zondag 23 november 2014

The November Kairos by .No

November, another Kairos by our own .No on the Concertzender. Last month we already mentioned that .No has a special pair of ears. So what does he have for us this month? In other words, Wo. challenges himself again with music he doesn't hear every day, not even week.

The show starts with the standard sonorous voice introducing Kairos, a meditation in sound. The first work is a piece of minimal music in which the atmosphere is more important than a traditional song structure. Michael Pisaro is a guitarist and composer from the U.S. The soft drones are interspersed sparingly by a violin holding a note extremely long and voices that come to us as from a thick fog. Nothing guitarist can be discerned easily in 'Blues fell', the composition that is the opening song. The soft guitar tones that melt into the song appear to announce Pisaro's own contribution, but to my surprise I recognise I Am Oak, from the band's last cd 'Ols songd', that we reviewed earlier quite favourably this year (http://wonomagazine.blogspot.nl/2014/02/ols-songd-i-am-oak.html). .No has found his way to the Snowstar Records acts! Last month Broeder Dieleman, now I Am Oak. So who is next of the Snowstar stable?

Next up is someone we have already met in October's edition, Nils Frahm. The atmosphere of this subdued piano work blends in superbly, again, with I Am Oaks' 'Covers cover'. Being unfamiliar with Frahm's work in general, what speaks to me directly is that the song 'Says' has a direct link with the album Pink Floyd released this month, 'The endless river'. A solo guitar is missing, but at the basis Rick Wright was composing, just like Frahm does. Soundscapes with minimal accents and changes, slowly building towards a climax. Not a word is spoken, but 'Says' says it all. Long and slowly building up, it takes patience to learn to appreciate 'Says'. Abruptly it all ends, making room, what sounds like a harp to me. Ólafur Björn Ólafsson's 'White mountain', is another piece of total relaxation. The total relaxation of pure notes from the Islandic, volcanic fjords.

Silmus is a Dutch band from Friesland. It's second album 'Shelter' delivers the song 'Rememberance'. Ambient, soft guitar playing, serene. Produced by Milco Eggerman, known from many records and different bands himself, Silmus excels in quiteness as can be found in the remote corners of the Dutch northern province, where "you can find musicin unexpected places", to paraphrase Silmus' website.

'Yojihito' is another beautiful song by I Am Oak. Thijs Kuijken lays a lot of under the surface tensions in this quiet song, making it something special to listen to. The traditional singing of the Moscow Male Choir is not exactly up my tree. At times the singing is so soft that I fear my ears are failing me. Not everything has to be to my personal liking, does it? Will Samson is up next with two songs of his 2012 album 'Balance'. In 'Music for autumn' the acoustic guitar holds the central position. With other sounds, atmosphere and non textual singing, all emulating the wind, guitar notes appear to be leaves, slowly falling from the trees as if severed by the slightest of winds possible. As if caressed from the branches, carried by this soft wind to the ground. The same softness comes forward in 'Oceans are wilder'. Wilder they may be, the music isn't. Although some electronic beats come in, reminding me of The xx and even the Dutch youngsters The Future Dust, but these ambient songs have nothing to do with dance. All atmosphere with some slight disturbances that cut through the haze this music has enveloped around itelf.

With two compostitions by Anita Frenks from her album 'Coming home' (under the moniker Anna van Avalon) Kairos slowly draws towards its finale. Frenks is a harpist that in 2009 also released a cd called 'Lieve dag' on the WoNo Productions record label (see and listen: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/annanl). 'Coming home' is much more than the album of a harpist. In 'De vlucht van de duiven' total estrangement happens when the composition undergoes this dramatic change, like two songs being played at the same time, until in 'By your touch', because of .No's mix or the original album?, the harp comes back and all is normal again in the final 45 seconds of Anita Frenks' contribution.

Kairos ends with nearly 20 minutes John Tavener, the British composer who died just over a year ago. His 'Last sleep of the virgin' is performed by the Chilingirian Quartet. Again a composition that is a bit beyond my taste, but do not let that keep you from taking a listen. The piece is solemn, dark, quiet, long. Too long for me, but a new experience non the same.

If you want to find out yourself what I'm writing about, just click on the link below and start the November Kairos.




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