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All Life Long

by Kali Malone

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Lyrics adapted from In Praise of Profanation (2007) by Giorgio Agamben. Italian translation by Caterina Barbieri. C’è un contagio profano, un tocco che disincanta e ritorna ad usare ciò che il sacro aveva separato e pietrificato. There is a profane contagion, a touch that disenchants and returns to use what the sacred had separated and petrified.
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Lyrics adapted from The Present Crisis (1845) by James Russell Lowell. Truth on the scaffold, Wrong on the throne, that scaffold sways the future, behind the dim unknown, Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own. We see dimly in the Present what is small and what is great, Slow of faith how weak an arm turns the iron helm of fate
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Lyrics adapted from The Crying Water (1914) by Arthur Symons O water, voice of my heart, crying in the sand, All night long with a mournful cry, As I lie and listen, cannot understand The voice of my heart in my side or voice of the sea, O water, crying for rest, is it I, is it I? O water, crying for the rest, cry like the sea All life long Cry without avail All night long As the water All life long Is crying to me All night long Cry without avail As the water Is crying to me Water cry to me All life long
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about

Kali Malone's anticipated new album "All Life Long" is a collection of music for pipe organ, choir, and brass quintet composed by Kali Malone, 2020 - 2023. Choral music performed by Macadam Ensemble and conducted by Etienne Ferschaud at Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-L'Immaculée-Conception in Nantes. Brass quintet music performed by Anima Brass at The Bunker Studio in New York City. Organ music performed by Kali Malone and Stephen O’Malley on the historical meantone tempered pipe organs at Église Saint-François in Lausanne, Orgelpark in Amsterdam, and Malmö Konstmuseum in Sweden.

Kali Malone composes with a rare clarity of vision. Her music is patient and focused, built on a foundation of evolving harmonic cycles that draw out latent emotional resonances. Time is a crucial factor: letting go of expectations of duration and breadth offers a chance to find a space of reflection and contemplation. In her hands, experimental reinterpretations of centuries-old polyphonic compositional methods become portals to new ways of perceiving sound, structure, and introspection. Though awe-inspiring in scope, the most remarkable thing about Malone’s music is the intimacy stirred by the close listening it encourages.

Malone’s new album All Life Long, created between 2020 - 2023, presents her first compositions for organ since 2019’s breakthrough album The Sacrificial Code alongside interrelated pieces for voice and brass performed by Macadam Ensemble and Anima Brass. Over the course of twelve pieces, harmonic themes and patterns recur, presented in altered forms and for varied instrumentation. They emerge and reemerge like echoes of their former selves, making the familiar uncanny. Propelled by lungs and breath rather than bellows and oscillators, Malone’s compositions for choir and brass take on expressive qualities that complicate the austerity that has defined her work, introducing lyricism and the beauty of human fallibility into music that has been driven by mechanical processes. At the same time, the works for organ, performed by Malone with additional accompaniment by Stephen O’Malley on four different organs dating from the 15th to 17th centuries, underscore the mighty, spectral power that those rigorous operations can achieve.

All Life Long simmers in an ever-shifting tension between repetition and variation. The pieces for brass, organ, and voice are alternated asymmetrically, providing nearly continuous timbral fluctuation across its 78-minute runtime even as thematic material reiterates. Each composition’s internal framework of fractal pattern permutations has the paradoxical effect of creating anticipated keystone moments of dramatic reverie and lulling the listener into believing in an illusory endlessness. On an even more granular level, the historical meantone tuning systems of each organ used, and the variable intonation of brass and voice, provide further points of emotional excavation within the harmony.

The titular composition “All Life Long” appears twice on the album, first as an extended canon for organ and again in the final quarter, compactly arranged for voice. In the latter, Malone pairs the music with “The Crying Water” by Arthur Symons, a poem steeped in language of mourning and eternity. For organ, “All Life Long” moves with a patient stateliness, the drama concentrated in moments when shifting tonalities generate and release dissonance and ecstasy. For voice, each word is saturated with feeling, the singers swooping gracefully downward to capture the melancholy of the narrator’s relationship to the timeless tears of the sea. “Passage Through The Spheres,” the album’s opening piece, contains lyrics in Italian pulled from Giorgio Agamben’s essay In Praise of Profanation. In it, Agamben defines profanation as, in part, the act of bringing back to communal, secular use that which has been segregated to the realm of the sacred, a process Malone enacts each time she performs on church organs.

This is not music of praise, or of spiritual revelation, but it is an artistic enactment of translating the indescribable. It carries the gravity of liturgical chant, and its fixation on the infinite, but draws its weight from the earthly realm of human experience. A music that draws the listener into the present moment where they can discover themselves within the interwoven musical patterns that can come to resemble the passage of days, weeks, years, a lifetime.

credits

released February 9, 2024

Mastered by Stephan Mathieu at Schwebung Mastering, Bonn DE
Lacquer cut by Matt Colton at Metropolis Studios, London GB

Executive production by Stephen O’Malley
Design & Layout by Collin Fletcher
Cover photograph by Stephen O’Malley
Gatefold photograph by Glen Denny


Made with the support of The Richard Thomas Foundation, Le Lieu Unique & Variations Festival, La Becque Artist Residency, Malmö Konstmuseum, Inkonst, Orgelpark, Église Saint-Francois, and La Cité internationale des arts.

Special thanks to Doss Malone, Stephen O’Malley, Bartolomé Sanson, Harry Glass, Regina Greene, Richard Thomas, Pierre Temple, Luc Meier, Hans Fidom, Etienne Ferchaud, Austin Sposato, Björn Jumme, Randall Dunn, Benjamin Righetti, Helena Goñi, Peggy Denny, Frederikke Hoffmeier, Collin Fletcher and Drew McDowall.

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Kali Malone Stockholm, Sweden

composer, organist & synthesist

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