Friday, November 25, 2011

The Knife and Mount Sims Look For Tomorrow In A Year

Classical music tends to appeal to a certain demographic and a certain mindset of people. Not to play the stereotypes, but you don't see many 19-year-old kids running to see Bach's Brandenburg Concertos on period instruments. And if classical music is unappealing to "the kids," lord only knows how unappealing opera is to them. But it's that very idea that makes the collaboration between The Knife and Mount Sims so intriguing. Here are two rather well known electro artists throwing themselves into a world unbeknownst to them and attempting at fusing their world with the classical world and then attempting to make it appealing.

While Tomorrow, In A Year is not Wagnerian in any way shape or form, it's an interesting idea that might just open a few people's eyes into the world of classical music and opera. Non-traditional to say the least, Tomorrow, In A Year takes ambient textures and found sounds and mixes them with an English libretto to create a modern opera based on Charles Darwin and his book, On the Origin of Species. Heavy subject matter combined with a strange approach at writing an opera make Tomorrow, In A Year one of the more challenging recordings you are likely to hear all year. While I'm not all that into opera (Baroque period classical music is more my thing), I find the potential of what The Knife and Mt. Sims to be rather awesome.

Here are two groups along with their cohorts, Planningtorock, that have thrown themselves into the unknown with an open mind and walked away not only learning something new but finding themselves enriched by the experience. They've done a fantastic job at mixing the traditional with the modern and the fact that they tackle Darwin in an opera is really quite cool (says the former biologist). The sounds and textures they wrap around the vocals are rather haunting and as a result Tommorow, In A Year seems as isolated as the Galapagos Island themselves. I believe it's that sense of the unknown and the feeling of isolation that makes this record so good. It's a stirring and eerie work that's a fascinating and modern take on a classical form. My hope, and their bands I'm sure, is that by these artists creating such a work that challenges everything they're used to that their fans will latch on to the idea that opera isn't really all that bad and perhaps actually one day go and see one.

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