Virginia Wing / Xam Duo - Tomorrow's Gift

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:2017-12-01
Virginia Wing / Xam Duo - Tomorrow's Gift
Virginia Wing / Xam Duo - Tomorrow's Gift

Most of the albums these days that are given the description ‘experimental’ usually should end up with the description ‘pretentious’. If you just lay down any set of sounds expecting them to make sense just by themselves, you may be doing a musical experiment but that doesn’t mean that is is going to sound any good. To be able to make sensible experimental music you have to fully know and comprehend ‘ordinary’, ‘standard’ or ‘pop’ music.

On the evidence of their Tomorrow’s Gift album, Virginia Wing/Xam Duo, absolutely have their ‘original’ genres (jazz and electronics) in their pinkie toes and earn the possibility to call their music experimental. First of all, it is music that makes full sense. You just can’t come up with good musical ideas by spending two days playing together for the first time to come up with sensible and listenable music, no matter how many days you later spend turning those improvisations into an album lasting around 48 minutes. You really have to have a true musical sense, know your genres perfectly, and be able to produce music even people who don’t like that ‘experimental’ prefix in front of their music would enjoy. Not that they should really be compared, but, for example, Jackson Pollock wouldn’t be able to create or attract such popularity to his abstract painting if he didn’t have the capabilities, talent, and knowledge of his art’s medium.

Not to go too far, but Virginia Wing/Xam Duo really manage to come up with a certain modern abstract of what is labeled as Spiritual Jazz without really reproducing or copying any particular artist or their music. On Tomorrow’s Gift the four musicians involved pick up on the spirit of a certain musical genre behind whose idea it was to involve as many disparate and at the same time encompassing musical elements, and in that respect their music is comparable to somebody like Alice Coltrane (the recent reissues could be a good guide in that respect).

What it really sounds like is not fully comparable to anything in recent music, but idea-wise it reminds of the ideas presented by Was brothers on their initial Was (Not Was) album, the recent Bonnie “Prince’ Billy/Bitchin Bajas collaboration, and vocal variations of Juliana Barwick. The weaving twenty one minute or so variations of the opener “Birch Polygon”, almost reach spiritual heights, while more conventional tracks like “Good Roads Fair Weather” just confirm the fact that you really have to know and have a feel for conventional music to make your more experimental pieces work.

One of the more surprising musical delights of the year.

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