|Photo: .No. Treatment Astrid van der Meijs|
This month Kairos opens in such a soft way that I wondered whether I had forgotten to switch my boxes on and switched to the headphones instead. Only then I heard a few piano notes, few and wide apart, that sort of morphed into the spacey, atmospheric sounds of Òlafur Björn Òlafsson. Mystic as the Icelandic landscape is rumoured to be. Is 'Bob In Your Gait' really the third song? Nothing seems to change really. But unlike in that Bourbon commercial where the modern world crouches up on the farm and only the taste remains the same, here an ethereal voice is added to the atmosphere which remains somehow mysterious to which at best something more sacred is added.
Silmus we have encountered regularly in the past few years, but no matter what Gert Boersma's band adds, it still could be a part of a composition that started with Howard Skempton's few piano notes played by John Tilbury. Just another move to more organic instruments and less atmospheric ones. The warm piano returns, with sporadic guitar. I notice that I like Silmus more and more over time. It's time to listen to the whole album.
.No is at work here, like only he can with his ears for things that fit together and the skills to mix them in such a way that they truly belong. His master's ears indeed.
The magic doesn't stay. The first note of Bruce Cockburn's 'Let's Go Laughing' is a break with what went on in the first almost quarter of the program. The song is beautiful and reminds me vaguely of Doug Ashdown's 'Winter In America', but is so much more down to earth, almost bare. Totally reliant on the guitar playing. Cockburn is clearly influenced by the jazzy singer-songwriter compositions and way of singing of David Crosby, but stands his own ground in a totally inappropriately titled song. There is nothing much to laugh here. It's so serious. The second influence in the style of singing is British folk of the late 60s and early 70s. Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson, even Steeleye Span.
The next switch is into esoterica. Exotic percussion instruments are played of which I do not have an opinion. Well I have, but I will keep it to myself. It's just not for me. This 'Tin Hat' moves into a second 'Tin Hat' that starts out with a sort of music that I remember from a TV series the name of which eludes me for now. One in which strange little pieces of music accompanies certain scenes, totally estranging scene and viewer. And I'm there. It's not 'Twin Peaks. In my mind I see a solitary man walking towards me in the distance. The baker who lost all his sons in the war and hear the strange music that could have followed the comment: 'Heimat', the original series. So no matter how "strange" 'Tin Hat' sounds, I see scenes from the Hunsrück right before my eyes and hear the dialect.
Nighthawk At The Diner's 'Junie Needs New Shoes' is slightly more jazzy in an early Tom Waits kind of way, but fits in with 'Tin Hat' as the mood is somewhat estranging as well. The melody flows quite smoothly, there's even something Hawaiian in there, but the samples of voices gives the song an eerie something, where I strongly wonder what the song has to do with the text samples.
Jesse Mac Cormack by now is a Kairos veteran as well. His 'No Other' is a short song, where he touches on the mood that he creates on stage. There he almost pushes people away from his music by making them as ugly as possible with harsh sounds and an unbecoming performance. On record there's more room for the songs as 'No Other' shows. The song shows a dense mood, like a room where it is too hot, too much smoke of whatever hangs over all and it is too crowded. The song is somehow relaxed but that is only pretending. He's "keeping it all in", but in the meantime listen to his voice. Bursting at the seems to spill it all.
From Montreal to Gent is a giant step. The guitar is so much more contemplative. The song is at ease. The bowed guitar gives that little extra. When the song goes off, there is some beautiful guitar work that shows years of practice and the ability to turn proficiency into something original. Ries de Vuyst's song 'Snijwblind' is simply beautiful.
The cut to Will Samson is a very noticeable one. From a song to atmosphere with a drone as if there's an old fashioned plane slowly coming my way, ever louder, ever closer. Reminding me of stories of World War II. People lying in their bed listening to the bombers coming closer and of their relief when they went by. From the drone comes a song, but it's Douglas Dare's 'London Rose'. Have I already mentioned David Crosby? 'London Rose' reminds me of Neil Young's 'Helpless'. There's enough setting the two apart, but it is telling that I started singing "There's a town in North Ontario", before Dare started his own song. 'London Rose' is a little more difficult, has its own quality and is very much worth listening to. The mood is dark which seems something of a theme this month.
Nepotism is something that seems common practice in our most southern province, Limburg. So it is no surprise that we encounter Gerard Kockelmans, father of Hans and uncle of .No, in Kairos. Years ago .No helped stage a concert with several compositions of this Limburg composer and had the performances recorded so that they could be reproduced. This recording is from 2015 though. For me a premier 'Sine Nomine' played by Arno Dieteren is and I have to say that I like it, so all nepotism is excused as far as I'm concerned.
Jonas Munk and Jason Kolb return with their composition 'Slow Billows'. Electronics hover all over my room. An atmosphere that is slowly built up, through which some sounds are allowed to escape before they are swallowed in by that large cloud to disappear behind the sound scape that appears to be revolving around a centre. Ever so slowly and thus revealing something different the whole time. In the depths of the cloud something is creaking softly, something needing oiling bitterly, but can't be seen. Only the soft creeks escape the dark cloud that washes over me and returns, like waves on the beach.
Where does 'Slow Billows' end and the fragment from 'dlp 1.1' begin? That it's there with its treated choir at some point is clear, but the 'Slow Billow' part seems to continue underneath as well. A .No mixing mystery. Give me 'Slow Billows' any day, if you ask me for my opinion. The idea may look the same at face value, but the execution is quite different.
From the revolving sound scape a blaoskapel emerges. Another Dutch singer in dialect starts singing. Gé Reinders in that sense is clearly attached to Broeder Dieleman and Ries de Vuyst but also Daniel Lohues. The combination of the brass band and the singing is a for me unique one, but one that works well. The brass takes on the, at heart, pop composition and turns it into something quite its own. 'St. Cecilia' is a beautiful song and a great ending to February's Kairos.
You can listen to Kairos here:
This is the playlist
Playlist Kairos 4 feb. 2016. 23:00-0:00. Concertzender (www.concertzender.nl).
00:11 Howard Skempton. June '77, for piano. John Tilbury, piano. Album Well, well Cornelius. Sony SK 66482
01:34 Ólafur Björn Ólafsson. Molasses. Ulfur (Erla Axelsdóttir, hoorn; Ólafur Björn Ólafsson, vibrafoon, percussie.) Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, zang; Bjarni Frimann Bjarnason, viola; Hans Jóhansson, cello. Album ‘White Mountain’ van Ulfur. Western Vinyl.
04:42 Julianna Barwick. Bob in your Gait. Julianna Barwick, piano, stem, tape & computer. Album ‘The magic place’. Asthmatic Kitty Records AKR08
07:53 Gert Boersma. You are renderness. Album ‘Shelter’ van Silmus (Gert Boersma, Minco Eggersman, Jan Borgers, Mirjam Feenstra). Volkoren 58
12:54 Bruce Cockburn Let’s go laughing. Bruce Cockburn, gitaar en zang. Album ‘High Winds White Sky’. True North Records TN 3.
18:07 Zeena Parkins. Black Thursday. Tin Hat (Ara Anderson, Zeena Parkins, Mark Orton, Ben Goldberg, Carla Kihlstedt). Album: The Sad Machinery Of Spring. Hannibal Records HNCD 1524.
19:03 Ben Goldberg. Drawing lessons. Tin Hat (Ara Anderson, Zeena Parkins, Mark Orton, Ben Goldberg, Carla Kihlstedt). Album: The Sad Machinery Of Spring. Hannibal Records HNCD 1524.
23:21 Frank de Kleer/ROOD. Junie Needs A New Pair Of Shoes. Nighthawks at the diner (ROOD, zang, piano, celesta; Jarmo Hoogendijk, trompet; Bert Boeren, trombone; Arjanne Kuiper, cello; Bob Wisselink, bas; Thijs Verweer, drums). NWRCD 2303.
25:09 Jesse Mac Cormack. No other. Jesse Mac Cormack, gitaar en zang. Album Crush. Secret City Records SCR 047 CD.
32:43 Ries de Vuyst. Snijwblind. Album Oondert. Uitgegeven in eigen beheer.
35:53 Will Samson. Hunting shadows (D). Will Samson. Hunting shadows. 2:47. Album Balance van Will Samson. Karaoke Kalk 69CD.
38:19 Douglas Dare. London’s Rose. Album: Whelm. Erased Tapes Records ERATP 057CD.
42:55 Gerard Kockelmans Deel uit Sine Nomine. Arno Dieteren, piano. Opname in eigen beheer, 2015.
46:00 Jonas Munk en Jason Kolb. Slow Billows. Billow Observatory (Jonas Munk, elektronica en Jason Kolb, gitaar en elektronica). Van album Billow Observatory. Felte 003.
50:07 William Basinski. Fragment uit dlp 1.1. William Basinski, tape & computer. Album The Disintegration Loops. Musex International (bmi) 2062 (2013 Temporary Residence reissue)
54:18 Gé Reinders. Sint Caecilia. Chr. Muziekvereniging De Bazuin (Tzummarum, Fr) en Gé Reinders, zang. Album Bloas mich ’t landj door. Fennek FN CD 18.