© 2021 KOSU
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Kali Malone, 'Living Torch II'

Kali Malone wrings every beautifully forlorn texture from just a few notes. She's known for pipe organ pieces that undertake a spectral physicality, engaging with the very breath of the instrument. But on Living Torch, commissioned by the electro-acoustic music studio GRM, the American-born, Stockholm-based composer trades pipes for synths, sine waves and the boîte à bourdon, which literally translates as "drone box."

The whole album deserves a single sitting on a nice pair of headphones, but it is in the second act where Malone gives Living Torch's slow-moving theme a pulse. Over a shifting bed of trombone and bass clarinet, played by Mats Äleklint and Isak Hedtjärn respectively, bass notes played via Karplus-Strong string synthesis "pluck" the melody — in its stuttered phrasing, you can almost hear the ghost of Jason Molina. But as the drone builds, so does the doom: Distortion and feedback not only overcome, but reshape mourning into triumph.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Listen to the Viking's Choice playlist, subscribe to the newsletter.
KOSU is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.
Related Content