The weird, wonderful, Puckish Ms. Pook
Jocelyn Pook’s fascination with both the sacred early music traditions of Christianity, and the music of northern Africa, the nomadic tradition and Islamic influence, easily puts a girdle round the earth in 40 minutes.
From the beginning track where ethereal female voices sing a choral Requiescat, she moves into something which opens out the horizons on the second track, with a vista of sandy deserts and nomadic camel riders, except that the strange beat, the synthesised soundscape behind the ululating female voices, suggest an almost other world, futuristic planet.
The fourth track, Oppenheimer, where the narrative voice at the beginning makes reference to Hindu devotional texts, Vishnu the destroyer, is apocalyptic. There is a harsh, windy soundscape which sounds like the end of the world has happened, through which weave and interweave prayerful music from Christianity and equally devotionally intense music of Arabic influence. It is almost like some final, terrible battle between major faiths, and at the end of things is harshness, and the beauty which mankind created (music) left to remind us of the devotion and the savagery of faiths.
Another track starts with the urban voices of children at play, and weaves the rich voice of Kathleen Ferrier singing Blow the Winds Southerly with the small soprano female choir singing a Pie Jesu. Pook clashes worlds together in an utterly new, hypnotic way