woensdag 6 juni 2018

Kairos, May 2018, by .No on Concertzender

It's that time of the month again. Wo. turns his attention to a radio show called Kairos broadcasted on Concertzender. What has the show in store for him in May 2018? Come and read on and you will learn all....

The few notes of the entry somehow effortlessly blend into a sound like waves crashing on the beach, somehow interspersed with a sound like people crying out together in fear or pain. Perhaps even both. The music is like an album I bought somewhere late 70s by a band called Absolute Elsewhere. Synthmusic inspired by the stories of Erich von Däniken. Very spacy indeed. In fact I'm totally tricked by .No. Richard Bolhuis' House of Cosy Cushions is mixed with 70s synthesizer wizard Klaus Schulze (how come all these guys were from Germany at the time?). Except Absolute Elsewhere of course. How influential Schultze has been, you can hear by listening to the sounds that come by in 'Timewind'. Dozens of bands since have used the fluttering sounds and the synthscapes like this. Right up to modern dance acts that I hear on the radio every once in a while. Do I like this? That is the wrong question, I find. I think I'm more impressed by what I'm hearing. I couldn't stand two seconds of it in 1976 (or circa). Minutes is not a problem in 2018.

The soundscapes transports itself into another shape. In 'Spirit Door' House of Cosy Cushions sets a mood that is slightly more direct. The rhythm and sounds are far more in my face. The effect still sort of the same. The repetitiveness is oddly soothing, despite disturbing elements popping up...

... that also belong to Laurie Anderson. Forever 'Oh, Superman' to me and, nowadays, the widow of a hero of mine, Lou Reed. Here Anderson works with a disturbing sound in the back and middle ground. Up front violins and cello play a saddish melody that is repeated and repeated. Anderson works with The Kronos Quartet, a world renowned chamber quartet known for its collaborations far outside classical music. In the second contribution called 'Nothing Left but Their Names' from the album 'Landfall', a slowed down voice tells a story involving dinosaurs and weasels. In the background their is some music going on, sparse notes and what I call atmosphere as in not music yet certainly musical sound. Listening halfway the 10 minutes I know this is not for me. Like 'Oh, Superman' was not for me. The strings of Kronos Quartet are nothing but a liberation. The sad melody lasts far too short. Why release anything like this on a record, is beyond me. What would the music, totally developed have sounded like?, I wonder. Even with the atmosphere behind it. And it goes on and on and on............

Last year Kim Janssen released a new album and it may have been the first album Snowstar Records released, since I am aware of the label, that I could not warm to. Somehow Janssen plays notes that do not resonate within. I could hear his love for his songs and how well they are played, but they were not for me. One of that songs comes by in this month's Kairos. How do I fair one year later? A somewhat complex drum rhythm sets in, a waft of Kronos blows over it before Janssen starts singing with a dark voice. I notice how his voice blends well with the voice of, I suppose, Laurie Anderson slowed down to a man's. What I notice is how atmospheric this song is, how compressed it's mood. 'Host' is, as a stand alone song, quite alright to listen to.

The light bells starting Queen of the Meadow's 'The Bride' are so light compared to all I have heard so far. The French-U.K. duo from Bordeaux plays folk from the U.K. with a modern twist. The voice reminds me of Gretchen Lohse on her only album, 'Primal Rumble', that I haven't played for too long. The same goes for 'Aligned With Juniper' by Queen of the Meadow.

Soon it is clear what .No's favourite album of the month is: 'Landfall'. The strings of Kronos Quartet come by again. Dark and moody, with a bit ludicrous title 'CNN Predicts a Monster Storm', the classical music somehow is laced with gypsy music. The high violin sounds and the very sparse rhythm also have something eastern, Indian in them. Not my cup of tea, of course, but this is something to enjoy for a few minutes.

.No's other new album is 'Underground Bliss' by House of Cosy Cushions. This is allowed also to return for a third contribution. Again moody, instrumental, more soundscape than song. So serious. Hidden in the composition is something as old as a Medieval churches. Like choirs singing in the cathedral, the mysterious woman not belonging there. It is all electronics is my guess, yet it blends well, the modern and the old, in 'Duinpad'. I hiked on several in the past weekend, but nothing I saw nor felt brings this to mind though.

The music blends with singing in a language I do not recognise. Icelandic? It seems to be the case. Högni','Enn Næđa Orđ', where does .No find these lettering?, is what I'm introduced to. It blended excellently with House of Cosy Cushions. Alone it is somewhat disturbing. That choir, does it belong or is it .No playing with my senses? I have no way of telling right now. The music is solemn, empty like I imagine Iceland to be. Windswept, barren, cold. It is captured totally by Högni in this song.

A sole piano sounds. Something which is familiar on Kairos of the past several months, yet this show an exception. Matteo Myderwyk returns with a song from his album 'To Move' called 'To Dream'. The slow notes move by. Although I hear Myderwyk plays nice, this is not for me. Hardly anything happens and I just do not like sole piano playing, really.

It stops quite abrupt and is more or less followed by silence before an acoustic guitar comes forward. Vera Ogrizovic plays a Vladimir Tosic composition called 'Fushion'. It seems I'm having a Groundhog Day experience: "Hardly anything happens and I just do not like sole piano, sorry, guitar, playing, really". With even a duff note, repeated as it seems to belong. Yet duff it is. The composition does come more alive, yet remains completely uninteresting. That does not change, unfortunately. Oddly enough the end reminds me of 'Riders On The Storm', The Doors' probably most intriguing and best song.

What is the sound I am hearing here? The train passing in the lull between composition did not belong, that much is for sure, just coincidence. Are they sweeping the floor? Rustling sheets? No they are 'Counting Eskimo Words for Snow'. Since Kate Bush we know at least 50. Just ask Stephen Fry. The "fun" of this composition is simply beyond me, once again. It has no start, no beginning, no melody to hold on to. Just strange noises and something with violins that is supposed to resemble a melody. In between strange words are mentioned resembling 'Laululljevaljack' or however this bus stop in Talinn is written.

However, the way Nils Frahm and Anne Müller's 'Reminds to Teeth' is mixed into the show is one of those little mysteries. There's a horribly high sound in the composition, i suppose this is Müller playing a violin. Frahm's piano is playing a motif over and over with only minor variations. To top things of there's children's voices. Some even shouting as if in pain.

Low Hill from Antwerp ends this Kairos. 'Hurt' is dark and moody. Dark synth sounds over darker synth sounds. Electronic drums are mixed into the composition. "Hurt no more" Lauren VanHulle sings, as if he tries to convince himself and the person he implores to stay in his life. All none to convincing. The lyric becomes a mantra, layer upon layer, more impressive with each repetition. It's impossible to imagine a different outcome then that both believed what he is singing in the end.


You can listen to this Kairos here:


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



00:00  Richard Bolhuis. Fever Angels. House of Cosy Cushions.
Album ‘Underground Bliss‘. Outcast Cats.
01:26  Klaus Schulze. Timewind (fragment).
Album ‘Timewind’. Metronome Musik GMBH. 
06:20  Richard Bolhuis. Spirit Door. House of Cosy Cushions.
Album ‘Underground Bliss‘. Outcast Cats.
09:47  Laurie Anderson. Helicopters Hang over Downtown. Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet.
Album ‘Landfall‘. Nonesuch Records 7559-79338-9.
11:45  Laurie Anderson. Nothing Left but Their Names. Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet.
Album ‘Landfall‘. Nonesuch Records 7559-79338-9.
21:15  Kim Janssen. Host.
Album ‘Cousins’. Snowstar Records.
24:09  Helen Ferguson. The Bride. Queen of the meadow.
Album ‘Aligned with Juniper’. Tiny Room Records.
27:37  Laurie Anderson. CNN Predicts a Monster Storm. Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet.
Album ‘Landfall‘. Nonesuch Records 7559-79338-9. Kronos Laurie. 
30:43  Richard Bolhuis. Duinpad. House of Cosy Cushions.
Album ‘Underground Bliss‘. Outcast Cats. 
34:08  Högni. Enn Næđa Orđ.
Album ‘Two Trains’. Erased Tapes Records ERATP103.
38:28  Matteo Myderwyk. To dream.
Album ‘To Move’. Excelsior Recordings.
41:41  Vladimir Tosic. ‘Fusion’ for guitar. Vera Ogrizovic, guitar.
Album ‘Melange’. PGP RTS 431050.
46:56  Anthony Fiumara. Counting Eskimo Words for Snow.
Album ‘November Music 2008’. NM 012.
52:02  Nils Frahm. Reminds to Teeth. Nils Frahm & Anne Müller.
Album ‘7 Fingers’. Erased Tape Records ERATP028CD 
55:58  Laurens Vanhulle. Hurt. Low Hill.
Album ‘Hurt’. Self-released.

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