dinsdag 3 april 2018

Kairos, March 2018 by .No on Concertzender

Another month has passed so it's time to listen to the at times esoteric program of .No on Concertzender called Kairos. Wo. tunes in and listens to what comes by with an open ear and an as open mind as possible, trying to put all pre-assumptions and prejudices against music he doesn't know or thinks he dislikes aside. In that state of mind he shares his thoughts, opinions and meandering thoughts as happens when in a tranquil state yet having to write at the same time. The idea is not to meditate yet to be in a state of lightness full of insightful moments instead. Unfortunately not all music presented on the show allows for those moments. Oft though it is so easy for Wo. to reach that state. Let's see how he fares with the Kairos of March 2018.....

The familiar sounds and voice sound out, followed by, no surprise these past months, soft and slowly played piano notes. Spacious, as having to breach the space time continuum through the creation of deliberate holes in the music. The private recording of Frea van de Lavoir could be a piano meditation for me personally as well. The notes are soft and gentle, caressing. But what is that one beat doing there that comes through every once in a while.

Where that belongs in can be read in my review of the EP 'Hurt' by Flemish artist Laurens Vanhulle or Low Hill as he calls himself (read on here if you like: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.nl/2018/02/hurt-ep-low-hill_10.html). His instrumental, electronic composition 'Down' takes over the piano. Changing the sound yet not the mood. And slowly Van de Lavoir is let back in again, meandering in through the electronics. Strange?, perhaps, but it clearly works. Low Hill slowly gets darker in sound. From meditation to nightmare in minutes? This could become a bad trip, I suppose. For me being familiar with 'Down' I find myself totally okay here. I may appreciate the composition even better and it could be a piece of inspiration for Low Hill even for future work. On how to use a piano in or over the electronics. It is Frea van de Lavoir who ends the opening section of Kairos.

One piano morphs into the other. .No is on a roll. Ben Lukas Boysen returns to Kairos with a piano composition from his album 'Spells'. 'Selene' may be a bit dark. The clear and obvious beauty is what gets to me. This is like a walk in the dark. Not knowing the direction and trying to find your way without a clue. It's dark and no direction home. I have the idea I'm hearing two instruments. The dark piano and something electronic underneath it playing the exact same note. Suggestion or real? My ears can't tell, I find.

A harmonium comes in. Modern Studies? Yes, another song from that fine album 'Swell To Great'. But what are those sounds slowly coming to the fore? "Adaption by Wino Penris"? What is happening here? I am listening to a remix of some sorts. Sounds are looped endlessly and added to the original, changing the complete fabric of the song. This changes when the singing part joins in. The seriousness and execution reminds me instantly of the way Broeder Dieleman approaches his music. Moderns Studies and Tonny Dieleman ought be introduced to one another some time soon. The sounds used for the adaptation return now in their regular place in the song. Well done, .No. This really works.

House of Cosy Cushions can by now be called a true veteran of this show. I'm still meandering between appreciation and doubt. So where are things going this rendition of Kairos? Slowly the appreciation needle climbs into the green and comfortably stays in tits position. How well 'Haunt Me Sweetly' fits with 'Today's Regrets' I just heard. The same way of singing, the man-woman voices. It's not that there is happening a lot, no. It's the mood that is soothing in a somewhat dark natured way.

What are these irritating, ugly piano notes that sound like a bricklayer's hammer on a slap of stone? It is Rutger Zuydervelt bringing me out of my enraptured state of reverie with the sounds of craftsmen of the street and the disturbance they can bring to it. Only the boombox with loud music of the kind I do not like is missing. If anything Zuydervelt bought me back in time to reality.

Next up is a voice like the one of the only person I silently cheered at when he died (in a movie, mind). That cherubic singing kid in a movie I've forgotten the name of. Singing extremely high the whole time, irritating the bloody hell out of my ears and patience and got what he deserved as far as I was concerned. So here you go, music can bring me in a latent violent state as well. Here it is a composition of Steve Reich. Zuydervelt's piano pounding on one note, one of the highest possible, continues for a while to, mixed in exactly right to the inner rhythm of 'Proverb'. (I think this is the first time I've associated choir music with rhythm.) More voices join, luckily for me. Also deeper, male voices. An except from 'Proverb'. Seven long minutes? My ears are slowly trying to close themselves and not succeeding. After having come over my initial shock, slowly the music opens itself up to me or probably the other way around. It seems like I'm slowly starting to understand why others are able to appreciate this music. A strange hybrid it is though. The tranquil voices of a church choir versus the modern music underneath it. No, this is not for me, but I do get what this composition can do for me in this particular context. There's so many little threads to follow here. Each one can take me in another direction when listening only to the music. The ugly duckling did change into a swan, right here in seven minutes flat.

The mood changes with a dark sounding cello. Matthew Bourne returns to Kairos with a fragment of 'Valentine'. Hardly music, all mood. Don't ask me what I think of this. It may just be beyond me why someone would want to make this.

Choir. The serious kind. 'Into Thy Hands'. The right music for this week. In two days from writing it is Good Friday and that is what was allegedly said on that day by the man who inspires millions on this earth. "Father, into thy hands, I commend my spirit" is a phrase of not only surrender, also of liberation as the fight, the inner struggle is over. Resigned to his fate, Jesus was. And then people started to tinker with it. Does this all come through in this music? I'm sorry, I have no way of telling. It's not the best choir music I have heard on Kairos, that I do know. This does not inspire or alleviate me personally.

Low Roar has nothing to do with church music and yet, the switch to this song built up out of electronic sounds and Ryan Karazija's soft voice somehow fits in totally as he sings "I walk home with my spirit". 'Without You' is a modern structured song. Yet it is not hard to imagine a Simon & Garfunkel singing it in their folk pop style of the 60s. Paul Simon tickling away on his acoustic and Art Garfunkel harmonising ever so heavenly.

Another song takes over, I notice, but also electronic at bottom. What I'm hearing sounds like a clock ticking on drugs. It seems to remember it ticks, just not how anymore and it finds ways to express itself with many more ticking rhythms, all at the same time. Disturbing each and everyone not on drugs and trying to keep time. And yet, listen more securely and find the basic sound hidden in there somewhere. We are all saved, time-wise. Again a track from the recently re-released album (by Fire Records) 'Hex' of Bark Psychosis comes by. An album that passed me by totally in the Nirvana and Pearl Jam hey day of the early 90s. To catch up with me in the late 10s. Why not? I'm never too old to re-appreciate or (re)discover music. 'Hex' is one of those albums that this blog allowed me to discover. And not just me, as I'm listening to it "on the radio". The music is a little like the last incarnation of Talk Talk. Just complex, atmospheric music, all the hits gone. Layered and structured music, holding a melody here and there, but letting go of individual ideas just as easily to move on to a next and yet another. In the mean time the atmospherics are there all the time. 'Pendulum' is simply impressive, when I'm in the mood for it, I'll admit to that much.

One mood changes to another. Stars of the Lid and their Refinement of Decline returns to this show. Long held electronic keyboard notes are played. And while they are held, I hear that voice again. Mixed into Stars of the Lid. I had my heed of warning, so am not put off again. This mix works I notice. Somehow it just fits. As I wrote before, .No is on a roll here.

It all ends with a composition by a man that I usually can not really stand, Arvo Pärt. So who knows, I may end early tonight, but will give him a chance. Dark organ notes prelude on a soprano voice (I think, not being an expert, so please correct me if I'm wrong) that sings over the organ. "My heart's in the highlands", so far so good. Let me follow for a while. The organ feels right, the singing not what I prefer, the combination does what it is suppose to do. Alright, I give in. This is beauty. Nine minutes definitely overdoes it, but can be forgiven. Just for today.


You can listen to Kairos here:


This month's playlist:

00:07        Frea van de Lavoir. Piano meditatie. Frea van de Lavoir, Piano. Private recording.
01:27        Laurens Vanhulle. Down. Low Hill. Album ‘Hurt’. Self-released.
02:23        Frea van de Lavoir. Piano meditatie (mixed-in fragment). Frea van de Lavoir, Piano. Private recording.
04:47        Frea van de Lavoir. Piano meditatie (mixed-in fragment). Frea van de Lavoir, Piano. Private recording.
05:52        Ben Lukas Boysen. Selene. Album: Spells. Erased Tapes Records ERATP085CD.
08:31        Modern studies. Today’s Regrets (fragment, adapted by Wino Penris). Album ‘Swell to Great’. Fire Records 555073.
10:27        Modern studies. Today’s Regrets. Album ‘Swell to Great’. Fire Records 555073.
12:41        Richard Bolhuis/House of Cosy Cushions. Bleed the Need. Album ‘Haunt Me Sweetly’. Outcast Cats CAT 0C01.
15:53        Rutger Zuydervelt. Sol sketch 12. Machinefabriek.Album ‘Sol Sketches’.Self-released.
17:49        Steve Reich. Proverb (fragment) Theatre of Voices, Steve Reich Ensemble, Paul Hillier. Box Phases‘. Nonesuch 7559-79962-2.
24:52        Matthew Bourne. Valentine (fragment). Album ‘ISOTACH’. LEAF BAY 105CD.
26:54        Jonathan Dove. Into Thy Hands. Gabrieli Consort, Paul McCreesh. Album ‘A Song of Farewell’. Signum Records SIGCD 281.
34:09        Ryan Karazija. Without You. Low Roar. Album ‘Once in a long, long while’. Nevado Records 823674059620.
37:16        Bark Psychosis. Pendulum. Album ‘HEX’. Circa ‎– CIRCD 29.
46:04        Adam Wiltzie & Brian McBride. Dungtitled. Stars of the Lid and their Refinement of Decline. Kranky Krank 100.
48:16        Steve Reich. Proverb (mixed-in fragment) Theatre of Voices, Steve Reich Ensemble, Paul Hillier. Box Phases‘. Nonesuch 7559-79962-2.
49:59        Steve Reich. Proverb (mixed-in fragment) Theatre of Voices, Steve Reich Ensemble, Paul Hillier. x Phases‘. Nonesuch 7559-79962-2.
51:28        Arvo Pärt. My heart’s in the highlands. Else Torp, Christopher Bowers-Broadbent, Paul
Hillier. Album ‘Arvo Pärt. Creator Spiritus’. Harmonia

Here's the link to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:


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