It starts with a static exhalation and a heartbeat drum ~ breath and beat together. Eventually the other elements are added: droning guitar, mournful cello and yes – for this is Gabriel Saloman – military drums. But for now we’ll have to wait. This is an exercise in Movement Building, a title with multiple meanings.
First comes the obvious. On this album, the mood of menace builds and builds, letting off steam but never quite exploding. Such a trajectory is implied by the finale, but not portrayed. The initial inspiration was Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, most obvious in those opening frames. And like the other two parts of the trilogy ~ also available as a double CD ~ Vol. 3 was composed for a dance performance. The movements of the dancers build, as do the movements of the score. But there’s a fourth level. The album also refers to the building of movements, in particular protest movements and their genesis in the indifference of politicians. This explains the sense of impending disaster present throughout the recording. The press release claims that “it holds dread and hope in equal parts”, but we disagree. This is dark music for dark times. The machinery crush of “What Belongs to You” is like the weight of a thousand Terminators or even worse, of soul-crushing decrees that declare entire groups of people unwelcome. The drones at the end of this piece are like the fog that obscures both common sense and empathy; the whispers at the beginning of “What Belongs to Love” are like the hidden longings of the heart. How high have we gotten on the hierarchy of needs? Not very far ~ just when we thought we had ascended, we’ve fallen again. And now those military drums come knocking, war and rumors of war, nuclear tests and blustering response.
If there is any hope to be found here, it is in the continued existence of dance and of music in general, in the creative impulse that fights, seemingly in vain, to counterbalance that of destruction. The breath of “What Belongs to the March” sounds less like a chase, slowing only when a hiding place is found: an immigrant fleeing an officer or a soldier pursuing a terrorist. These are dark times, and this album is in the thick of it, despair and rage mingled together, the dancers finally spent. There will be no other end of the world. (Richard Allen)
Quote from Czeslaw Milosz, A Song on the End of the World (translated by Anthony Milosz).