Into the Cauldron

Into the Cauldron

4.0 1
by Chris Thile, Mike Marshall
     
 
Sharing a love of collaboration, lyricism, and challenging instrumental dialogue, mandolin virtuosos Chris Thile and Mike Marshall merge their talents on Into the Cauldron, a scintillating collection of originals and covers. Thile, of newgrass up-and-comers Nickel Creek, and Marshall, from the

Overview

Sharing a love of collaboration, lyricism, and challenging instrumental dialogue, mandolin virtuosos Chris Thile and Mike Marshall merge their talents on Into the Cauldron, a scintillating collection of originals and covers. Thile, of newgrass up-and-comers Nickel Creek, and Marshall, from the Modern Mandolin Quartet, push each other's stylistic boundaries on this multilayered instrumental disc, which finds them rethinking everything from song structure to melody lines on Charlie Parker's "Scrapple from the Apple" and Bach's "Goldberg Variations," engaging one another in musical tête-à-têtes that spotlight both the tenderness and the feistiness in their fretwork. The two play the beautiful twin melody lines in the traditional "Fisher's Hornpipe" flawlessly and at breathtaking speed, sacrificing none of the soulful tune's feeling. A more adventurous journey, Thile's self-penned "Stranded in Kodiak" can be heard in movements, starting with a delicate opening stanza that gives way to a frenzied middle section of insistent single-note cries and the howl of hammered chords, before a final, peaceful passage of lightly strummed chords resolves the drama. "Something Quite Trifling," co-written by Marshall and Thile, is anything but, as one picker responds to the other's graceful, darting solo with an equally brazen flight up and down the neck, while throwing in an attention-getting quote from the evergreen pop song "Lover Come Back to Me." It pays to listen closely throughout, as the pair have made sure to keep the background nuances as intriguing as the solos. Into the Cauldron demands repeated listening and pays off bountifully.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jesse Jarnow
On Into the Cauldron, mandolinists Mike Marshall and Chris Thile weave a vision of stunning precision. Both are extremely articulate players, and their instruments wrap around each other, each note sounding clearly and beautifully. In terms of material, the album is fairly typical post-David Grisman/Béla Fleck fare -- a mix of genre-spliced original material, jazz standards ("Scrapple from the Apple"), classical arrangements ("The Goldberg Variations [Var. #1]"), and world influences ("Desvairada"). The duo excels in their arrangements, using two mandolins (and, sometimes, a mandolin and mandocello) to create a full and rich sound. In terms of pretty much everything but the execution, the album might seem like textbook 21st century "newgrass." But the execution is everything, and the record is well worth hearing. The album is capped by a beautifully harmonic-only reading of the traditional "Shamrock Shore," which seems to consolidate all of their technical achievements into a piece of ethereal perfection.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/13/2003
Label:
Sugarhill
UPC:
0015891396729
catalogNumber:
3967
Rank:
158361

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Into the Cauldron 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chris Thile, originally from San Diego County but now living in Nashville, has achieved considerable fame as part of the Grammy-winning trio, Nickel Creek. At age 12 (in 1993), Thile became the youngest winner ever of the National Mandolin Championship. His 2001 project (Not All Who Wander Are Lost) with Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer and Jerry Douglas received much high acclaim. In 2000, with Nickel Creek, Thile won IBMA award for Emerging Artist of the Year. In 2001, his "Ode to a Butterfly" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Recording. Also that same year, he won the IBMA award for Mandolin Player of the Year. Nickel Creek also won the award for Instrumental Group of the Year. Mike Marshall was a member of the David Grisman Quintet in the late 70s, and he has appeared on countless albums in various collaborations. In 1983, he formed the Montreux Band, a new age jazz ensemble, followed in 1987 by the Modern Mandolin Quartet. In 1995, Mike traveled to Brazil and studied Brazilian choro music. In 1996, he formed Psychograss with Darol Anger, David Grier, Todd Philips and Tony Trischka. In 1999, he recorded and performed with Edgar Meyer, Joshua Bell and Sam Bush. In 2000, Marchall recorded and performed with NewGrange. What happens when you throw the two string virtuosos into a large new acoustic kettle and mix vigorously? The resulting musical stew includes Bach, Brazilian Choro, jazz ala Charlie Parker and original innovations. Marshall contributes two self-penned tunes (Harvest Time, Hey Ho!), Thile wrote one alone (Stranded in Kodiak), and both collaborated on the three numbers that close the album (Something Quite Trifling, What A Blast!, Shamrock Shore). The instruments that Chris and Mike feature are Dudenbostel and Gibson Lloyd Loar mandolins, and a Monteleone mandocello. Mike Marshall and Chris Thile add considerable reverb to the mix to give the project a nice, full, airy sound. It might've been nice if a few pieces added guest artists on guitar and bass too for a fuller ensemble sound. Mandolin albums are in vogue, and this project by two masters performing duets is sure to please. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)