Innova Recordings Releases Schrader's 'Monkey King' CD

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Innova Recordings has released "Monkey King", a new CD by Barry Schrader with electronic music based on ancient Chinese themes and stories. This is the fifth CD of Schrader's music released by Innova.

Wu Xing - Cycle of Destruction

Barry Schrader's "Monkey King" CD has been released by Innova Recordings. on Innova 703. The CD contains music inspired by the five elements of ancient Chinese tradition in "Wu Xing - Cycle of Destruction", and by stories from the great Chinese classic "Journey to the West".

"Wu Xing - Cycle of Destruction" deals with the Chinese concept of Wu Xing, the five elements in ancient Chinese tradition: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. These are important in Chinese astrology, medicine, and BaGua, a system of trigrams used in Fengshui and other areas of Chinese life and culture. The five elements are often arranged in one of two cycles: the cycle of birth, ending with earth, or, as in this work, the cycle of destruction: metal, wood, earth, water, fire. "Wu Xing - Cycle of Destruction" explores these elements in transcendent ways. The "Metal" and "Wood" sections are aural depictions of the elemental density of the mediums, while "Earth" considers the metaphysics of planetary rotation and revolution. "Water" reflects on the conceptual aspects of the world's oceans at various depths, voyaging from the darkest abyss to the light of distant shores. Finally, in "Fire," there are the physical and spiritual effects of all-engulfing flames.

"Monkey King" is based on scenes from the classic Chinese book "Journey to the West," written around 1550 by Wu Cheng-en. Considered one of the great classics of Chinese literature, the book chronicles the adventures of the Monkey King, Sun Wukong, one of the most fascinating fictional characters ever created. Barry Schrader has taken some of the most famous scenes from this book and created "Monkey King," a new electronic music journey into the imagined past of Chinese legend. In the tradition of Schrader's "Lost Atlantis," "Monkey King" explores an immense imaginary aural landscape.

Tobias Fischer of "Tokafi" writes:
"'Monkey King' is a colorful combination of Schrader's recognizably arousing orchestral maneuvers with an immediate melodic appeal, gentle harmonic textures, and electronic echoes of traditional Chinese instruments. While individual elements sound strangely familiar, the resulting entity is without direct reference, a style which is as timeless as it is futuristic and which revels an ancient mythology with the tools of today. Without a single doubt, this piece is the most accessible in Schrader's oeuvre."

Some of the scenes depicted in Schrader's "Monkey King" are the birth of Monkey, his underwater journey to visit the palace of the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea where Monkey takes possession of the Staff of the Milky Way, Monkey's attempt to jump over Buddha's palm, and Monkey's apotheosis in becoming the Buddha Victorious in Strife.

Barry Schrader has been acclaimed by the "Los Angeles Times" as "a composer born to the electronic medium," named "a seminal composer of electro-acoustic music" by "Journal SEAMUS," and described by "Gramophone" as a composer of "approachable electronic music with a distinctive individual voice to reward the adventurous." "There's a great sweep to Schrader's work that puts it more in line with ambitious large-scale electronic works by the likes of Stockhausen ("Hymnen"), Eloy ("Shanti") and Henry (take your pick), a line that can be traced backwards to Mahler, Bruckner and Beethoven." writes Dan Warburton of the "Paris Transatlantic Magazine." "Computer Music Journal" states that Schrader's "music withstands the test of time and stands uniquely in the American electronic music genre." Schrader's compositions for electronics, dance, film, video, mixed media, live/electro-acoustic music combinations, and real-time computer performance have been presented throughout the world. He has been a member of the Composition Faculty of the California Institute of the Arts School of Music since 1971, and has also taught at the University of California at Santa Barbara and the California State University at Los Angeles. His music is recorded on the Innova label. His web site is barryschrader.com.

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