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Vijay Iyer|In What Language?

In What Language?

Vijay Iyer, Mike Ladd

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Inspired by the experience of an Iranian filmmaker wrongly detained by INS officials at JFK airport in New York, this epic work explores life through the microcosm of the airport -- a place of arrival and departure, of being an alien or leaving one's citizenship behind. Poet/hip-hop man Mike Ladd has done a superb job with the lyrics, polished by real little monologues that examine all aspects of the problem -- and it's a problem that often leaves travelers dehumanized. Keyboard player Vijay Iyer gives tone and color to all this in his compositions, and the two together become more than a sum of their parts. It's not an easy album to listen to -- often harrowing, as in "Innana After Baghdad" or "Terminal City" -- but more than repays the investment of ears and time. Is it jazz? Not really. It falls outside category -- as it should, given the subject matter involved. At first it can sound simplistic, but it soon becomes apparent that the textures and depths of the music only reveal themselves gradually, such as with "Asylum." Written originally to be performed on-stage in a theatrical setting, it transfers well to a purely recorded medium, dense and demanding, but ultimately satisfying, inasmuch as it leaves the listener full of questions and less certain about the world.
© Chris Nickson /TiVo

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In What Language?

Vijay Iyer

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1
The Color of My Circumference I
00:04:10

Vijay Iyer, MainArtist - Mike Ladd, MainArtist

2003 Pi Records, Inc 2003 Pi Records, Inc

2
The Density of the 19th Century
00:05:15

Vijay Iyer, MainArtist - Mike Ladd, MainArtist

2003 Pi Records, Inc 2003 Pi Records, Inc

3
Terminal City
00:01:55

Vijay Iyer, MainArtist - Mike Ladd, MainArtist

2003 Pi Records, Inc 2003 Pi Records, Inc

4
Rentals
00:02:44

Vijay Iyer, MainArtist - Mike Ladd, MainArtist

2003 Pi Records, Inc 2003 Pi Records, Inc

5
Security
00:03:38

Vijay Iyer, MainArtist - Mike Ladd, MainArtist

2003 Pi Records, Inc 2003 Pi Records, Inc

6
DeGaulle
00:06:37

Vijay Iyer, MainArtist - Mike Ladd, MainArtist

2003 Pi Records, Inc 2003 Pi Records, Inc

7
TLC
00:02:39

Vijay Iyer, MainArtist - Mike Ladd, MainArtist

2003 Pi Records, Inc 2003 Pi Records, Inc

8
Three Lotto Stories
00:04:49

Vijay Iyer, MainArtist - Mike Ladd, MainArtist

2003 Pi Records, Inc 2003 Pi Records, Inc

9
The Color of My Circumference II
00:02:09

Vijay Iyer, MainArtist - Mike Ladd, MainArtist

2003 Pi Records, Inc 2003 Pi Records, Inc

10
Iraqi Businessman
00:02:43

Vijay Iyer, MainArtist - Mike Ladd, MainArtist

2003 Pi Records, Inc 2003 Pi Records, Inc

11
Taking Back the Airplane
00:04:54

Vijay Iyer, MainArtist - Mike Ladd, MainArtist

2003 Pi Records, Inc 2003 Pi Records, Inc

12
The Color of My Circumference III
00:02:29

Vijay Iyer, MainArtist - Mike Ladd, MainArtist

2003 Pi Records, Inc 2003 Pi Records, Inc

13
Innana After Baghdad
00:02:32

Vijay Iyer, MainArtist - Mike Ladd, MainArtist

2003 Pi Records, Inc 2003 Pi Records, Inc

14
In What Language
00:04:05

Vijay Iyer, MainArtist - Mike Ladd, MainArtist

2003 Pi Records, Inc 2003 Pi Records, Inc

15
Asylum
00:06:21

Vijay Iyer, MainArtist - Mike Ladd, MainArtist

2003 Pi Records, Inc 2003 Pi Records, Inc

16
The Color of My Circumference IV
00:05:51

Vijay Iyer, MainArtist - Mike Ladd, MainArtist

2003 Pi Records, Inc 2003 Pi Records, Inc

17
Plastic Bag
00:06:07

Vijay Iyer, MainArtist - Mike Ladd, MainArtist

2003 Pi Records, Inc 2003 Pi Records, Inc

Album Description

Inspired by the experience of an Iranian filmmaker wrongly detained by INS officials at JFK airport in New York, this epic work explores life through the microcosm of the airport -- a place of arrival and departure, of being an alien or leaving one's citizenship behind. Poet/hip-hop man Mike Ladd has done a superb job with the lyrics, polished by real little monologues that examine all aspects of the problem -- and it's a problem that often leaves travelers dehumanized. Keyboard player Vijay Iyer gives tone and color to all this in his compositions, and the two together become more than a sum of their parts. It's not an easy album to listen to -- often harrowing, as in "Innana After Baghdad" or "Terminal City" -- but more than repays the investment of ears and time. Is it jazz? Not really. It falls outside category -- as it should, given the subject matter involved. At first it can sound simplistic, but it soon becomes apparent that the textures and depths of the music only reveal themselves gradually, such as with "Asylum." Written originally to be performed on-stage in a theatrical setting, it transfers well to a purely recorded medium, dense and demanding, but ultimately satisfying, inasmuch as it leaves the listener full of questions and less certain about the world.
© Chris Nickson /TiVo

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