VI 2085 North Star
Produced by Philip Glass and Kurt Munkacsi
Released on 1977
(no chart information)
Find it at GEMM
VI 2085 cover  

M usic for people who “get” sculpture (you know who you are). This music was originally conceived for a film on sculptor Mark Di Suvero, and later remixed and released as North Star. As one of Philip Glass’ early works, the album helped introduce his idiosyncratic style to listeners (although I bought it based on the post-Einstein buzz). Clusters of keyboards, voices and saxes/flutes conceived in contrary rhythms and swirled together, suggesting at times a blissed-out choir of the future, diabolical carousel, or intermission music for an art film. At first, these luminous pieces all look the same, but in time you’ll identify the differences between them. “Are Years What? (For Marianne Moore)” sounds like a field full of flowers blooming at once, “Ave” a mix of mathematical discourse and praise, “Montage” a heroic miniature. That should give you some idea of North Star’s eventual power to communicate images using a modicum of sounds. In some ways, listening to North Star is like looking at the night sky: at first, only a few stars are visible, but in time hundreds of stars are revealed in a rich tapestry. That said, one man’s rich tapestry is another’s musty old rug, so anyone averse to minimalist or modern classical works should save their money. While I enjoy North Star and listen to it often, it’s worth noting that I haven’t been motivated to buy any other of Glass’ works. For me, this music is a nice spice, but nothing I’d care to make a staple in my musical diet. The short run times are no doubt partially to blame; over the course of a dozen minutes or so I’ll gamble Glass is intoxicating.

VI 2085 back cover
VI 2085 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. ETOILE POLAIRE (NORTH STAR)    2:35
  2. VICTOR'S LAMENT    3:35
  3. RIVER RUN    1:50
  4. MON PERE, MON PERE    3:52
  5. ARE YEARS WHAT? (FOR MARIANNE MOORE)    4:00
  6. LADY DAY    3:57
  7. ANGES DES ORAGES    3:38
  8. AVE    4:42
  9. IK-OOK    4:10
  10. MONTAGE    2:25

    All music composed and arranged by Philip Glass

CREDITS

PHILIP GLASS -- Farsifa, Yamaha & Hammond organs, Fender Rhodes piano, Arp synthesizer, mixing
JOAN LaBARBARA -- voices
DICKIE LANDRY -- soprano & tenor saxophones, flute
GENE RICKARD -- voices
Kurt Munkacsi -- engineer, mixing
Tom Duffy -- engineer
Francois de Menil -- executive producer
Ed Lee -- art direction/design
Lock Huey -- cover photo
Carol Mersereau -- back cover photo
Danny Wong -- retouching

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US/CAN 1977 Virgin Int'l LP VI 2085  
UK 1977 Virgin LP V2085  
US 1977 Virgin LPPRO PZ 34669 promotional copy
    Virgin CD V2-86095  
EEC   Virgin CD CDV 2085  

 

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