vrijdag 26 augustus 2016

Kairos, May 2016 by .No on Concertzender

Another month, another Kairos. Wo. is still desperately struggling to catch up with the lack of time he faced in the fall of last year to listen intensely to music he is not exactly familiar with; most of the time that is. A holiday in the meantime does not help either. On the other hand, does it t matter? The Kairos show may be on the Internet for eternity. So what is a few months compared to for all time? Here come Wo's impressions of the May 2016 show.

Cees Sax by now is another familiar name to me thanks to Kairos. Looking him up on the Internet I found the comment: "My name is Sax and I play the guitar". Cees Sax is a guitar teacher by profession and releases self-recorded compositions who have found their way into Kairos. 'There's Comfort In Melancholy' is all that the title promises. The extremely soft playing allows one to dream away and contemplate what needs contemplation. The only setback is that I had to hurry as after 4 minute 30 seconds it is all over. That mixing genius of .No sets to work and something strange comes into the composition. Something that does not belong, but somehow seems to fit as if it was intended to be mashed. Just waiting for someone to hear it and do so. Prick up your ears to hear some .No magic.

'Ear To Ear (Antiphones)' slides in and takes over. This John Cage modern Gregorian church music composition also comes from the Rothko Chapel album or series? No, one album. The Houston Chamber Choir sets the contemplative mood back to where I was after a short interruption, with its rendition of this tender composition.

Jesse Mac Cormack by now is another familiar artist on Kairos. Another song from his EP 'Crush' comes by, 'He Knows'. Again the difference between the live show and the EP strikes me. 'He Knows' is so "normal", where live Mac Cormack is hunted by loads of demons that seemed to be chasing him all over the stage, at the end bringing him to his knees. On record the influence of a singer-songwriter like Elliot Smith is apparent. The same amount of mystery lays around a song, while being spellbinding at the same time. 'He Knows' is a beautiful singer-songwriter song with something hard to describe going on in the background. Mysterious, dark and brooding. Them ghosts and demons that are released on stage? It looks like it.

Again I'm fooled for a split second. Kim Kardashian on violin? No it is Kim Kashkashian. At the same time I brace myself. 26 minutes the next composition lasts. Again from the Rothko Chapel album. "Rothko Chapel addresses a network of musical relationships and inspirations", it reads on the label's website. Relations between Morton Feldman, Eric Satie and John Cage are explored. The music starts, again, so soft that I have to strain my ears to hear the soft playing of Kashkashian's violin. Where does the choir take over? Despite me having turned up the volume halfway, I can still hear a dog barking in the distance and a train passing by through an open window at the other side of the house. It makes it hard to get into the composition. So I decide to close my eyes and listen more intently. I manage to do so for a while. The violin notes take me on a slow but decidedly gliding tour, but in the end 'Rothko Chapel' remains a stranger to me. I cannot make it speak to me, cannot find my way in on my own. So unfortunately I have to let it go and move on. (Missing Willem Wilmink's poem it turns out later.)

Giovanni Pietro Aloisio Sante da Palestrina was an Italian composer who lived in the 16th century. Again he comes by with an excerpt from his 'Missa Aeterna'. The glorious singing of the choir brings me to other places and times when religion was still a part of my much younger self and those moments in which I run into a choir rehearsal by accident. The Lord is praised by the voices of humans in several ways. Intricately the parts weave in and out of each other like the smoke of offerings in days long before Palestrina, let alone us in the 21st century. The days of a living God of old.

The break into Sophie Hunger's 'D'Red' is large, nearly a void that opens itself unsuspecting to the wanderer. At the same time I find the song has a same sort of sacredness. Sung in an ununderstandable Retroromanic or Schweitzer Deutsch Hunger touches on deep emotions like Palestrina did over 500 years before her. Not for the first time I'm deeply touched by her talent, even more when the music shifts again to choir music, but this time of a modern sort.

Juliana Barwick's 'Envelope' is a choir made up of tape loops that hold profane and sacral elements. A strange hybrid of moods, that work well together. Although I have to admit to the fact that this musical "trick" only works for a short while for me, 'Envelope' is too long as far as I'm concerned, the composition did grab me at first though. Aural exploration.

Tim Gray is Ethernet, the name under which he released his album 'Opus 2'. This selection is called 'Dodecahedron'. (With thanks to Wikipedia: "A dodecahedron is any polyhedron with twelve flat faces". That did still not help me though.) It is a bit of the same with the music. Twelve flat faces or not, the spiralling synths, the soft, looped percussion touched me in no way whatever. It all just revolves around a vague theme, never becomes concrete and is/seems to be going nowhere. That makes it hard for me to connect.

This Kairos ends with a short except of Nils Frahm. Solid piano chords, played ever so sparingly. It made me want to sing something. Finally I burst out in "How could I ever lose somebody like you" and "I don't want to fall in love". Yes, Chris Isaak. By the time I had figured that out, this Kairos was all over.


You can listen to the May 2016 Kairos here:


This is the content list:

00:05  Cees Sax. There’s comfort in melancholy. Cees Sax, gitaar.
Eigen opname Cees Sax.
04:31  John Cage. Ear for Ear (Antiphones). Houston Chamber Choir olv. Robert Simpson.
Van album ‘Rothko Chapel’. ECM NEW SERIES 2378 4811796.
08:30  Jesse Mac Cormack. He Knows. Jesse Mac Cormack, gitaar en zang.
Van album: ‘Crush’. Secret City Records 6 80341047002 3.
12:53  Morton Feldman. Rothko Chapel. Kim Kashkashian, altviool; Sarah rothenberg, piano, celesta; Steven schick, percussie; Houston Chamber Choir; Robert Simpson, dirigent.
Van album ‘Rothko Chapel’. ECM NEW SERIES 2378 4811796
38:49  Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. Super Flumina Babylonis. Pro Cantione Antiqua; Runo Turner, dirigent.
Van album ‘Palestrina: Missa Aeterna Christi Munera – 3 Motetten – Lassus: Busspsalm u.a. – Pro Cantione Antiqua’.
Archiv Produktion 437072-2.
43:13  Sophie Hunger. D’Red. Sophie Hunger & band.
Van album: ‘1983’. Two Gentlemen Records, twogtl 009-J
46:11  Juliana Barwick. Envelop. Julianna Barwick, tape & computer.
Van album ‘The Magic Place’. Asthmatic Kitty Records AKR081
51:19  Tim Gray. Dodecahedron. Ethernet (Tim Gray).
Van album ‘Opus 2’. Krank 173
58:29  Nils Frahm. Some (fragment).
Van album ‘Solo’. Erased Tapes Records ERATP065CD.
Gedicht: Willem Wilmink

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