-ordinates

Virginal Co ordinates refuses orthodox geographies in order to delineate unmapped territories.

Go In A Good Way To A Better Place places dual topographies of the same feeling side by side: a slowly modulating drone is joined by majestic, mourning strings which initially sound western, but reorient halfway through the piece toward the east.

Doorway To The Sun is like a long pilgrimage undertaken on foot through villages, under a canopy of brightest sunlight. Its nearly twenty minutes’ length begins with what sounds like a string section tuning downwards interrupted with resounding acoustic thumps and cracks. After some time (time appears malleable here) violins pluck out a rhythm and act as counterpoint to the streaming, singing, occasionally screaming background which threatens to engulf everything in the same way that glorious mountains may pull the eye unwillingly away from a drama unfolding in the foreground. Voices join chanting, murmuring half intelligible calls (perhaps pleas to spirits):

“ Seven, seven [Severin?] – reveal it
Heavenly firmament – kiss it
Astral intelligence, spirit of the innocent – free them
Liberation – receive them
Interplanetary [...] - feel it
Multiplicity – dissolve it”

That initial observation of dual views of a subject holds true for Occultum Lapidum and Harbour of the NADE, as if an eastern and western view of death and mourning were being contemplated.

Taksim, recounted upon solo guitar, is redolent of midday heat in an eastern port and figures a meditation upon the past and time passing:
Timeless: this music has its own time (a moment of confluence between the medieval and the present);
Placeless: this music traverses its own places (perhaps an island not yet discovered, triangulated at a point between Arabia and India and Europe).

The title track floats, pulses, circles like a bird high in a bright blue sky, or a prayer wheel spinning in slow motion, a neverending ending and beginning altogether.

Innocent Eye, Crystal See trips lightly and purposefully along its path, singing wordlessly but passionately its song which seems to encompass much courage and certainty and joy.

There is a gentle patience mingled with a meditative weariness, a sense of noble acceptance, observable throughout this frequently breathtakingly beautiful music. Beginning with a note of mourning, Virginal Co ordinates traces a cycle which ends with Marriage Of Days whose tablas, bells, flute, strings and voice gradually climb to a momentary plateau and cease suddenly leaving only the drone, signal of the eternal, the ineffable.
Colin Buttimer
July 2003
Published by the BBC