woensdag 6 juli 2016

Kairos, April 2016 by .No on Concertzender

Once a month .No's radio show Kairos is aired on Concertzender. Somewhere after that date Wo. listens to the music .No selected and writes about what this music does to him. He shares his feelings, thoughts and associations with the readers of this blog. So here we go.

It's time to submerge myself once again in the musical choices of .No. Still running behind, perhaps once catching up. Being on time is irrelevant in this universe. It's about the meditative quality of music, isn't it?

April's Kairos starts with something familiar. I Am Oaks' album 'Our Blood' was reviewed some months back in a most favourable way. 'Geest' however is not one of my favourites of the album. This mood does not catch me. Who does is another veteran of Kairos over the past year, Sophie Hunger. Another song from the album '1983'. 'Travalogue' is a subdued Hunger song, bare and mostly carried by her voice and jazzy sounding guitar. The quality of the song, in hindsight as I didn't know Sophie Hunger at the time, shines clearly towards things to come. Simply pure beauty.

From the bare, but lively singing, we continue to solo piano. Sarah Rothenberg plays John Cage's 'In A Landscape'. As I have written before, the piano is not my instrument, but it is easy to lose myself in this composition that takes me from the light to the dark and back. It also reminds me how close pop and rock sometimes are to "classical" compositions. Several passages of 'In A Landscape' brought me in my mind to Belgian artist 'Sioen'. The sound of the piano on his 'Ease My Mind' is so close to Rothenberg's piano sound in the way it is recorded. The composition is long, over nine minutes. Close your eyes at the beginning and you're able to lose yourself totally in the notes and the spaces in between the notes.

Next up is, as we say in Holland "een tut in een jurk", Björk. Iceland's musical queen. Now over the past weeks I've learned a lot about Iceland, its football and a pre-historic shout accompanied by a handclap above the head. Emulating the pace of rowing in the Viking longships, I suppose. No matter how much further Iceland may come in the European Championships, it will not make me like Björk. I simply can't stand her voice. Although she tries to sing as normal as she can here in this jazzy 50s sort of song  called 'Like Someone In Love'. It's even older, from 1944 and first recorded by Bing Crosby. After that everyone from Sinatra to Fitzgerald recorded the song and many more. Listening to the strange sounds Björk makes near the end of the song, it sounds like she started vomiting herself, so there's no further need for me to comment.

We have heard Bram Peters before recently and here he is again with his viola de gamba. He takes on Roman Turovsky's 'Cantio Sarmatoruthenica Cxxxviii'. For a home recording this sounds, again, quite well. Peters manages to make this dark sounding composition come alive. There's some delay on the recording giving it extra depth. In the second part things get even darker, shutting out the moon and stars as well.

Sarah Rothenberg returns with Erik Satie's 'Gnossienne No. 4' (French for Genossen?). The album 'Rothko Chapel' is the central theme of this Kairos as it will return, but there may be others as well. So I'm not so certain on theme. Three times the same artist and four times for an album in one Kairos is a record I think, at least for me. 'Gnossienne No. 4 is so light, so free moving. This is beauty, it's that simple. The song moves into the poem, which has its own place this time before the Gabrieli Consort starts its version of 'Requiem Aeternam' by Herbert Howells. The choir does its thing. Last month I was in the mood for it, not today. From my window I see a gentleman on a ladder taking care of a leak caused by the clogging of the gutter. Rather distracting.

It's been a while but here he's again: Arvo Pärt. The Chilingirian Quartet performs his 'Fratres'. What I notice is that 'Fratres' does not move me. After a while it gets close to a violin overdose. For me the composition does not change enough. There are some harmonies around the central melody to follow. The only surprising element is the built in stops in which a soft percussive element is added and the composition becomes louder after each stop. With that I've said there's all to say for me. And still so many more minutes to go..... Close to an ordeal it is, I'm sorry to say.

John Cage returns as does the album Rothko Chapel, but not Sarah Rothenberg. She has to wait a little more. The Houston Chamber Choir sings 'Four2'.  My girlfriend and I learned all about the chapel at the Rothko exibition in The Hague fairly recently (as we did on the Matisse church not much later). The composition is befitting for a chapel. The Lord may not be praised or a deceased king hailed, the deep male voice corresponds beautifully with the female voices, that both just produce sounds, oohs or eehhs. The mood is tranquil, the effect reached. The high and loud female voices near the end are almost frightening. I was started for a second, before I wanted to close my ears off to escape the screeching singing. The male voice blends into the fourth composition from Rothko Chapel, 'Gnossienne No. 3', also played by Sarah Rothenberg and composed by Eric Satie. The mood unwinds me from the fright I got from Mr. Cage's ending. Again I'm surprised how I'm tickled by this music and the playing of Ms. Rothenberg.

We are moving slowly to the final minutes of this Kairos. I Am Oak comes by again with the final song of 'Our Blood', 'Your Blood'. For I Am Oak this is a loud song and very direct song. There is drumming, a dark, electric guitar and Thijs Kuijken's singing is so much more direct (in the mix). It's almost wrong to call this song beautiful. For that the effects that I Am Oak goes for are to harsh and ugly, for I Am Oak that is. Still that is what this song is. What I realise this time around is that Alt-J influenced the sound of this song so much. In the singing and the playing. If a final song is an indication of where an artist is going, I would not mind the direction. It would really be a best of both worlds.

It all ends with Eno, officially Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno. Best known for his collaboration in Roxy Music and as producer of Talking Heads, David Bowie and U2. He has made many albums in the margins of popular music. 'Another Day On Earth' is one of them. The excerpt is almost to short to come to a conclusion on it. Just that there are a lot of sounds to be heard making up the total of 'A Long Way Down'.

Yes, again I was pleasantly surprised and disturbingly frightened by some of the choices. There's no hiding as the radio show continues relentlessly, but every time compensation follows. As they say, every cloud has a silver lining and then I find that sometimes they even go away.


You can listen to this Kairos here: http://www.concertzender.nl/player/?theme=16&rod=kairos&mode=rod&provider=cz&program=rod&date=20160407&hourcz=23&pid=84625

This is the complete setlist:

00:09  Thijs Kuijken. Geest.
Van Album ‘Our Blood’ Van I Am Oak. Snowstar Records.
02:31  Sophie Hunger. Travelogue.
Van Album ‘1983’. Two Gentlemen Records Twogl 009-J.
05:04  John Cage. In A Landscape.
Sarah Rothenberg, piano.
Van Album ‘Rothko Chapel’. ECM New Series 2378 4811796.
14:18  Björk. Like Someone In Love.
18:47  Roman Turovsky. Cantio Sarmatoruthenica Cxxxviii.
Bram Peters, Viola Da Gamba.
Opname In Eigen Beheer.
22:41  Erik Satie. Gnossienne No. 4.
Sarah Rothenberg, Piano.
Van Album ‘Rothko Chapel’. ECM New Series 2378 4811796.
26:08  Herbert Howells. Requiem Aeternam (2) Uit Requiem.
Gabrieli Consort olv. Paul Mccreesh.
Van Album ‘A Song Of Farewell’. Signum Records Sigcd 281.
30:57  Arvo Pärt. Fratres.
Chilingirian Quartet (Lain Simcock, Bellen; Philip De Groote, Cello; Simon Rowland-Jones, Viola Da Gamba; Charles Sewart En Levon Chilingirian, Viool).
Virgin Classics Vc5 45023 2
42:12  John Cage. Four2.
Houston Chamber Choir.
Van Album ‘Rothko Chapel’. ECM New Series 2378 4811796.
48:28  Erik Satie. Gnossienne No. 3.
Sarah Rothenberg, Piano.
Van Album ‘Rothko Chapel’. ECM New Series 2378 4811796.
51:43  Thijs Kuijken .Your Blood.
Van Album ‘Our Blood’ Van I Am Oak. Snowstar Records.
58:05  Brian Eno. A Long Way Down.
Van Album ‘Another Day On Earth’. Hannibal Hncd 1475.

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