In What Language?

In What Language?

by Vijay Iyer, Mike LaddVijay Iyer


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Inspired by the experience of an Iranian filmmaker wrongly detained by INS officials at JFK airport in New York, this epic work explores life through the microcosm of the airport -- a place of arrival and departure, of being an alien or leaving one's citizenship behind. Poet/hip-hop man Mike Ladd has done a superb job with the lyrics, polished by real little monologues that examine all aspects of the problem -- and it's a problem that often leaves travelers dehumanized. Keyboard player Vijay Iyer gives tone and color to all this in his compositions, and the two together become more than a sum of their parts. It's not an easy album to listen to -- often harrowing, as in "Innana After Baghdad" or "Terminal City" -- but more than repays the investment of ears and time. Is it jazz? Not really. It falls outside category -- as it should, given the subject matter involved. At first it can sound simplistic, but it soon becomes apparent that the textures and depths of the music only reveal themselves gradually, such as with "Asylum." Written originally to be performed on-stage in a theatrical setting, it transfers well to a purely recorded medium, dense and demanding, but ultimately satisfying, inasmuch as it leaves the listener full of questions and less certain about the world.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/21/2003
Label: Pi Recordings
UPC: 0808713000924
catalogNumber: 9
Rank: 119277


  1. The Color of My Circumference I
  2. The Density of the 19th Century
  3. Terminal City
  4. Rentals
  5. Security
  6. DeGaulle
  7. TLC
  8. Three Lotto Stories
  9. The Color of My Circumference II
  10. Iraqi Businessman
  11. Taking Back the Airplane
  12. The Color of My Circumference III
  13. Innana After Baghdad
  14. In What Language
  15. Asylum
  16. The Color of My Circumference IV
  17. Plastic Bag

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Vijay Iyer   Primary Artist,Piano,Keyboards,electronics
Mike Ladd   Primary Artist,Vocals,electronics
Stephan Crump   Bass
Latasha Natasha Diggs   Vocals,electronics
Liberty Ellman   Guitar
Trevor Holder   Drums
Dana Leong   Trombone,Cello,Flugelhorn
Ajay Naidu   Voices
Ambrose Akinmusire   Trumpet

Technical Credits

Scotty Hard   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Mike Ladd   Composer,Producer,Liner Notes
Vijay Iyer   Composer,Producer,Liner Notes
Latasha Natasha Diggs   Composer
Seth Rosner   Executive Producer
Fred Ones   Engineer

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