Belladonna cover



Halvorson with a string quartet is such a great idea because she is such a linear composer and thinks so hard about intervals and space. At this late date, the fact that her string quartet work does not sound really like anyone is a testament to the power of art, and its ability to express the unique spirit of a person. This is Halvorson music, which is sometimes like a livelier Bartok, sometimes a bit like John Lurie’s score for Stranger Than Paradise. There are some combinations of rhythms in the strings and Halvorson’s pitch-shifting guitar ballet that just take my breath away.

Sasha Frere-Jones

On this, the companion to 2022’s Amaryllis, omnivorous guitarist Mary Halvorson continues to show a gift for disorienting and orienting listeners at the same time. There is no more beautiful example than “Haunted Head,” which is like a body of water that gently moves the listener in unexpected directions. Halvorson works on the record with the Mivos Quartet, which plays composed music while she improvises. While Amaryllis foregrounds rowdy dialogue between six jazz improvisers and the quartet, Belladonna is its late-night cousin, full of introspection and continually-surprising turns of thought.

Sean Wood

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