A Journey Down the Well, How Little Can Be the Orchestra

Self-described “classical punk composers” A Journey Down the Well present a four-part suite that combines a chamber music sensibility, a touch of deconstructionist thought, and field recordings for How Little Can Be The Orchestra, a disc that wants me to like it more than I do. Taner Torun and cellist Ipek Zeynep Kadioglu lay down beautiful, classically inspired works that are quiet, thoughtful and intimate in their simplicity, then layer on the field recordings, and this is where they lose me. While the first track, “How,” remains true to the chamber-music idea, the next track, “Little,” opens with two minutes of nothing but field. Two minutes and then it simply cuts out entirely. It doesn’t augment the track, it doesn’t create a counterpoint, it just plays for two minutes and stops. Then the music begins, another quite nice bit of piano and cello, Kadioglu’s notes quivering off the strings. Conversely, in “Can Be,” the two sides of the equation blend. Rowdy sounds of a sporting victory–cheers, car horns, shouts–get a contrary accompaniment of slow, almost morose strings, and it works perfectly. What doesn’t work at all for me is the brain-assailing mewling of kittens in “The Orchestra.” After a minute-long setup of string and piano, in come the kittens. As Torun and Kadioglu meter out a hesitantly paced dirge, the kittens whine like nails on a chalkboard. From an idea standpoint, I get it. Contrast. From a listening standpoint, I stop listening. When A Journey Down the Well aren’t over-muddling the sound, How Little Can Be The Orchestra is a pleasing, if short, listen that nudges ambient and neo-classical together in a quite intriguing. I listen to more from them as long as their next recording is kitten-free.

Available from Fluttery Records.

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