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Thinking Out Loud

Pamelia Kurstin Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 14.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (30 April 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Tzadik
  • ASIN: B000NI3FME
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 412,284 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. London
2. Edinburgh
3. Copingheaven
4. Eschschloraque
5. Creature To People
6. Barrow In Furness
7. Tonic

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars light and dark 10 Sep 2009
Format:Audio CD
I first saw Pamelia Kurstin perform in a tiny cafe, to a handful of people. I didn't have any expectations, having not heard any of her music before. The hour or so that followed was one of those revelatory musical moments, where you just suddenly know why you love music. It was utterly compelling, achingly beautiful and the perfect balance of light and dark. This album is like seeing her perform live - it feels spontaneous but disciplined. The music on this album is not for the faint hearted - you need to know what you're getting into here. It moves from dissonance to consonance quite freely, is at times uncomfortable in its intensity, isn't at all afraid to create swathes of noise, to use repetition and minimalism or to disregard the basic rules of harmony - but all this is what makes this album so good. It is experimental in the truest sense, but at all times sounds personal and deliberate. It has its lighter moments, too. 'Copinheaven' sounds like a light jazz lounge piece, 'Creature to People' less so, but still on the lighter side, but it seems almost a token effort, as the next piece is immediately back to Kurstin's dark world, where she makes the Theremin sing like a soprano and wail like a distorted guitar.
Pamelia Kurstin is a master of her instrument - she knows exactly what it can do, where it will go next and how to make those fractional movements to achieve the sound she wants. She is adept at quite a broad range of styles, but to me this album is where Kurstin really comes into her own. It sounds like she's exorcising demons, or laughing with God. Fans of experimental and the more left field sound will favour this over classical aficionados. It's an album to actually listen to, not to simply hear.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Why not be vulnerable and go for it?" 13 July 2009
By Patrick Pyne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
"Thinking Out Loud" is an amazing record, and Pamelia Kurstin is a true virtuoso. Although this record is focused on, and centers around her primary instrument, the theremin, she also seamlessly weaves in the textures of the guitar and piano. A true piece of art without the pretention that usually accompanies "art", not to mention a great bit of music and a nice listen.

This album has it all: melodies that bounce around your head long after the album is over, songs that are experimental in nature, and songs that are on the level with any great classical music. Sounds that range from a pure and clean sounding solo piano, to smeared distorted washes of layered theremin and guitar that would make Kevin Shields wet his pants. From short tantalizing pieces (Copingheaven - 1:57), to sprawling hypnotic epic pieces (Tonic - 16:20), and everything in between.

To many people, if they are even familiar at all with the theremin, they might just associate it with classic Sci-Fi (the Day The Earth Stood Still - composed by Bernard Herrmann, played by Dr. Samuel Hoffman) or horror films, which wrongfully limits the instrument and its potential. On this record, Pamelia liberates the theremin. Her playing of the instrument itself is on the true virtuoso level - she plays the theremin on the level that Jimi Hendrix played the guitar. Of course that's a very bold statement, but her control of the instrument is outstanding. Clara Rockmore fascinated people when she played classical music on the theremin, Pamelia takes a similar control and attention to minute detail, and uses it in a much more modern sense. That's not to say that the entire record is avant garde and experimental in nature, moreover, it's as though she's already DONE all of her experimenting, and now, on this album, she applies what she's learned.

The composition, performing and production of the record are all seamlessly interwoven. The 7 songs are sequenced in such a way that it almost appears as though it's just one piece divided into sections, yet each song stands on its own. There are sparse moments with just one or two layers of sound, then there are moments where it's hard to determine how many layers of sound there are. Her use of delay and synth pedals with the theremin, make perfect sense in the context of the songs. You get to hear the theremin distorted and tweaked beyond what most people have ever heard - not necessarily new to guitar processing, but just as with the guitar, it's very easy to overdo effects and use of layers, and none of it would be of any interest if the SONGS weren't there... the songs ARE there, the melodies are strong, and none of the effects or layering seems to be overdone, but more perfectly placed and constructed.

One of the most impressive things about this record to me, was the instantaneous sense of NON-pretentiousness! With all that I've said about the qualities of the sound, the composition and production of this album, it would be really easy to assume that this might come off as pretentious, but again, much like Jimi Hendrix, her sense of humor and playfulness is immediately apparent. There IS true "art" here, including the main cover photograph, which is of her, contemplatively playing the theremin. her image repeated by use of two mirrors facing each other, and then you open the booklet up, and you see a very dark, silvery low-light-like image of her, again playing the theremin, but facing the viewer, but when you open up the booklet fully, you see a very funny photo of her making a snarling face at a (presumably stuffed) coyote or fox (who appears to be snarling at her); you can't help but laugh. The back of the cd has a photo of her behind the theremin, with one hand on her hip, the other up to her ear, listening, and lastly, the cd (new) comes with a paper slip (an "obi") that has a very funny photo of her making a crazy wide-eyed expression.

In the end, I feel that her one statement on the cd booklet that faces the inside, sums it all up: "Why not be vulnerable and go for it?" - to my ears and eyes, she does exactly that, she completely opens herself up, takes the listener to other worlds and makes you laugh along the way. A truly outstanding piece of work by any measure, and makes one instantly wonder why there haven't already been tons of records like this one....but there IS this one.
3.0 out of 5 stars Would You Like My Copy? 7 July 2013
By john pitman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
If you come to this CD looking for the extraordinarily beautiful music seen in Ms. Kurstin`s Youtube clips--as I did--and actually buy it to have in your collection, you may be sorely disappointed if you are expecting the same. A warning to you: this effort was produced by John Zorn and is on his Tzadik label--a label which records music to challenge one`s ears. To anyone interested in the new and contemporary music world--as, believe it or not, I am--you might be very familiar with the types of acts on Zorn`s label which seek to touch the Kuiper Belt, to use an astronomical reference, as music goes. I do enjoy music from the Kuiper Belt, but this offering tended to bore me after a while to the point where I was thinking to myself, "Ok ok enough repetition....it`s time to move your ideas along now." I guess the other reviewer is coming from a different direction than I; I appreciate his or her viewpoint, but I do not share it. Even in new "creative" musics I have to have a sense of a creative direction and I just did not sense it here. (Maybe my interests have changed.) I do appreciate Pamelia Kurstin`s enormous performance talents when it comes to traditional music (and I hope she records some for us), but this I can only give 3 stars, and I am being judicious.
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