|Artwork by Astrid van der Meijs|
As you'll have noticed Snowstar Records is a friend of Kairos and WoNoBloG. Ian Fisher's latest record was released on the label. He came by in a review, was interviewed and covered live, playing at Snowstar's 12,5 years' birthday party. All in this year. And now Ian Fisher is in Kairos as well. 'Just Like A Stranger' is one of the singer-songwriter ballads on 'Nero', about going back to his hometome of St. Genevieve. Luckily for us listeners Fisher was "sidetracked". 'Just Like A Stranger' is a beautiful song. So basic, but every note rings true for someone "who is a stranger everywhere". Ian Fisher is "at home and out of place" everywhere. We profit with a song like this, that runs so deep.
And here we go. In come a bass gamba. You could have fooled me, that I was listening to a new version of the song. 'Improvisatie met bas gamba' could have been the solo interlude to 'Just Like A stranger', only the very odd note does not fit in. Perhaps Bram Peters should be introduced to Ian Fisher and play on his next record. I see/hear the benefit instantly. This is one of the reasons I have come to like listening to Kairos, surprises like this. There's no way I can say that I don't like this improvisation and there's no need.
Next up is someone who's been making records since the mid 80s. First with 10.000 Maniacs and from the mid 90s as a solo artist, Natalie Merchant. Again a singer-songwriter with a country influence. So at heart we hear an acoustic guitar over which "western" instruments blend. An accordion, a banjo and on top of it all, the slightly frayed voice of Ms. Merchant. Another song which at heart is simple, a few chords and the truth as Bono would call it. For me with songs like this it is all about the effect that singer and band achieve or fail to do. With 'Motherland' the effect is reached, easily. .No, when is Karen Jonas up? She's even better, believe me.
The final chord of 'Motherland' is played in unison with the first of 'Sol Sketch 6' by Rutger Zuydervelt. In this rather dark piano composition Zuydervelt leads us through sketchily played chords and notes, with he dares to give space and time. There's no rush here, just contemplation. Fitting for the moment I'm writing, winding down from the week.
Kim Janssen takes over from Zuydervelt. Also a piano, played just as easy, and his voice, slightly on the rough side. When the band comes in, it is in a late night, jazzy way that gives 'Drift' a 'Nighthawks at the diner' kind of quality. The band on stage playing a final song before we all have to go home. Holding the one you love close, just before the night is over. Moving ever so slowly, feeling each other breath. So intimate. That is what 'Drift' is.
From sparse notes to a truckload of them. Rolling cascades of notes descend on me. Nils Frahm's composition is called 'Four Hands' so that allows for double the notes should he wish. The music is like water coming down a mountain. Trickling over the bed of rocks and stones, falling more sharply at some point, then to stream down fast once more towards the lake below. Without ever stopping the water goes down until there's no way left to descend.
Broeder Dieleman takes over from Frahm with another excerpt from his 'Uut De Bron' album. 'Nehallennia' is carried by a banjo and violin or bowed guitar. A female voice crosses straight through the melody. Despite the fact that both instruments with the best will in the world can not be called pretty in sound, Dieleman captures the eternity he sings about in his music somehow. There is a solemnity in this song that is churchlike. Disturbed by the playing and at the same time it is not. That is what makes 'Nehallennia' so intriguing.
The one woman voice loop is replaced by the full choir of Gabrieli Consort. The sort of song that is sung in a church, preferably a cathedral of Medieval proportions, where every nook and cranny reverberates with music for the Lord. Being there at the right time can be magic and I'm sure this choir can reach that effect.
The mood is continued with Silmus' 'Remembrance'. Over the music the poem of the month by Thijs Rosenboom is read. With each Kairos that contains Silmus I like the band better. I still have to find out what happens when I listen to the whole album all in once. 'Remembrance' is another invite to do so.
No. it isn't Hans Kockelmans to my surprise who plays next. It is Cees Sax. It is an own recording, so odds are that this is another of .No's cousins from Limburg. I can't tell. What I can hear that there is a very proficient player going about his way on 'Valsa sem nome'.
Under the guitar an orchestra is slowly coming forward. It is the Camerata Orchestra playing and the Hellinic Radio/Television Choir singing 'Prayer' by Eleni Karaindrou. Somehow it is my opinion that the two do not belong together. The accordion is definitely doing something different from the choir's melody. The violin then again is very Greek. With these eastern melodies that have found their way into Greek music. A strange mix this composition is. Church and world meet in one.
The switch to Broeder Dieleman is huge and yet a 100% match. 'I have never seen the light' sings Tonnie Dieleman in 'Adriana'. from his previous album, 'Gloria'. It's not the first time that this song features in Kairos, but that does not make it less beautiful. Noise is not necessary to make an impact as Broeder Dieleman has proven several times. The eruption in 'Adriana' is impressive though. This is a unique artist at work. A lot more people should be hearing this music.
Eleni Karaindrou returns, but now as a solo artist playing her composition 'Refugee's Theme' from her album 'Elegy Of An Uprooting'. The tranquil playing does not really reflect what is going in Greece for about a year. I can't imagine all the refugees stuck there now or those in transit last year being this peaceful of mind. More in general, it seems like we have a bit of a solo piano theme woven into this Kairos. Not being a true fan of solo piano, I have to admit that this song is so tranquil. Perfect meditation music.
And here we go! I hear strange percussive instruments, whatever the name in English is. A singing bowl? All of ten minutes I have to undergo this. It's too long as I am getting hungry, I notice. Wrong moment to try and force the world out by closing my eyes, to see what happens. The stomach is complaining too loudly. Sorry, Hanguman, but I'm really hanging in there, losing my grip and decided to fast forward.
March's Kairos ends with the German alternative alternatives Einstürzende Neubauten. Last time .No had them on I promised myself to listen to the album and forgot. N.U. Unruh? Blixa Bargeld? Great names. I thought that thirty years ago also, but couldn't listen for more than two seconds to what this band was doing. 'Wüste' is an experiment in music. With strange sounds, vocals and an imagery like seagulls flying over the local dump. Screeching while beseeching all waste on offer.
You can listen to this Kairos here.
This is March's setlist:
00:09 Ian Fisher. Just like a stranger.
Van album Nero. Snowstar Records.
04:45 Bram Peters. Improvisatie met basgamba.
Bram Peters, basgamba.
Opname in eigen beheer.
08:18 Natalie Merchant. Motherland.
Natalie Merchant, zang; Mike Elizondo, bas; Erik Della Penna, gitaar, banjo; Guy Klucevsek, accordeon; David Krakauer, klarinet e.v.a.
Van album ‘Motherland’. Elektra 7559-62721-2.
12:53 Rutger Zuydervelt. Sol sketch 6.
Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek): piano, elektronica.
Van album ‘Sol Sketches’. Uitgave in eigen beheer.
14:32 Kim Janssen. Drift.
Van album ‘The lonely mountains’. Snowstar Records.
17 :41 Nils Frahm. Four Hands.
Van album ‘Solo’. Erased Tapes Records ERATP065CD
21 :52 Broeder Dieleman Nehallennia.
Van album ‘Uut de Bron’. Snowstar Records.
28 :10 Orlando Gibbons (arr. Percy Dearmer). Drop, drop, slow tears. Gabrieli Consort olv. Paul McCreesh.
Van album ‘A Song of Farewell’. Signum Records SIGCD 281.
29:58 Gert Boersma. Remembrance.
Van album ‘Shelter’ van Silmus (Gert Boersma, Minco Eggersman, Jan Borgers, Mirjam Feenstra).
32:32 Baden Powell de Aquino. Valsa sem nome.
Cees Sax, gitaar.
Opname in eigen beheer.
35:19 Eleni Karaindrou. Prayer.
Camerata Ochestra dir. Alexandros Myrat; Hellinic Radio/Television Choir dir. Antonis Kontogeorgiou; Maria Bildea, Harp; Socratis Sinopoulos, lyra; Vangelis Skouras, hoorn; Konstantinos Raptis, accordeon.
Van album ‘Elegy of an uprooting’. ECM New Series 1952/53.
39:01 Broeder Dieleman. Adriana.
Broeder Dieleman (Pim van de Werken, Adam Casey, Ersha Sollgar, Janine van Osta, Tonnie Dieleman).
Album: Gloria. Snowstar Records 14-056.
43:55 Eleni Karaindrou Refugee’s Theme.
Eleni Karaindrou, piano.
Van album ‘Elegy of an uprooting’. ECM New Series 1952/53.
45:29 Hanguman. In Circles.
Van album 'Hang n there’.
Uitgegeven in eigen beheer. Niekel59@gmail.com.
55:50 N.U. Unruh, Mark Chung, Alexander Hacke, Blixa Bargeld, F.M. Einheit. Wüste. Einstürzende Neubauten (zang: Anita Lane, muziek: N.U. Unruh, Mark Chung, Alexander Hacke, Blixa Bargeld, F.M. Einheit).
Van album ‘Tabula Rasa’. BETON 106 CD.