You will notice that there’s not the usual link preceding the review. In fact, I received this CD courtesy of my gentle friend Jeongeun Maeng – a sound therapist who occasionally translates parts of Touching Extremes into Korean (may heaven bless her!). The disc comprises four performances for traditional instruments and voice by master percussionist Ryu In Sang, trained in the more classic forms of this language yet approaching this particular recording with fresher ideas in his mind. “Impression”, by the way, is the lone English word on the whole cover; how the pieces were conceived was explained to yours truly in an accompanying letter, an archetypal case of learning something new and feeling a little less ignorant thanks to someone else’s benevolence. The tracks are remarkably played and intoned, moods ranging from ritual Buddhist chanting accompanied by soft resonant metal to virtuoso displays running the gamut between Steve Reich’s reiterative intricacies in “Drumming” and polymorphic structures of patterns and rhythms. One of the chapters bears a striking resemblance with a native Indian ceremonial: even the very idiom might vaguely recall, to untaught ears, phonemes heard in that kind of background. All in all, once we got used to the music’s nature it was not hard to let ourselves be permeated by the unambiguous sense of legitimate spirituality that it conveys. Not to mention the effects of some of certain ringing auras on our short-term stability.
Should someone want a copy of this item, please get in touch and I’ll gladly try to help.