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London, 2024

Kali Malone is an American composer and organist, better known for her slow, reflective and contemplative approach to creating a music which is often as much as a creative work than a space for internalisation and intimacy. Her latest project, All Life Long, released in the first quarter of 2024, looks at music from a trinity of perspectives; the pipe organ, the choir and the brass quintet. All works have been composed between 2020 and 2023, and recorded between France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United States. With the help of Stephen O’Malley, as well as a plethora of talented artists, Malone has produced a piece of work which challenges the notion of time, tempo, duration and space. Through a constant reinterpretation of her works — as well as some traditional polyphonic music concepts — Malone opens new perceptions of sounds and structures. 


Malone treats her music through a prism which disperses her ideas either through the medium of the organ, the brass or the voice. In All Life Long, she creates connections between the instruments; through their common characteristics, some obvious and some less. Throughout the album, Malone’s music is paired with “The Crying Water” by Arthur Symons and Giorgio Agamben’s essay In Praise of Profanation. A quality that can be noted, in the title track for organ for instance, “All Life Long (for organ)”, is the percussive quality of the organ at the birth of each note, which can be heard thanks to the extreme slow tempo of the pieces. This slow motion allows almost each note played to be episodic — this is clearly observed in “Prisoned on Watery Shore”. If one thinks of Malone’s music as being slow, one can also perceive it as being spacious. “Slow of Faith” for instance, exemplifies how her approach allows space to be a musical component as important as tones. Some of the pieces are arranged for each of the musical mediums, and each time they emerge, a new personality for the music is revealed. “All Life Long (for voice)” is a contrasting work to its former arrangement for the organ. Each return to the keyboard creates a sort of refrain, in “Moving Forward” for instance, the narrative is evident and reflects the structural choices of Malone. After a brighter “Formation Flight”, “The Unification of Inner & Outer Life” eventually closes the album, returning to the central themes on the organ, on a soothing and mediative intention, central to the project. 


All Life Long is Malone’s second project centred around the organ after her very successful The Sacrificial Code. In it, the American composer approaches the musical concept of harmonic cycles in an ever-evolving motion, creating settlement as well as unsettlement impressions. If similar themes and patterns recur, they are never quite the same; repetition and variation battling against each other, instrumentations, timbres and forms providing diversification elements. From the choice of instrumentation and sounds, to the general atmosphere, alternating between austere and solemn, All Life Long resonates with mystery. Throughout this project, Malone shows the incredible potential of a very small founding base, and a lot of creativity in the craft. All Life Long is a must.

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