composer folk fusion instrumental review world world music

Max LL – Tradition and Modernity Review

A beautiful look into Ancient Asia and its instruments

Max LL continues with each release to move his influences around the world. After the beautiful Golestan, which was inspired by Max’s time in Iran, ‘Tradition and Modernity’ is a Far East affair. Max uses and showcases performances on the cello, erhu and santur to superb effect throughout the release and it’s another stunning collection of songs.

‘Neons and Sakuras’ opens the EP with aplomb. It’s speedy fusion of traditional drums, neon tinged synths meshed with zen segments of traditional instruments is superb. Max LL always manages to make music feel authentic and never like “world music”. It’s heartfelt and symphonic and this track exemplifies that. In a similar fashion ‘Streets of Saigon’ perfectly captures the hustle and bustle of a world in full flow and full of beauty.

Max LL

The title track ‘Tradition and Modernity’ is a lilting cello led arrangement that melts your heart. It’s full of beautiful moments and the traditional instrumentation brings everything to life. The cello itself has a solo piece with ‘Secrets of Silk’ before the santur and erhu take over leads for ‘Caravan’. It’s a simple motif but the ebb and flow between the two instruments and how the rest of the music wraps around them make it so much more than the sum of its parts. An alternative trip-hop version of ‘Neons and Sakuras’ closes out the EP in style too.

As with Golestan, my only complaint with this release is that Max LL doesn’t give us more. These mini albums from around the world are an absolute treat for the ears and mind. It’s like I’ve been on a musical travel log and the craft of the musicians and Max as a composer shines throughout.

Recommended track: Neons and Sakuras

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Max LL - Tradition and Modernity



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