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Album review: Due East, Drawn Only Once: The Music of John Supko

Flute and percussion play starring roles in two vivid multimedia dreamscapes.


The world is full of music that reveals its allures in a first encounter. John Supko's Littoral and This Window Makes Me Feel don't work that way. That's not to say they're unlovely; on the contrary, everything about Drawn Only Once, an impeccably designed CD/DVD by the duo Due East that features Supko's pieces, is spellbindingly beautiful. But the revelations are gradual and cumulative; the more time you spend with these works, the more they yield.

Due East—flutist Erin Lesser and percussionist Greg Beyer—play bird and sea, sky and spray in Littoral, a 34-minute synthesized flux of structure and serendipity. Against the music's serene flutters and washes, the Dutch poet Cees Nooteboom recites his "Cartography"; Supko's voice, computer-altered, interjects a passage from a 16th-century navigator's journal. An accompanying video by Kristine Marx juxtaposes rippling waves, ghostly figures and blurred architecture—"the surprising accident of a world drawn only once," to borrow Nooteboom's phrase.

This Window Makes Me Feel, not quite half the length of its disc mate, is denser still. Trish McKenna urgently whispers lines from a Robert Fitterman poem fashioned with random Google searches. Hai-Ting Chinn intones the title languorously; Lesser, Beyer and pianist David Broome provide a human-paced repose amid the chatter. Don Sheehy's deft digital-video interpretation fuses impressions of isolation, transience and data overload.

Due East performs at Galapagos Art Space Mon 21.

Buy Drawn Only Once on iTunes

Drawn Only Once (New Amsterdam)

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