zondag 12 juli 2015

.No's July Kairos reviewed by Wo.

Foto: Wino Penris. Bewerking: Astrid van der Meijs
Once a month .No hosts a radio show on Concerzender called Kairos. It is a meditation music. Wo. lets this radio show take him totally out of his comfort zone and submerges into classical, new age, church choirs and zen chanting. It was not exactrly "fun" .No wished him is his email announcing the new Kairos. So, dear reader, together with Wo. brace yourself for what is about to come.

That nepotism goes a long is proven once again as Hans Kockelmans has found a place again Kairos. One time publicist in WoNo Magazine and family member of .No. If it weren't for the fact that Kockelmans can play a very nice 'Prelude', in this case "114", I would directly file a complaint with the appropriate authorities, if I knew where and what, but I could find out, couldn't I? But no, the music of Hans Kockelmans deserves to be heard, so enjoy!

The short prelude is mixed into Isaku Fujita's 'To holy Land'. This is a piece for clarinet and synthesizer. The traditional eastern sounds come from an undoubtedly far-eastern assembled digital instrument. The seemingly simple melody is extremely serene. Giora Feidman and Manny Katz play the lead respectively the counter melody, where the latter at times seems to run into the limitations of his synthesizer. As if the instrument needs restarting every once in while. For the rest, typical church music not played on a church organ.

The next piece of music is a lot more mysterious. Tin Hat Trio's 'Old world' by Ara Anderson starts rather frighteningly. Weird sounds, not a melody in ear shot. That changes quite fast. A sad, melancholy melody on a violin plays itself out in a surprisingly touching and beautiful way. Something I'd never expected on the basis of the beginning of the song. Freaky!

The first three compositions fit extremely well together. That also goes for composition four. Again we meet Cees Sax, this time accompanied by Erik Ypma. Together they play  one of Enrique Granados' 'Valses Poeticos'. There may be the tiniest mistake discernible, it is clear these two gentlemen can play and only because the home recording is so clear. The light melody is countered by a darker undertone, that is allowed to take over towards the end, changing the mood and pace of the composition.

Things get a little weirder in 'Afar Alone'. Are these bottles that I hear as an instrument? Tal Weiss' singing is not unlike what many folk and singer-songwriters produce by the thousands, it is the totally broken down melody and music that makes the song very estranging for the average listener. I can't say an unique approach, but for a folk artist it is. With not a guitar in sight. It is the bottles and a horn of some sort that make 'Afar Alone' stand out, but I still don't know what to think of it by the time the recording ends.

What happens next is not unlike opening the door of a cupboard and all the content falls out and crashes around one on the floor. From the extreme silence of Tal Weiss to a cascade of sound that evolves into the opening notes of 'Die Ganze Welt', one of the songs on Sophie Hunger's new album 'Supermoon'. For those following this blog not an unknown artist. In my opinion Sophie Hunger is one of the great talents in pop anno 2015. So there's my influence on Kairos as I'm not alone on this. 'Die Ganze Welt' is dark, moody, mysterious and still all about love.

Ólafur Björn Ólafsson is a veteran of Kairos. This time we hear 'So very strange' from his album 'White Mountain'. The distorted guitar notes t the end of Sophie Hunger's song fade into the soundscapes of the Icelandic musician. Like with many of his compositions 'So Very Strange' gives me the impression that most of the original song has been taken out. A guitar chord here, some voice there. Every time there is the inclination towards a song it is mixed out again, leaving the drones on other instruments to continue. I have a hard time with this. Caught between "get on with it" or forcing myself to surrender and really start listening, for which I do not have the patience tonight.

A piano comes into the drones, breathing and oohing and experience with Kairos tells me that a change is going to come. It is Matthew Bourne with 'XIV Knell' from his album 'Montauk Variations'. After a book called 'Montauk' now music and didn't The Rolling Stones practice there before going on a 1976 U.S. tour? This is not easy music. The sparse notes Bourne plays, tell no easy story. Fluentness nor pleasing seems to be his aim here. Better beware for who likes to hear an instrumental piano driven ditty. I'm not feeling my way into 'XIV Knell' and am pleasantly surprised when the now well known, sonorous voice starts reading another poem by Anita Frenks. Voice and piano mix as if made for each other. Well done.

'Cyrhla' by the Thomasz Stanko Quartet is next. The change is hardly discernible. Not until the trumpet sets in that is. We're into late night jazz territory again. Jazz from eastern Europe, mixed with another sort of piano, that could just as well be on a Tom Waits album, but then with weird rhythms around it and what not. 'Cyrhla' is quite pleasant on a late evening. The composition changes along the way. A drum gives it pace, while the piano does a sort of 'Take five' kind of melody. It is the trumpet though that gives 'Cyrhla' its mood and that is one of late evening, early night relaxation. The drum may try different what it likes. It doesn't succeed to really change the course of the song.

Nearly seven minutes later we move to the harp. Gwenael Kerléo plays 'L’appel de l’océan' from her album 'Terre Celte'. The harp just isn't my instrument. So there's nothing much to say. The main melody faintly reminds me of 'Tubular Bells', but that is about it. When the rhythm all of a sudden changes the likeness to Mike Oldfield grows even more.

Simeon ten Holt's. 'IV Semplice e un Poco Rubato 'from '20 bagatellen' is played by Ivo Janssen, followed straight away by 'IV Lento Sostenuto' from 'Natalon in E' by the same composer. Two compositions for or on piano that are different in mood. The first lighter, the second more serious and slightly darker. I can live with this, without getting it into the home. The second part of 'IV Lento Sostenuto' is quite alright actually. It is not hard to hear a whole orchestra playing the intricate (counter) melodies, played here with just the fingers of the left hand. Janssen does this all on his own. And it could well be turned into a Sophie Hunger song. Points scored here. Although it goes on a bit too long to my taste.

May you live in interesting times, is something wished upon people at times. 'Without God' is an interesting title for a song in this context. Ben Lukas Boysen and Vic Bundy present this song to us. Droning sounds drown out Janssen's piano. Go away, it's our turn they seem to say, while engulfing the last note of the piano. Washing over it like the sea the shore, covering it with water and sand. I close my eyes and try to concentrate on the tones and the airwaves created by the instruments. In the end it is just too hard to do. Why make something like this?, I can't help wondering. There must be some kind of market for it, as .No brings us a new artist making this sort of music with nearly each Kairos. It is beyond me.

Nils Frahm is another veteran of the show. This time with his song 'Do' from the album 'Screw'. A very slow and extremely empty composition. Frahm is not afraid of silences here. Although he allows some percussion into his work. (Either that or .No is playing with us, as it just doesn't seem to belong.)

This month ends with a man who filled the Ziggo Dome twice last month with this band Fleetwood Mac. Here he plays a composition called 'Street of dreams' in an unplugged radio session for '2 Meter Sessions'. A Spanish classical even flamengo approach showing that he can do a lot more than play rock guitar. I think an impressive session at the time and a fitting ending for this months Kairos.

"Fun" is always the wrong word for my venture into .No's record collection, but yes, I enjoyed listening to most of the music of this month's edition.



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