zondag 28 juni 2015

Kairos of June 2015

Once a month .No's radio show on Concertzender is broadcast. Later that month Wo. emerges himself into the wide musical taste of .No and shares his thoughts, emotions and ideas, while not shunning to provide his opinion. Things do get different every once and again to what he listens to on a regular basis. In reading you become part of a widening of horizons: the June Kairos it is.

Kairos starts with a guitar solo piece by William Ackerman. 'Conferring With The Moon' holds a popular melody, that is that it could have been a solo interlude on any past-1969 Pink Floyd album or just as easily interwoven into a song by Blur or Oasis, admittedly with a lot more noise added in the latter band's song. Ackerman, a U.S. citizen with German roots, active in music for nearly 40 years this year, plays this solo piece, under which some synthesizer sounds can be heard, in a way that is associated with new age, but this could be rock and pop just as easily. A nice start for Kairos, it sets the mood and tickles my curiosity to hear more.

Some faint noises, the birds recorded from .No's window; yes they are back. But also back is Will Samson with a composition called 'Hunting Shadows' from his 2012 album 'Balance'. Atmospheric, tape hiss and faint or better, sparse piano notes fill my head. There are times that this music makes me very itchy, today it beings me into a quiet mood, listening to the sounds that fill my head and trying to find out what it is that I'm listening to. I haven't found that answer yet and .No does not allow me the time as I'm taken to another song through .No's fabulous mixing technique. (The man ought to be a DJ in a dance fest with these skills. Alas, his choice of music....)

This Kairos holds a small announcement in the text accompanying it. It announces Merel Moelker, who sang on a recording of Anita Frenks a few Kairosses back. .No contacted Merel and asked if she has any other work. She had, so we are taken on a late night jazzy outing. 'Detour Ahead' takes us to a late, late night bar in a large U.S. town, where the band is still playing, amusing the last listeners, the real night cats and mostly the bandmembers themselves. Who has and who doesn't have to go to work in a few hours? No one knows. Moelker's voice fits this music and reminds me of the music that was played in my parent's house, Ella Fitzgerald, when I was very young, in the days before I broke the arm of the small record player my mum owned and it took years for us to have another one.

Of course it's possible to go further westwards from the United States, except that we call it the Far East. .No takes that course and presents us with shakuhachi flautist Kohachiro Miyata in the Japanese traditional composition 'Honshirabe'. Deep tones. There is nothing I can call frivolic about this music. There really is nothing else then the flute and the man. Listen carefully to the recording and you know he is there. You can hear him breathing and exhaling to create the tones. It really is as if Miyata is playing next to my ear. Not my kind of music really, but he caught me alright.

'Black Is The Color' is the next song from an album by Susanne Abbuehl. What am I listening to? Classical music, church music, a jazzy singer, Angelo Badalamenti estrangements in the turns and twists of the music? and all the time I'm thinking: "I know this song", but all that is known to me about it is stripped away and replaced by something completely different. Except for the line "Black is the colour that my true love wears". It comes down to Donovan, I think. One of his first hits in 1965, when he was still a true folk artist, just called 'Colours'. That's my best guess.

Next up is another band out of Snowstar Records' stall. Luik is a band that fits into this mold nicely. It is possible to start calling it a movement. Bands and artist that go after a maximum effect with a minimum of sound, but a lot of melody. Luik manages just that with its song 'We are both extermined'. (I'm not certain whether this is English, but o.k.) Extremely slow and with a minimum of notes on instruments. The guitar "solo" at the end is almost a surprise. The singing is dry, but does everything it needs to do, i.e. carry this beautiful song.

From something that is recognisable as a song to the future sounds of Ken Camden, an excerpt from his composition 'New Space'. "Ken Camden, guitar", it says in the liner notes of .No. Guitar? What guitar? If this is a guitar, it's stomp boxes creating weird sounds. Let's move on.

Next up is the monthly poem. This time from Peter Clijssen. The music changes underneath to Karina Esp's 'All the Years Have fallen Away'. Chris Gowers' guitar playing sparse notes over all the sounds going on underneath it. A bass, some kind of keyboard and estrangement on strings. This mood changes the moment Fraser McGowan's piano joins. A true meditation on music starts, without all the distraction of weird noises. The bass lays a very subtle foundation. Together the music is mesmerising.

Just when I started to get into the mood and surroundings started to fall away, the music changes once again. 'Burn Me Again' by Alpha is really different. Another "real" song. Corin Dingley sings with a thin voice, with a hint of the Adele kind of singing. The music is a sort of 'Skyfall' also. Without the James Bond bombastics, but 'Burn Me Again' holds that same mystic, that not knowing what is going to happen next. That standing outside alone in the rain without knowing where to go feeling. At the same time the way the music is filled in, makes it totally different, but the similarity in feeling is striking. If I'm reading correctly 'Burn Me Again' was released in 2010. Interesting, as who influenced who here?

And now for the total mood change. 'Take Me To Church', no not the song, the music. Herbert Howells' 'Requiem Aeternam' is up next. The Gabrieli Consort conducted by Paul McCreesh sings this composition in the way these compositions are sung. I can't help it, but to me they all sound the same. I'm in awe of the intricate and delicate way the different voices weave into and separate themselves from each other. When I visit a church and a choir happens to be practising, I never fail to listen in for a while, but that is as far this music and I go. There is a deep inner, eternal beauty in this music, I'll admit to that.

'Adagio (con grand’espressiono) from Sonata for solo Cello, Op. 8' by Zoltan Kodaly, played by Maria Kliegel is another sort of music that I do not really have the patience for. Kliegel will no doubt be (extremely) good, but it is just not for me. The cello in general isn't and neither is this sort of music. Too moody for me. There is really no joy to be found anywhere here. Nothing that lightens my mood. If I were a cellist though, this is a real solo piece. So to master it must be quite something.

Next up is Harald Genzmer's 'Notturno' taken from his 'Trio für Flöte, Viola und Harfe' as played by Trio Leandro (Robert Buchwald, flute; Andrea Soldan, viola da gamba; Lena Fitoussi, harp). Does it really only start when the harp sets in? There's no way of telling really, with .No's mixing skills. It must, as the mood changes so radically from what I still perceive as Ms. Kliegel's cello. Not that 'Notturno' is a light piece. The sound of the flute and harp add something that is just lighter in sound. I feel sort of set free. The three instruments mix in this more modern sounding composition, while alternating one is allowed to do a step forward, before it gets back in line. The flute sequence could have been from a Disney production of old.

With 'La Veille du Départ' from L'ancienne Maison de Campagne op. 124' by Charles Koechlin we get close to the final song for this month. Deborah Richards plays the piano. Another composition that seems to hold back on emotions, while the old is departing. There is sadness, but very restrained. I do not really know what to do with it. It doesn't invite to step in. In fact, I feel kept out actually.

William Ackerman is allowed to close this Kairos also with a larger excerpt of his 'Conferring with the moon'. His acoustic guitar has a wavy sort of effect on it. Like it is taken along by the wind and swirls around in the air with it, together with the dried leaves and dust. The guitar is only a part of the composition, the backbone. The lyricon played by Chuck Greenberg plays the solo part. This lyricon sounds like an electronic pan flute if I'm honest. A few bass notes, from a fretless bass is my guess, in the background complete the sound. A beautiful ending to another entertaining and enlightening Kairos.

Rumour has it the next Kairos holds some Sophie Hunger.


You can listen to June's Kairos here:


This Kairos is dedicated to Jos Grazell who passed away in May.

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