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Vijay Iyer publica ‚Mutations’, su espectacular debut en el sello ECM. El pianista norteamericano da unpaso de gigante en el processo de renovación de su instrumento en el jazz. [...] Vienen a colación estos detalles porque Vijay Iyer publica en estos días un disco que, con el título ‘Mutations’, representa no solo su debut en la fonográfica ECM; también es el estreno de un Iyer diferente, cuya abductora música seduce por igual a los amantes de los vértices impares de la música contemporánea y a los rastreadores de nuevos rumbos para el jazz de avanzada. [...] Esta ampliación de contenidos, y continentes, ya ha puesto en alerta a las mentes más privilegiadas de la crítica de jazz en el Reino Unido, que -como las de otros lugares- son conscientes de que en ‘Mutations’ se ha gestado algo muy serio y completamente diferente a la música acometida por Vijay Iyer hasta el momento para las firmas ACT y Pi. Esta obra fija, de hecho, como ninguna otra anterior, los interrogantes y las respuestas de un músico asomado a la vanguardia desde una modernidad aprendida de maestros tan dispares como Cecil Taylor oAndrew Hill, pero también de Ellington y Thelonious Monk. Un acierto el cambio de compañía.
(Vijay Iyer’s new release ‘Mutations’ – a spectacular debut on the ECM label. The American pianist makes a giant step forward in the renovation process of his instrument within Jazz. [...] It is also the premiere of a different Iyer, whose enticing music seduces both lovers of contemporary music as well as the followers and trackers of advanced and pioneering jazz . [...] This widening of views has already raised the attention of some of the most revered Jazz critics in the UK who are aware that in ‘Mutations’ something very serious has been gestated, completely different to what Vijay has accomplished to date for lanels like ACT or Pi Recordings, This work settles, like no other until now, the questions and answers of a musician overlooking the vanguard from a modernitiy learned from such different masters like Cecil Taylor, Andrew Hill, but Ellington and Thelonious Monk. Changing labels has been a real success.)
Luis Martin, ABC

'Mutations' nennt der indoamerikanische Musiker Vijay Iyer einen Kompositionszyklus, den er für Streichquartett, Elektronik und einen improvisierenden Pianisten schrieb. Eine fremdartige Schönheit und gleichzeitig eine tiefe Verwurzelung in der Jazzavantgarde der letzten Jahrhunderthälfte zeigt sich in den vielen Facetten des ambitionierten Werkes, das der New Yorker im September 2013 mit dem Produzenten Manfred Eicher aufnahm.
Karl Lippegaus, Deutschlandfunk

Pianist Vijay Iyer has been a singular figure in American music for at least the past decade, and he extends and deepens his expressive range with ‘Mutations’, his exceptional first album as bandleader on the ECM label. To say that Iyer produces extraordinarily subtle colors in works for solo piano, piano and electronics, and piano with string quartet understates the lustrous beauty of this music. [..] Iyer has constructed gripping sonic portraits that are at once provocative and accessible, intellectually substantive and sensuously attractive. Moreover, this music stands as practically the antithesis of the galvanic pianism for which Iyer is best known, ‘Mutations’ showing a delicate, shimmering, translucent side of his playing.
Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune

‚Mutations’ is Grammy-nominated pianist Vijay Iyer’s first album as a leader for ECM, and it’s fittingly special. It’s a setting for his piano and a string quartet driven by both his mathematical fascination with patterns, the free-spiritedness that lets piano-improv pull the strings where it will, and his experience of chamber-ensembles as a former violinist. [...] with circling figures from which longer cello notes depart; rising unbroken chords from which strings-voices struggle to escape; seesawing ensemble figures provided by spontaneous piano lines; throbbing themes with handclappy accents; sawing, unrushing all-in sections and a conclusion in rich piano chords and fragile treble melodies. It’s thoughtful, typically original, and unexpectedly very exciting.
John Fordham, The Guardian

The music on ‘Mutations’ is ruminative and compelling. The recording shifts seamlessly from austere but elegant solo-piano segments to furious moments where the strings create a swirl of sound around dark staccato keyboard figures. The dynamic diversity of the record is part of its interest.
Martin Johnson, The Wall Street Journal

Mit Hilfe von Produzent Manfred Eicher begibt sich Vijay Iyer nun auf eine Reise, weit weg von bisherigen Erwartungshaltungen, weit weg vom Jazz, selbst von dessen moderner Ausprägung, in ein zauberhaftes Niemandsland aus zeitgenössischer Klassik und Ambient, in reine Biosphäre aus multiplen Harmonien, übereinandergelegten Stimmen, hypnotischen Tempi, ausbalancierten Mobiles und tanzenden Obertönen. Ein Schritt weit hinaus. In die Zukunft.
Reinhard Köchl, Jazzthetik

As a recording, it is certainly among his most provocative. There are no traces of his Hindustani or Carnatic jazz explorations, his athletic post-bop or modal works, or even his explosive readings of modern pop. This is a showcase for Iyer the composer. Even the set opener, a solo piano reading of ‘Spellbound and Sacrosanct, Cowrie Shells and the Shimmering Sea,’ which appeared on Memorophilia – his 1995 debut--showcases its harmonic subtleties and formal construction over improvisation – though it's certainly there. The album's title is actually a ten-part suite for piano, string quartet, and electronics originally composed and premiered in 2005; it has been evolving ever since. The string quartet was specially assembled for this date.[…] Each of these sections undergoes a mutation, as notation – with the interaction of the players – begin to shift and change with the introduction of an inconstancy or interruptive figure in a recurrent theme. Samples of the players are also introduced to alter themes and create altering textural and dynamic factors. The piano is one such element, and improvisation – especially in ‘Mutations VII: Kernel’ – is another.[...] Despite the possibility for chaos and obstructive dissonance, Mutations is aesthetically beautiful. Throughout, articulated fragments and melodies interact in rhythmic and open frames, counterpoint, and harmony, even as they converse, gradually exchanging one flow of thought for another. In ‘Mutation III: Canon’ the ghosts of Beethoven, Bartók, Stravinsky, Carter, Strayhorn, and Evans visit, though fluid spontaneity reigns overall. As the individual movements evolve, so does the overall structure of the work, arriving at ‘Mutations X: Time,’ the elastic of all philosophical and scientific constructs as the slippery undercurrent of rhythms suggest. ‘Vuln, Pt. 2’ and ‘When We're Gone’ are recent works for piano and electronics. The primary instrument engages in counterpoint and exchange with synthetic textures and rhythms. They stand out from the central work, but don't distract from its impact and feel more like extensions of it. Along with this keen compositional attributes, Mutations rewards with well-considered, inspired performances. Whether fans of Iyer's jazz work will follow him here remains to be seen. That said, whether or not they do doesn't diminish the artist's considerable achievement.
Thom Jurek, Allmusic.com

All the tracks project an absorbing sense of restlessness and [..] the string writing is often edgy, spiky, and at times almost menacing. Iyer is celebrated for his virtuoso piano playing, but he studied the violin as a young man and played in orchestras and string quartets before becoming a leading keyboard figure in the jazz world. There are elements of improvising in these string compositions, and Iyer has said that each performance of ‘Mutations’ is very different, the work being constantly revised and developed. An intriguing ECM leadership debut for this multi-faceted performer, promising many imaginative works in the future.
John Watson, Jazz Camera

Despite its reputation for new European music, the ECM label has always been a place where adventurous Americans can find a sympathetic ear. Pianist Vijay Iyer wrote the suite for string quartet, piano and electronics that forms the centrepiece of his impressive debut for Manfred Eicher’s label back in 2005, but has waited until now to record it. Rather than conventional dots on paper, Iyer [...] primes his musicians with what he calls a ‘gesture palette of notated material’ that introduces chance and mutation into the music, aided and abetted by the composer at the piano and operating a laptop. If that all sounds drily intellectual, the results are startingly fresh and ear-opening, and the piano pieces that bookend the suite are the work of a pianist with a clear and authoritative voice.
Cormac Larkin, Irish Times

Suite en dix parties pour quatuor à cordes, piano et électronique, où écriture et improvisation sont indissolublement liées. [...] cela donne une musique étonnamment cohérente, subtile et variée, d'autant plus passionnante que ses ressorts secrets semblent se dérober à l'analyse. Cerise sur le gâteau: trois plages enregistrées par le pianiste seul, la première en solo intégral, les deux autres à peine habillées de quelques rêveries électroniques. Contrastes dynamiques saisissants, sens de la forme allié à un lyrisme troublant... Vijay Iyer s'affirme décidément comme l'un des musiciens incontournables de sa génération. Qu'on se le dise!
Pascal Rozat, Jazz Magazine



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