Maya Shenfeld – Under the Sun

· by Alain Brunet

Berlin-based Israeli Maya Shenfeld is one of those composers fired up by the meeting of a highly technological present and a distant past. Ambient electronica, electroacoustic research and sacred music come together here, producing a conclusive blend. Here, the young musician works with the Ritter Youth Choir and the great organ of Berlin’s St. Matthew’s Church, brilliantly blending her own instruments and electronic gear. Her hypnotic, meditative, seraphic variations are not just ancient; there are also modern constructions interwoven with older ones, tonal or modal, the cohabitation is more than attractive. We can also observe synthesizer motifs built up in classic harmonic convolutions, overhung by thick, very linear, spectral music. The sounds may come from purely synthetic material, or be forged from natural sources – hammering piano strings, digitally processed animal noises, magnificent choral chants expressed with very little melodic variation, drone effects constructed with the human voice as found in the music of southern Asia and the sacred music of the Renaissance. Yet another milestone in the ambient world, which concludes with the most consonant of the 8 pieces on the program.

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