zaterdag 26 november 2016

Kairos August 2016, by .No on Concertzender

It's that time of the month again when Wo. listens to the radio show of .No. Will it be another mind expanding experience or will there be familiar tunes? There is no way of knowing for Wo., until he has worked himself whether supple, graciously or by simple hard work through the music .No selected for this month's Kairos.

The by now well known sounds come forward with the dark voice announcing the show, "Kairos, A meditation on latter day music".  Modern, modern?, I wonder hearing the Medieval sort of music that finds it way into my ear. Perhaps that the instrument, a clarinet?, was not invented at the time, well it wasn't, but what I hear, sounds like an instrumental madrigal. It's a kind of music that just isn't made any more. Putting the mind, so reason, apart, I hear a sort of peaceful music that meanders itself through the composition. Peaceful is not the right word, as the music has a slight edge. It isn't sweet, although the first impression tells me it is. Listening deeper, there are inner tensions that come through in the plucky way of playing; pizzicato to make it sound posh. Nothing is round in Giovanni Bassano's 'Oncques Amour'. It's square with corners that can hurt. Fascinating what one can hear just by listening.

'Where Flamingoes Fly' is the title. Should it be a question, the answer would be, well wherever they go to of course. A droning sound over which sparse piano notes are sprinkled. Susanne Abbuehl's voice slowly flows over the sound. As slow as the piano plays. The darkness of the song is accentuated by Christof May's bass clarinet. With only slightly different accents to the music, it could be a song by Bebel Gilberto, to name one, modern bossa nova example. Now 'Where Flamingoes Fly' breathes a late night jazz atmosphere that could contribute to the mood in the diner of the nighthawks. It's strange and normal at the same time.

Church voices or better a choir takes over with a church organ behind it. Two compositions by Arvo Pärt in a row. One shorter, 'Veni Creator' and a longer one, 'Ein Wallfahrtslied'. I hear the singing, hear the obvious quality, but it just doesn't speak to me. The tranquillity of 'Veni Creator' is just not mine. When the stern violins of 'Ein Wallfahrtslied' come in, it is well mixed, but that sort of is the standard of Kairos, isn't it? -we fans are disappointed if the mix doesn't make our ears unbelievers. A new song? Get out of here!- the mood is not lifted. The mood remains dark and serious. The vocal melody, elementary. Hardly any variations. That part goes on in the background. Plucked strings, bowed strings and then a release that takes us back to the intro. But, no, this composition is sort of weird. It just doesn't seem to go anywhere. In a way it reminds me of the Pharisees in Jesus Christ Superstar asking themselves what to do with this Jesus: "He is dangerous". But that had a melody and went somewhere, including the morphing with the crowd of Jerusalem singing "hosanna, hesanna, sanna sanna ho". Not so in this Pärt composition.

For his birthday .No asked me for an album. 'The Ship' by Brian Eno. It is time to find out whether it was a good thing to bring him that present. Rationally the answer is yes, as it turns up in this Kairos straight away. (I'm still months behind.) So a present well received. Emotionally I have to sit through over 20 minutes of Eno right now. The title song or better composition starts out as a classical, minimal track. Sounds swell and fade. Eno, think 6 or 10 Christian names before Eno, is that then already balding, long-haired member of Roxy Music, who did unknown things to the music as he seemed not really to play an instrument. He played in sounds. After that became a producer or better co-producer of David Bowie, U2, Talking Heads and became very famous as such. In the meantime he put out experimental records under his own name dealing in sounds and minimal music or musac. It passed me by. And now 'The Ship'. What to make of it? Let's face it, Eno can't sing and the few notes keep being repeated with a new lyric line, create monotony. Although that may be a right description of fairing at sea, in music it is another matter. Underneath it there are bare sounds, atmospheric noises and notes that fade in and out.

'The Ship' holds something sacred around it. The surrender to the waves, so to a higher power, that will carry us for good or for bad. I can hear that, but there's no way into this composition for me. Where does it go? What does it want from me? Even when I close my eyes for minutes on end, nothings happens to me. Just amazement. Underwater sounds like I know them from Jacques Cousteau's series and submarine movies enter the composition nearing the end. Spooky treated voices. But then what? "Wave after wave", repeated and repeated. For me this is a 20 minute plus ordeal to sit through. I'm glad that .No appreciates my present so much though. A happy ending to this part.

"Unkrûd" of the album "Piiptsjilling" is up next. Frisian? I'd say yes listening to the spoken lyric by Jan Kleefstra. Droning sounds accompany the text. All atmosphere, no song in sight. An electric guitar plays isolated chords. I've come to the point that I need a song. 'Ob-la-di Ob-la-da' for my part, bar 'Michelle' the worst The Beatles single 45 ever. I need it. Now!

The Japanese flute that is offered me next, is not what I'm looking for, but at least 'Sanya' is a composition that offers a melody. The melancholy flute brings images of being stuck on a mountain in a storm with too much show. The wind racing around my ears, the temperature dropping away, with slim chances for survival. There's no place to hide, just plod forwards in the hope of reaching the destination.

'Quiet Music Never Ends' is the title of Dick Toering's self-released album. I'd hope so, I respond without having heard a note yet. There's another review to write soon and it will not be on quite music, I'm afraid. Nada Surf's gig is up next.

Toering plays an experimental tune in 'Are you waiting?'. I can't really fathom what I'm hearing. A mechanised Kilima Hawaians percussion? The lead instrument is a guitar fading the rest out and in. The mix is surprising in the beginning. The question remains: what am I hearing? I just don't know.

We end as we started, with Axel Wolf and Hugo Siegmeth from the album 'Flow, Jazz and Renaissance – from Italy to Brazil’. Tarquinio Merula's 'Chaiccona' comes by. There are some light Latin elements in the guitar playing, while the clarinet (?) plays a playful yet stern part that reminds me of several well-known songs of the past decades, where rock stars like Sting mixed rock with jazz. "If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free', for example. And so this Kairos ends on a happy note, with a good melody, but boy was this instalment of Kairos hard to sit through. And there wasn't even a poem.


You can listen to the August Kairos here:

This is August's playlist:

00:10 Giovanni Bassano. Oncques Amour. Axel Wolf en Hugo Siegmeth.
Van album ‘Flow, Jazz and Renaissance – from Italy to Brazil’. OEHMS classics OC 1826.
03:25 Harold Courlander, John Benson, Elthea Peale. Where flamingos fly. 4:53.
Susanne Abbuehl, zang; Wolfert Brederode, piano; Christof May, basklarinet; Lucas Niggli, drums en percussie; Michel Portal, klarinet.
Van album ‘Compass’. ECM 1906 9871934.
08:06 Arvo Pärt. Veni creator.
Theatre of Voices en Ars Nova Copenhagen; Paul Hillier, dirigent; Christopher Bowers-Broadbent, orgel.
Van album ‘Creator Spiritus’. Harmonia Mundi HMU 807553.
11:06 Arvo Pärt. Ein Wallfahrtslied.
Theatre of voices; Chris Watson, tenor; Paul Hillier, bariton; NYYD Quartet.
Van album ‘Creator Spiritus’. Harmonia Mundi HMU 807553.
19:37 Brian Eno. The Ship.
Van album ‘The Ship’. Warp Records WARPCD272.
40:19 Mariska Baars, Romke Kleefstra en Rutger Zuydervelt (tekst: Jan Kleefstra).
Unkrûd. Piiptsjilling (Mariska Baars, Romke Kleefstra en Rutger Zuydervelt).
Van album ‘Wurdskrieme’. Expermedia XPCD012.
46:18 Kohachiro Miyata/trad. Sanya.
Kohachiro Miyata, Japanse fluit.
Van album ‘Japan, Shakuhachi-The Japanese Flute’. Electra Nonesucg 7559-72076-2.
52:33 Dick Toering. Are you waiting? (fragment).
Van album ‘Quiet music never ends’. Listermusic/eigen beheer.
56:10 Tarquinio Merula. Chaiccona.
Axel Wolf en Hugo Siegmeth.
Van album ‘Flow, Jazz and Renaissance – from Italy to Brazil’. OEHMS classics OC 1826

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