John Luther Adams – Inuksuit

If I had to describe Inuksuit, I’d say it sounds like Edgar Varese’s “Ionization” performed in the woods. But that really doesn’t do justice to Adams’ innovative soundscape. Inuksuit is a work intended for outdoor performance The ambient sounds are an important part of the composition, making every performance unique.

Be warned: Inuksuit require a major time investment (about an hour) to be experienced properly. But it will be worth the effort.

The recording starts with about three minutes of ambient sounds of the forest, before the percussion ensemble makes its presence known. Eventually the ensemble builds to a climax, completely drowning out the sounds of nature. Then the man-made music subsides, and in the end, we are left with only the chirping of birds and wind rustling the trees.

Adams’ music seems an organic part of the landscape. There’s a lot of wooden percussive sounds (including a wooden flute), and the ensemble seems to rise and fall, as if breathing. The disc comes with both an audio CD and a DVD version. And that’s a good thing. Because the DVD, played through a 5.1 home theater system, will get you as close as possible to the performance – which, after all, involves heightening the listener’s sense of space.

John Luther Adams: Inuksuit

Tags: , , ,


Become a Sponsor

Underwriting WTJU is a way to broadly share information about your business. It’s also a way for your business or organization to gain community-wide recognition for your support of WTJU’s community mission.

Underwrite a Program


Your gift nourishes our community and helps bring people together through music.

Underwrite a Program