WINNER, BEST COVER of 2008, All About Jazz New York Magazine!
“Whale Music reminds me of these lines from Rumi: ‘The singing art is like a cresting wave, whose graceful movements come from a pearl some¬where on the ocean floor.’ Rothenberg’s sounds reveal a fine and subtle music that crosses the boundary between land and sea.”
“A magical, eerie sound that makes you ask, what’s going on here?” —The Wire
“Beautiful and musical…” —Tape Op
“Rothenberg does a commendable job reinterpreting the whale songs on his clarinet, accentuating the musical qualities of underwater cries…. An original album.” —All About Jazz New York
“A new genre of world music! The didgeridoo tonality of humpbacks or capoeira beats of sperm whales may hint at foreign sources from which our own species’ musical culture was invented.”
“Rothenberg’s jazz clarinet playing is really rather good. The whale samples add a spectral backdrop, sometimes forcing their way forwards, at other times remaining an echoey inspiration.” —Financial Times
“The whales' music is strange, stirring, soulful.” —Chronicle of Higher Education
“Rothenberg intertwines the rhythmic rumbling, clicking, booming, honking, whooping, howling vocalizations of the humpback whale with his own improvisations on clarinet and synthesizer, creating free-form jams that give a whole new meaning to the word ‘fusion.’” —Christian Science Monitor
“Rothenberg’s affecting and often moving pieces are aural evidence of his attempt to bridge emotion and rationality, with a faintly bonkers but undoubtedly stimulating intent: to push at the barriers between human history and natural history. By coming to a better understanding of these strange, beautiful and sentient animals, we begin to understand ourselves, too.”
—Philip Hoare, London Daily Telegraph
“Think Jan Garbarek accompanying the Hilliard Ensemble singing Bach.”
— Publishing News (UK)
“Beautiful, free-form, these wails are worth saving!”
—Helen Brown, Sunday Telegraph
David Rothenberg traveled from Hawaii to Russia to Canada to make music together with belugas, killers, and the greatest of all animal musicians, the humpbacks. Here are live interspecies jams unlike anything you’ve ever heard. Studio pieces complement these with killer beluga beats, thrumming sperm whale clicks, subsonic fin whale beats and Rothenberg’s own rich bass clarinet tones, plus the contributions of the great ECM violinists Nils Økland and Michelle Makarski. There’s even a never-before recorded legendary Pete Seeger song, “The World’s Last Whale.” This is a record that will change the way you listen to the sea, and lead you to appreciate beautiful and little-known sounds that come from the world’s watery depths.
David Rothenberg is an improvising composer and philosopher with numerous recordings, performances, and books to his credit. His 1995 record, On the Cliffs of the Heart, with percussionist Glen Velez and banjo player Graeme Boone, was released by New Tone Records. Jazziz named it one of the top ten releases of 1995. A few years earlier John Cage praised this trio’s “sense of virtuosity traveling all over the world.” Rothenberg has performed with Scanner, Marilyn Crispell, Evan Parker, Adam Rudolph, Ray Phiri, and Jan Bang. His previous book and CD, Why Birds Sing, has been published in the USA, England, Australia, Italy, Germany, Spain, Korea, China, and Taiwan, and sold thousands of copies as both book and music CD. It was even turned into a BBC television special last year with appearances by Laurie Anderson, Jarvis Cocker, Beth Orton, and Damon Albarn.
The new CD is even more far-reaching and ear-expanding. Think you know what a whale sounds like? Think again.
Released concurrently with Rothenberg’s new book, Thousand Mile Song: Whale Music in a Sea of Sound (Basic Books). See www.thousandmilesong.com for details and sound samples.
“David Rothenberg,” says Paul Winter, “is one of the rare musicians who is devoted to exploring the voices of the natural world. I would hope his work might encourage others to follow suit.”