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Kali Malone: All Life Long review – music to blot out the world’s clamour

Returning to the organ-playing that made her name and adding brass and vocals, the Thom Yorke-approved composer revels in the possibilities of her instruments

Featuring Malone playing a sine wave oscillator accompanied by cello and guitar, Does Spring Hide Its Joy was in itself substantially more approachable than, say, 2018’s Arched In Hysteria, a composition consisting of fearsome discordant tones overlaid with what sounded like the fizzing and humming of an amplifier on the fritz, or the same year’s compilation with a self-explanatory title, Organ Dirges 2016-2017. By contrast to its predecessor, All Life Long clocks in at a relatively trim 78 minutes and features 12 pieces, scored for choir, brass and pipe organ – the latter ostensibly Malone’s primary instrument, but one that she hasn’t used on record for five years. It’s tempting to wonder what the aforementioned religious integralists might make of the two vocal pieces on All Life Long, on which unaccompanied choir the Macadam Ensemble sound as if they’re performing a liturgy, albeit using Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben’s essay In Praise of Profanation and Arthur Symons’ 1901 poem The Crying of Water, from which the album also takes its name.

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Photo of Kali Malone

Kali Malone

Photo of Life Long

Life Long