No Ninja Am I has featured a few times on this blog already. The EP 'Share A Dream' was reviewed as was a live show earlier this month in Gather in Haarlem. The instrumental 'Another Dream' comes by. Soft guitar playing on a bed of atmospherics, including the sound sliding down the acoustic strings makes. Soft, delicate and soon over, before it morphs into other, more harrowing atmospherics.
Moon Moon Moon's 'Disintegration Loop', is based on a composition that is repeated over and over until the looped tape literally disintegrates. The loop itself has been taken out due to copyright issues. What remains is a strong composition where Moon Moon Moon leads us through with several layers of musical emotions. If ever a song was more dimensional, it is 'Disintegration Loop'. On several levels "things" are happening and sounds, musical or sort of industrial find their way to my ears. Disconcerting, beautiful, powerful, vulnerable. It's all there and so much more and all in just a few minutes. A masterpiece? Not yet, it's too early to tell. But who knows soon it may be.
The traditional guitar sound that takes over is soothing. Like how this episode of Kairos started. This could be the start of a Mike Oldfield composition. It isn't though. Distorted singing takes over and moves over the soft playing. Ah, music from the show .No visited, 'House Of Cosy Cushions'. I start to hear why he was so enthusiastic. The singing has something hard and harsh over it. The music hasn't, but it isn't hard to imagine this song exploding into something totally different. Like 'Nothing Else Matters' changes. The progelement of the keyboard in the background adds a third layer to 'We Make Will Keep Us Sane'. Great song.
Violins enter, announcing a move away from the pop-metal-prog music. I am in modern classical territory. To call 'Attuna' minimal would carry too far, yet there are no clear changes in Jherek Bisschoff's composition. It sort of just goes on and adds snippets of notes and instruments. Like a river meandering, running into banks, sandbanks, islands, obtrusions and low-hanging branches. The music is calming as nothing surprises, nothing comes unexpected. The volume grows though.
Until something harrowing takes over. A sound like announcing danger in a film. Danger the audience can not see yet, but knows is coming, thanks to the music. Otherwise it would just be room, door or horizon, wouldn't it? Unfortunately 'My Frozen Spirit' remains frozen. There is no release, no coming of the danger. Thus it remains an atmospheric contribution missing that little extra.
Bisschoff returns with a second composition, 'Cistern', from the same-titled album. Violins move through the dying electronic sounds of Pechenga. 'Cistern' is a composition for strings, that meander all over the mix in the high, medium and low spectrum. Some with long held notes others playing a melody or just bass notes. Ever more cascading notes are added, until most sounds drop away, leaving the basis of 'Cistern' behind. The dark basses from the bottom of the well. Slowly all return for a pleasant and ever louder finale, including some horns to. Yes, I sort of like Jherek Bisschoff.
Pauline Oliveros is a name we have run into regularly over the past months. .No must like her a lot. Again I hear lots of atmosphere and non-lyric vocals. Sort of, yet far from, in unison with the music. Drawn notes on voice and instrument. Now a song does not have to go anywhere, but it does help to keep me attracted to it. Where the intention is concerned Oliveros is not even so different from Bisschoff. Still, she never gets to the point, where he does. And there you have the reason I'm not getting into 'A Love Song'.
I wasn't aware that Rick Astley has a brother active in music. Enter Robert. Just kidding, Robert is called Ashley. Close in name though. Spoken word takes over, sounds. .No mixing Ashley with his own work? I have no clue what is going on here. Three voices tell some sort of a story. Canada, Columbia, New York. Drugs. Hawaii. Fish. Death. Insurance. Whatever the music behind the story, it doesn't deserve the name. Sounds is an appropriate description.
A sharp sound takes over. The voices stop there and then. High notes played on something get into my ears. Atmospherics and a knispering sound provide the canvas for some notes to escape, no, wrong word, to move one foot forward or backward while chained to a wall. Again this is not music, it is sounds Paul Glazier produces. Like an abstract video in a museum. This music could accompany it perfectly. There it might provide a great background. It does not do for solitary listening.
Another violin enters my ears. Played in an experimental way. Bowing, plucking. A piano accompanies the modern composition that holds some faint elements of gypsy music and French chansons. It's Claude Debussy's 'Finale-Animé'. A bit strange, but very welcome after Glazier's and Oliveros' atmospherics.
A classical guitar accompanied by weird sounds takes over. Almost like a mixed-away metal guitar on utmost distortion. The guitar pretends like there's nothing else happening and plays through a classical work of Spanish descend. From the name of the composer, Girolamo Frescobaldi, it must be Italian, but its about what it calls up. Axel Wolf and Hugo Siegmeth present a rather unusual mix of music where two elements .No presents on his show regularly come together. It is beyond me why someone would want to make this, but from strange things new things often come. So who knows what experiments like these bring forth in the future?
My favourite mountain is the highest peak of the High Tatra on the border of Slovakia and Poland. Sitting outside my tent in the campsite outside of Tatranska Lomnika I can watch the mountain change for hours on end before or after having hiked on and around it. Why that mountain? Probably because the range is fairly small, easily accessible with some great hikes. Why this story? The next composition is called 'Tatry 1', the Slovakian name for the Tatra. Again minor variations on top of a bed of long held notes on a bunch of violins is what 'Tatry 1' is about. Not so different from Jherek Bisschoff's contributions to this Kairos. If there's a theme this month it is that. Pseudo minimal music played, mostly, on violins. It is as subtle as the light changes on that peak. Again I have a river in my mind's eye. That should be the Poprad then. No not really, allow me to make that the Vltava in southern Czech Republik.
Broeder Dieleman is welcome, but also fitting. 'Adriana' is in a way a vocal version of 'Tatry I'. 'Adriana' may be the most played song on Kairos. The tale of the most outward darkness has come by at least three times over the past years. Hearing it again I am impressed once again by the effect Tonnie Dieleman reaches with fairly minimal means. A few notes on a bowed guitar and piano, unorthodox percussion and desolation is right in front of me. A timeless song that could have be recorded in Medieval times. In times long ago, so far away from 2017 as it can be. Times where the devil still roamed the earth tempting people, sending them off to hell forever. And we, I am not counting out the possibility that we live in the world 'De Harpij' by A.N. Ryst has conjured up. You better read that book, if you haven't yet. A masterpiece.
We end with some more modern jazz from Poland. Ignacy Jan Wisniewski returns again to Kairos. A fragment from 'Let's Pray'. An experimental, weird rhythm is laid out, over which a contra bass plays some isolated notes before the piano enters, also playing more rhythmically than melodically. So far I had liked Wisniewski's contributions to Kairos, in a ''Nighthawks at the diner' kind of way. This is beyond me, not unlike several other compositions this month. On balance I was surprised in a pleasant way though.
You can listen to April's Kairos here:
Playlist Kairos 81. 6 April 2017 23.00 / 11PM CET.
00:12 Sander van Munster. Another Sea. No Ninja Am I. Album ‘Share A Dream‘. Uitgave in eigen beheer.
01:05 Moon Moon Moon. Disintegration loop. Album: ‘Help! Help!’ Tiny Room Records TR015.
05:21 Richard Bolhuis. Music We Make Will Keep Us Sane. House of Cosy Cushions. EP ‘Music We Make Will Keep Us Sane – Spirit Door’. Outcast Cats.
09:40 Jherek Bisschoff. Attuna. Album ‘Cistern’. LEAF.
14:29 Cato Farstad & Rune Lindbæk. My frozen spirit. Pechenga. Album ‘Helt Borte’. Smalltown Supersound STS202CD.
17:59 Jherek Bisschoff. Cistern. Album ‘Cistern’. LEAF.
23:38 Pauline Oliveros. A love song. Album ‘The Well And The Gentle’. hat ART 2020.
27:53 Robert Ashley. Robert Ashley. Hidden similarities. Ensemble MAE. Album ‘Tap Dancing In The Sand’. Unsounds 15U.
33:48 Paul Glazier. Brain Space. Paul Glazier. Album ‘Slow Static’. CD uitgegeven in eigen beheer. Verkrijgbaar via Paulglazier.com of cdbaby.com.
36:35 Claude Debussy. Finale - Animé. Harriet Krijgh, cello; Kamilla Isanbaeva, piano.
39:39 Girolamo Frescobaldi. Toccata. Axel Wolf en Hugo Siegmeth. Van album ‘Flow, Jazz and Renaissance – from Italy to Brazil’. OEHMS classics OC 1826.
41:59 Resina. Tatry I. Album ‘Resina’. FatCat CD 13-23.
48:53 Broeder Dieleman. Adriana. Broeder Dieleman. Album: Gloria. Snowstar Records 14-056.
54:32 Ignacy Jan Wiśniewski. let’s pray (fragment). Ignacy Wiśniewski trio. Album ’Jazz Shirim’. Wood and mood.