Woodall, Earnest - Pictures In Mind

Year of Release: 2002
Label: self-released/Zephyrwood Music
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 43:53:00

Earnest Woodall's Pictures In Mind is a collection of 11 solo instrumental pieces each based upon a piece of art found at various New York museums, including both the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) and the Museum Of Modern Art (MOMA). The inclination is to be clever and walk you through each track as if in this review we were going on the very same museum tour - but I'll resist. There is something that can be said about each of the pieces, however. It does feel as though you are walking through a museum as there is an arty way in which Woodall composes - I can imagine standing before the piece of artwork while the music gives another dimension beyond what the artist was able to capture. Not familiar with the artwork that inspired Woodall, I cannot say how accurately he has captured in music what was on canvas - assuming that all the works are paintings. Besides, it is unlikely the museum would let me bring in my own audio device, so listening to this on headphones while I tour the very same museums - assuming the inspirational artwork is part of the museum's permanent collection - would be impossible. But it might be an interesting experiment to try.

Meanwhile, you can listen to this CD outside of the museum setting - and I recommend you do. Woodall plays everything here and that everything includes a number of instruments (or very natural sounding synths). The music itself is a mix of modern classical, contemporary instrumental, new age, ambient and jazz. Sometimes, all these elements are in play all at once. The overall feel is very warm and rich, the production values are excellent to boot, every nuance can be clearly heard. "Bohemia Lies By The Sea" (inspired by Anselm Kiefer's painting of the same name) is a subtle piece that features violin, piano, xylophone and what may be a cello. The piece is light on the surface, darker underneath, with a hint of the old world thrown in. It is a bit on the avant-garde side at times. "Ariadne" (Giorgio De Chirico) is more avant-new age, as discordant bass piano notes cut across smooth washes and a plucked strings. The new age/contemporary instrumental aspect is at the forefront --- you might say that it's Narada-style music. Spiky percussion and warm, hesitant violins create the tense atmosphere of "The Hat Makes The Man" (Max Ernst) making this a mix of "Third World" and European Classical.

"Stepping Out" (Roy Lichtenstein) even has a jazzy title in this lighthearted, slightly whimsical piece (seemingly recorded live, but perhaps part of the setting). Electric piano and walking bass play off each other in a knowing way. It's as elegant as gentlemen in the early part of the last century stepping out in top hats, tails and spats, escorting equally finely dressed women to the theatre or whatever social event has brought out the city's elite. Jazz returns a few tracks later when a happily tootling trumpet sings lead on the jazzy "Report From Rockport" (Stuart Davis).

Xylophone (or maybe vibes) and more violins feature in a number of the latter tracks including the oddly metered "128 Details From A Picture" (Gerhard Richter) and in "Sea Gulls" (Arthur G Dove). Here swelling keys mimic the languid movements of birds on the wing (though it also, for the briefest of seconds -- a nanosecond -- made me think of the theme from the original Star Trek).

Like all high art should be, listening to Pictures In Mind is an enriching, fulfilling experience - except that you will find that multiple plays are required to get the full benefit.

Bohemia Lies By The Sea (6:35) / Ariadne (5:25) / The Hat Makes The Man (2:43) / Stepping Out (4:23) / 128 Details From A Picture (3:57) / Sea Gulls (3:43) / Report From Rockport (1:58) / Autumn Rhythm (#30) (4:01) / Evening (3:16) / The Mystic Portal (3:46) / The Mountain (6:06)

Earnest Woodall

Haute Monde (1987)
House Of Stairs (1988)
Alberts Warning (1989)
Dirty Water (1990)
Mad Man Of 1st Ave (1991)
Three Worlds (1992)
Abstract Paragraph (1995)
Legerdemain (1996)
Ergot Brew (1997)
Strike, Light, Puff (1998)
Unusual Characteristics (1999)
13 (2000)
Pictures In Mind (2002)
Time To Think (2003)

Genre: Other

Origin US

Added: April 20th 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.ewoodall.com
Hits: 1145
Language: english


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