Three main works performed here, all of them classic Reich.
The first piece, 'Electric Counterpoint', hits its stride at Movement 2, which is particularly beautiful. Unfortunately the choice of steel pans for the opening movement was not the best - all the precision necessary for the articulation of Reich's pattern based music is lost and the the whole thing becomes a kind of wash. This error sets the album off to a less than impressive start..... Movement 3 is fine....
The second piece (effectively 'Six Marimbas') works very well in surround and is a faithful rendition, although without the surround mix there is nothing much to distinguish this from the version on Reich's Sextet/Six Marimbas album. It is worth noting that in this version all the parts are performed (multi-tracked) by Kuniko, pulling the piece more in line with the concept of the Counterpoint pieces).
The final piece 'Vermont Counterpoint', initially scored for multi-tracked flutes, is perhaps the biggest departure with this new instrumentation. It is good but somewhat lacking in low end (I guess because the original was for flutes).
All in all the surround mix is intelligently and creatively done and really does sound fantastic and the performances are tight and meticulous.
For lovers of music of Steve Reich of better times, this interpretation of Kuniko is a real wonderland. Execution accuracy accompanied by unusual percussion make this work a real gem. In this interpretation, some pieces are missing a certain "coldness" to enrich an exciting tonal depth. It is music played with heart and not just by reading the musical score. In short, a masterpiece.
This incredible piece is a real system tester with vibraphone and marimba over layer upon layer of resonant pans. Through my hi-fi (Cyrus 7 amplifier and Acoustic Energy AELite 3 floor standers) the SACD is the most amazing crisp recording. However, when I listened through my surround AV system using the same disc player it was just an unpleasant, unintelligible mess. Conclusion? Time for a new AV system designed for challenging music, not just film soundtracks. If it sounds less than perfect on your kit, there could be a very simple reason, though it might be expensive to fix!
Bought this because I love the Steve Reich pieces featured and was interested in the multichannel audio mix on the SACD - it sounds wonderful and each interpretation adds something to my appreciation of these pieces. Buy this - you will not regret it!
This SACD has fantastic multichannel sound. There is a clarity which reaches out into the room. The content is probably not to everyone's taste. However if you like a bit of percussion in your music programme from time to time, this will suit.
Hypnotic, pulsating, driven. At once saturating the ear with liquid drops of rhythm and beat, then producing an organic flow of metallic musical streams. Kato gives us a sensual blend of earth water and urban form, just as a Reich envisioned. 4* only because I wanted more!