The Evening Standard has declared, “Kronos's ears have always been open to extraordinary sounds of the world.” On Floodplain, with original arrangements of traditional music and newly commissioned pieces, Kronos explores vintage pop from Egypt, folk from Azerbaijan, electronica from a Palestinian music collective, and an ambitious piece from Serbian composer Aleksandra Vrebalov with the contemplative grace of a Górecki masterwork.
London's Evening Standard recently declared, “Kronos's ears have always been open to extraordinary sounds of the world.” On Floodplain, the Quartet explores work from the Middle East, South Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe with original arrangements of traditional music and newly commissioned pieces. There's vintage pop from Egypt, folk from Azerbaijan, electronica from a Palestinian music collective, and an ambitious piece from Serbian composer Aleksandra Vrebalov that has the contemplative grace of a Górecki masterwork.
Floodplains are extremely fertile tracts of land that border rivers, and many have been settled for millennia. The album was inspired by the idea that floodplains—which are prone to devastating flooding—will experience new life after a catastrophe, just as cultures that undergo great difficulty will experience creative fertility.
Kronos’ artistic director and founder David Harrington says, “Floodplain was imagined and recorded during one era in American politics, and then released during a very different one. Our work is a continuously evolving interaction with the world we are a part of, and we are always trying to find ways to reflect what it means to be musicians today.”
As journalist Anastasia Tsioulcas writes in Floodplain’s liner note, “Kronos Quartet has always been interested in exploring music of our time—not just work that is aesthetically current, or even necessarily contemporaneous with our era, but music that creates a dialogue with our collective concerns and issues.”
Produced by David Harrington
Co-produced by Scott Fraser
Recorded August 2007–October 2008 at Architecture, Los Angeles, CA
Engineered by Scott Fraser
Track 4 recorded live on September 26, 2008, at the Ramadan Nights festival at the Barbican Centre, London, UK. Festival produced by Serious and the Barbican in collaboration with the Aga Khan Music Initiative, a program of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Recording engineered by Adam Withford
Track 5 drone: Cello, electric sitar, shruti box and tambura recorded August 2006 at Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, CA. Produced by Judy Sherman. Engineered by Scott Fraser. Assistant Engineer: Dann Thompson.
Track 11 recorded October 2008 at Whip Records, Berkeley, CA. Assistant engineer: David Landon. Instruments designed and constructed by Walter Kitundu.
Track 12: Tapan provided courtesy of Warren Casey and Wicked Tinkers. Vocal sample from “Ezani Muhammedi” by Ismail Bülbül, from the album Mevlid-i Serif, (P) 1993 Uzelli Kaset San.
Album mixed and mastered by Scott Fraser and David Harrington at Architecture
Art direction and design by Frank Olinsky
Cover: Ingo Gunther
Photograph of Kronos by Jeppe Gudmundsen-Holmgreen
Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz
David Harrington, violin; shruti box (5), solo violin (7), duo dunia (11), gusle (12)
John Sherba, violin; solo violin (9), duo dunia (11), tapan (12)
Hank Dutt, viola; solo viola (5), tambourine (6), kina cha viola (11)
Jeffrey Zeigler, cello; solo cello (10), beguèna maridhia (11)
Jamie Papish, riqq (1), darbukka (9)
Alim Qasimov Ensemble (4): Alim Qasimov, vocal and daf; Fargana Qasimova, vocal and daf; Rafael Asgarov, balaban; Rauf Islamov, kamancha; Ali Asgar Mammadov, tar; Vugar Sharifzadeh, naghara
Terry Riley, tambura (5)
Wu Man, electric sitar (5)