vrijdag 16 oktober 2015

.No's Kairos of September on Concertzender

Another month, another Kairos review. Well, almost. Wo. seems to be lagging a bit, but never mind. Here's his take on the September 2015 Kairos in which he emerges himself in the sometimes esoteric musical choices of his WoNo Magazine partner, .No. Let us step back and give the floor to Wo.

Last month I gave my self over to an experiment by listening to the one hour program without doing anything else and not commenting on the spot on what the music actually was doing to me. My instant effect-response to the music on offer, by writing down the way it moved me or rubbed me, left behind for surrender to the show. That led to interesting insights, but no more of that, this month. Although I will definitely try that once again.

We start with an ambient work of Brian Eno, the balding, long blond haired Roxy Music member of 1972, but not long after. Since Eno made many records, was a successful co-producer and one of the major influences of David Bowie in his Berlin period. 'Long Way Down' is an electronic composition in which Eno talk sings his way over the fleeting sounds beneath him. Not that I care a lot for this sort of music. I've never really been a fan. This is quite listenable, so no complaints here.

Adyen & Elayne are certainly different. Much more organic but also somewhat struggling. Is it a harp I'm hearing? If it is, is it joined by a hurdy gurdy of a violin? I'm almost certain it is the latter. Ah, a voice. That one is easy. Where Eno's music is soft flowing, 'In Between' is everything but. Almost as if the next note is revealed just before it is played and the player hasn't a clue before hand. That does make the music somewhat edgy. At the same time, paradoxically perhaps, it has a soothing effect and prepares for the next contribution.

This album is in my possession since I honestly can't remember. Long. And I knew large parts of it before I owned it. To my shame I have to admit that I do not recognise a single note. It is the sound of the guitar that gives something away though. The influence of David Gilmour is very clear. The famous central motive of 'Tubular Bells' is not in the excerpt, so that makes something of an excuse. Still, beautiful. The church organ sound underneath it all makes it easy to forget that there is no percussion present at all. The short story is that I need to play my old LP soon. The long one irrelevant here. Mike Oldfield never topped his first album, that is for sure.

Bregovic? Goran? The Serbian star musician? (Well a mix of a lot former Yugoslavian, but operating form Serbia.) I can't tell from this description. The sort of music and the language point that way. What I always find listening to this sort of music is how close all the music on the Balkans and further east and Turkey lay together. It sounds eastern, it has a sort of melancholy that we do not know. Even should this song be a happy one, I have no way of telling, it sounds so sad as if somebody died in the family. There is a real divide in music between eastern and western Europe. In the case of 'Bylan Roza' it is extremely beautiful.

Things get more serious with the long held, soft flowing tones of 'Hamningberg'. The mood was dark already, but now also becomes cold. The long held synthesizer tones remind me of the 80s, a time of doom and gloom, the atomic bomb and the end of the world or at least as we knew it. Polar winds scrape the dying land after the nuclear holocaust. People struggling in their remaining rags, all sounds muffled by the wind and snow. A very convincing mood Lindbaek and Farsted present me with.

Next up is a composition by Arvo Pärt called 'Psalom'. The NYYD Quartet plays this silent string work. With lots of silences in between. A perfect spot for the monthly poem. This time about Death, where I associated last month's poem with death. The two fit together as the few notes out of which this composition is built up sound so serious. They are without joy. Without hope and full of despair.  Yet they touch me instantly, although I could live without ever having to hear them again.

Next up is Jean-Pierre Jolicard who plays a composition of Jorge Milchberg called 'Cora se Durmo'. The classical guitar would have fit in with Mike Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells' I notice. They have the same lightness that can be found there. The main difference being that there are no other instruments chiming in one after the other. Jolicard's proficiency is so on display here. So many things going on at the same time. Quite impressive. By half as good as Mike Oldfield, but not quite in fame.

Cees Sax's 'Green Flowers' is up next. It reminds me a lot of what Grace Slick was doing in the 60s, 70s and early 80s with either one of the Jefferson incarnations and solo. Something jazzy mixed with some pop and rock. Everyone who has ever listened to 'Triad', although a David Crosby composition, will know what I mean. Sax records himself, but it is time someone started to notice this musician. 'Green Flowers' is the best one I've heard so far though. And then a flute comes in and the comparison becomes even larger. Wow. 'Green Flowers' isn't over when I thought it to be. There is a real mood change in which singer/flutist Marijke Faber really takes off on her flute. Followed by a piano solo. Like a real jazz orchestra each gets a turn. There's a third turn in which we only hear the guitar of Cees Sax, before we return to the original theme.

The fourth section isn't Cees Sax, it's .No doing one of his mixes. This one is somewhat more obvious though. Jason Kolb and Jonas Munk's 'Calumet' is what I'm listening to now. Again a darker composition with long held notes and little shifts and direction. Some long held chords are added or taken away. More soundscapes than music. More mood than anything else. The notes wash over me like the waves on the beach. There's no stopping them, as long as I remain where I am that is. This is what 'Calumet' does to me. I only have two options. Should I stay or should I go? I opt for the first, but only because that is the only way for me to reach the next contribution.

Church music is what we reach. And here is one of .No's perfect mixes. A choir, a wave, the choir. 'Requiem Aeternam' by Herbert Howells is of an eternal beauty. The sort of music that belongs in a centuries old cathedral with all the acoustics it offers. Nothing compares. The sort of music that touches me immediately. I do not own a single note of music like this, never play it. It reaches me when it does and usually by coincidence when a choir is rehearsing in a church I happen to visit. And in Kairos of course. Howells' Requiem is extremely beautiful and the rendition by the Gabrieli Consort directed by Paul McCreesh of a serene, eternal, inner stillness.

The switch to Broeder Dieleman's 'In Excelsis Deo' isn't huge in mood, but a Grand Canyon in expression, yet so close. Of course we have these birds again first, but after that the Sealand accented singing of Tonnie Dieleman sets the tone or ..... I expected it to do so. Instead it is the sadly toned piano that leads the way here. Somehow .No has managed to find the instrumental version. The elementary playing of Doeleman reaches a great effect. There's obviously for all to hear no piano wizard playing here, but all notes fall in the right place, setting a mood that complements the choir just before.

Silmus returns to Kairos with 'Deeply Beloved' from the 'Shelter' album. It can't be long before we have heard all compositions. Again I notice how Silmus manages to integrate new age like music with elements from pop. It is basically the guitars that are guilty of this. Strum the chords played in lose parts in 'Deeply Beloved' and a pop song will come forward that could support a melody. There are enough elements present that take care of the variations a song needs to be more successful. It's all in 'Deeply Beloved', which is a beautiful composition in its own right.

Next up is a piece from the album 'Montauk Variations'. I know the town, the book, but had not heard of the variations. Matthew Bourne plays the piano on 'Infinitude'. A dark sounding, elementary song which makes a lot of use of the innards of the piano. The strings resound for so long. In other words, that is how little notes are played here. Bourne uses the resonance of his instrument to the extreme to great effect.

We end this month with some music from an album that I've been hearing about for years, that was lauded in WoNo Magazine over a decade ago, but that I never listened to. Jazz, bebop, need I say more? But now it's time to listen to Miles Davis' 'Kind of Blue'. It's the piano that takes over the piano before a blue muted trumpet chimes in and brushes touch the skins of the drums. The sort of music that goes with that famous painting by Edward Hopper, 'Nighthawks at the Diner'. Late, late night and the musicians doing one final round before packing it in. The last dancers keeping each other on their legs. Yes, I totally understand why people think this is beautiful, but I need something else to satisfy my musical cravings. Something that involves at least two guitars, but again, yes, this is beautiful music and totally different from what I expected, I have to add.

There remains one question. What is that metronome doing in the background or is it .No's inner clock transcended into his mix? Once I heard it, it became very distracting from the music. 


You can listen to the September Kairos here:


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