Lloyd Miller - At the Ends of the World
Into this eighth decade and still rolling, celebrated ethno-musicologist Lloyd Miller returns with a nine song set that stands as astounding testament to both a life well spent and the product of unrelenting creative inquiry. Miller has a storied and, i believe, undersold history of musical exploration, having taken a lifelong academic and archival interest in various formations of Persian and Far Eastern musics (partially documented on the Jazzman comp from a few years back). On At the Ends of the World, he seems to express all that research in accumulative fashion. Yes, this is still very much a (spiritually-inclined) jazz record, but the palette is extremely ,if unsurprisingly, broad, extending from the more expected touchstones of Organic Music Society, Sander's Thembi, Alice C et al, into the outer aspects of new age, avant folk and ambient ala Pandit Pran Nath, Riley's Shri Camel, even Popol Vuh. Each week we seem to be gratefully served reissues of lost classics from these worlds, but here's Miller turning out new additions to the canon in his typically understated manner - that this was recorded in his basement says a lot of the man and absolutely nothing of the ambition, breadth and power of this music. Churlish to pick highlights from such a collection, but if you want a way in, go straight to Drowning Emperor Blue Dragon, a song more spiritually enriching and hopeful than anything in 2020 has right to be. Bow down.
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