Conjure by Karl Berger and Jason Kao Hwang stands as a masterful combination of both jazz and classical styling which makes for an incredible listening experience. The album itself is composed solely of instrumental pieces that attempt to capture the unpredictable nature of life and the human experience within a musical form. As such, the majority of the tracks featured on the album, work to make the listener ponder as to the true cause of events on both the terrestrial, as well as the cosmic scale. Ontologically, the piece entices the listener to consider not only the cause of events (or lack thereof) but also their existence and creation within the context of a universal community. Whether God, fate or absolutely nothing at all, these metaphysical questions raised by the album are enhanced and conveyed through the unique blend of jazz and classical.
The usage of both jazz piano and classical violin/viola creates a unique and interesting sound that sets the groundwork and tone of the album. By combining the high pitched notes of the violin with the deep ring of the piano, Berger and Hwang form an eerie and foreboding tone. This particular musical styling is featured throughout the totality of the album, creating the aforementioned atmosphere of deep contemplative thought. Although the majority of the pieces featured on the album maintain the same musical tone, the overall cohesion of the piece allows for listeners to engage with the album in an introspective and analytical manner resulting in the truly unique and interesting listening experience.
Conjure raises deep questions regarding the nature of our universe and the lack of control we have over our own lives. The piece accomplishes this by creating an eerie and dark atmosphere through its melodic use of both jazz piano and classical violin. As such, listening to the album in its entirety doubles as an experience in existential introspection. I would recommend Conjure to anyone who enjoys jazz and classical or to anyone looking to ponder questions regarding humanity’s place in the greater universe.
- Vincent Teneriello, kuci.org