Marilyn Mazur’s Future Song: Small Labyrinths (ECM 1559)

Marilyn Mazur
Small Labyrinths

Aina Kemanis voice
Hans Ulrik saxophones
Nils Petter Molvær trumpet
Eivind Aarset guitar
Elvira Plenar piano, keyboards
Klavs Hovman basses
Audun Kleive drums
Marilyn Mazur percussion
Recorded August 1994 at Sun Studio, Copenhagen
Engineer: Bjarne Hansen
Produced by Manfred Eicher

Percussionist Marilyn Mazur, best known for keeping the beat with the Jan Garbarek Group, came into her own with Small Labyrinths, her first for ECM as frontwoman—in this case, of the Future Song project. With characteristic wit and commitment to seeing every gesture through, Mazur leads us on a trek of visions and fantasies. True to the dynamic nature of her art, she begins softly in “A World Of Gates,” caressing the periphery of her assembly and working her way to center with diligence. She blends into “Drum Tunnel,” clicking the tongues of her inner fire on the one hand, on the other adding a touch of icy whimsy via sleigh bells. In “The Electric Cave” a talk box hangs stalactites in code, while in the web of “The Dreamcatcher” we encounter the soothing voice of Aina Kemanis (in a different mode from her experiments with Barre Phillips), who gives fuzzy warmth to “Visions In The Wood” and prays for rain and thunder in “Castle Of Air.” Trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær adds backbone wherever he travels, shrouding the already supernal gamelan drone of “Back To Dreamfog Mountain” with a breath from below. After an interlude of “Creature Talk,” we stumble through the anthemic strains of “See There” into a “Valley Of Fragments.” This explosive aside casts us into an “Enchanted Place,” shattering windows into grains of sand, and those further into molecules, each indeed a small labyrinth harboring the promise of music. “The Holey” is where we end, lost in a book of cries and whispers, out of reach and out of time.

Small Labyrinths is no self-enclosed ritual, but rather a diary of open and spirited play. It seeks us out, asks us to stay, and hopes we may join in.

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