dinsdag 27 december 2016

Kairos by .No. Concertzender, November 2016

The moment is getting closer that Wo. has caught up with .No's Concertzender radioshow Kairos. Each month it is a surprise what .No unleashes on unsuspecting listeners, but perhaps even a bigger surprise what Wo. makes of it all. Associations, little stories, pure horror and the soft touch of emotions. It all comes by when Wo. takes an aural dive into music he often never encounters except on Kairos, a meditation in music.

After the familiar announcement, from the man with the extremely pleasant voice, I hear music from long ago. Elisabeth I may have danced to this or watched her court members do so from her throne if she wasn't inclined to dancing herself. Christopher Wilke plays a baroklute in Roman Turovsky's 'Revenge'. So much for the English court of 1570. Turovsky was born in the Ukraine in 1961. A lute player and writer of lute compositions. So is it the sound of the instrument that brings the early modern age to mind? It seems so. The composition is soothing, but just too long to my taste. If only just a little.

I would not call Larus Sigurdsson a Kairos veteran, but it is clear that .No likes the album as he returns to with through the song 'Helmut Holds Calmness In Chaos'. Helmut as in Schmidt? No, then it would have been called Helmut Holds A Cigarette in Chaos'. We move back to piano as we have done for a few months now on Kairos. Sigurdsson weaves his atmospherics around the softly played keys. Again what happens here impresses me in a pleasant way. There is a calmness and inner strength in this music that shows. No matter how vulnerable the music may seem, it is a tower of strength. Like an ages old oaktree on the top of a hill, withstanding the elements in all seasons, not wavering one bit.

Margriet Ehlen returns to Kairos again also. No organ this time, sorry Jo Louppen, but a composition for flute. It has a high piep-knor irritation factor, that irks me no little. 'Firefly, My Little Sister'? Fly away, little paraquayo, I'd say. It is beyond me to find beauty in this composition. So, let's move on, before I start writing something extremely unpleasant about it Ms. Ehlen, her sister and who knows what other family member. It is almost Christmas after all, so live and let play, I'm zen. As I ought to be with Kairos.

'Like Water Through Sand' is the title of the album from which the next song is lifted. What to expect with a title like this? Water moves through sand quickly, making a lot of mud before it dries up again. The piano notes move slow like big fat drops falling far and wide apart. Leaving wet circles in the sand. Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch plays 'Strelka'. Other instruments move in with the piano slowly, creating a darker mood than the piano does, which plays a 'Tubular Bells' like motive. The rain abides slowly for strings.

Tsjaikovsky is next or better variations on one of his compositions by Anton Stepanovitsj Arensky and those are played by the Atheneum Kamerorkest. Perhaps a bit hard to follow, but that's what it is. And over before I notice. The dark violins are not even in my ears for 90 seconds. What to make of that? Time to move on, but to my surprise I would not have minded to hear some more.

Ben Lukas Boysen returns also. This time with his song 'The Veil' from his album 'Spells'. Again solo piano notes, some light offset by a deeper one. This music is so light it would float away if let outside in the wind. Slowly the composition develops itself, reveals a little more of itself. If you let yourself, you will be carried away. The long held, sustained notes float through my room, my ears, my head and bring me in a trance. This is 100% Kairos music, Mr. Boysen. Each piano note is charged by things in the background, synths?, cellos", I don't know, I think the former or both? And there is this percussion, this coppery sound, cowbell like.

The move to Lubomir Melnyk's piano is abrupt by .No's standards. The piano playing is so much busier. 'Ripples In A Water Scene' it is called. For that it is too busy. Unless it is raindrops falling into the water making many ripples bumping into each other, upsetting the water scene completely. The song has a lightness of being. It floats or flies like girls playing hopscotch. The light touch with which the piano is played adds to my sensation. It is easy to imagine this song being made into a great popsong with a beautifully sung melody. 'Rivers And Streams' is an album to check out. Have I ever written that before in my years as Kairos watcher?

The next theme is about infiltration. The news is full of information warfare, false news, manipulation of news to influence elections. And what do we get on Kairos? "This is an official announcement of the authorities. Please skip this song and move forward to the next one. We can not guarantee that there are no hidden messages in the rendition of 'Vor Deiner Kreuz' by the Moskovite Men Choir 'Orthodox Singers'". As reviewer I proceeded, albeit carefully, and heard dark and higher voices move through a church composition. I missed the cathedral atmospheric quality in this recording. And rest assured, I could not understand a single word of what was being sung. The main message may have been hidden and targeted at my subconscious though. Warn me should you notice strange things on the blog.

Christian Wilke returns with a composition by Turovsky. I'm sure it is another song, but I can already state that they all sound the same to me. So I refer to the last sentence before last above on Wilke. The final one does not count any longer.

Alexander Scriabin? Wasn't he in the October '16 Kairos as well? In that case he returns also. Now with one of those incomprehensible titles like "Amarillo in G sharp and flattop major"or something like it. Håkon Austbo plays the piano here and again I notice how .No is captured by lightly touched pianos lately. Surely darker notes are played as well, but they are no more that a stormcloud in the far distance while overhead the stars shine and the young man dance the girls away in an endless twirl of youth no one wishes to end. The mood does change. Like a father or mother telling youth they have overstepped a line and telling them off. The girls giggle behind their hands and gossip on. Imagining life before it has caught up with them. While the boys boast, puff their chests, smoking a cigarette without being allowed to, behind the bushes.

Orcas' 'Until Then' is up next. Again a piano. Much less serious, although through the song something serious meanders as well. 'Until Then' makes me feel sad, although I can't really tell you why. It speaks to me at a level I do not want to be touched, I guess. A voice, a darker male one, a piano, some guitar and strange noises that is all. Yet it is enough. The title holds something indefinite within it as well of course, it could also mean until when?

Something seems to be taking the song over. Like an invasion from Mars or a swarm of insects, washing over all before it. Is .No at work or is this part of 'Until Then'?

When the noise fades out, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds take over. Another sad song. Empty, an organ and very little else. It's his duet 'Distant Sky' with Else Torp, a Danish singer. Again I'm surprised that such a huge effect can be reached with so little. The song is so slow that it almost hasn't got beats per minute and the instrumentation is beyond minimal. Yet, all is in its right place. Only at the end some instruments are added to great emotional effect.

The Atheneum Kamerorkest has the honour to close this Kairos, although I would have prefered the final notes of 'Distant Sky', a monumental, modern song. Instead we hear a composition by Edward Elgar. Listening to the stately violins I can understand .No's choice better. The mood of this composition underscores what Nick Cave has brought us. Ultimate seriousness and nothing to get happy about. Life is no laughing matter is the theme of November, I venture. Even if we try to make it so, see my take on Scriabin, someone will remind us it is not. The deep, silent notes of Elgar send us on our way, so softly that at first I do not notice this Kairos is over.


You can listen to this Kairos here:


This is November's playlist:

00:13 Roman Turovsky. Revenge.
Christopher Wilke, barokluit.
Album ‘De Temporum Fine Postludia’. Polyhymnion CD 001.
05:58 Larus Sigurdsson. Helmut holds calmness in chaos.
Album ‘We Are Told That We Shine. Volkoren 65.
09:47 Margriet Ehlen. Firefly, My Little Sister voor fluitsolo.
Helen Hendriks, dwarsfluit.
Album ‘Kus!’.Stichting Limburgse Componisten.
14:50 Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch. Strelka.
Album ‘Like Water Through The Sand’. FactCat Records CD13-20P (130701).
17:27 Anton Stepanovitsj Arensky. Variaties op een thema van Tsjaikovsky (fragment).
Atheneum Kamerorkest; Qui van Woerdekom, dirigent.
Album ‘Atheneum Kamerorkest 3’.Siemens / KRO KK-CD 9308.
18:46 Ben Lukas Boysen. The Veil.
Album ‘Spells’. Erased tapes Records ERATP085CD.
25:13 Lubomyr Melnyk. Ripples In A Water Scene.
Album ‘Rivers and Streams’. Erased Tapes Records ERATP077CD.
31:24 Klaus Heizmann (comp.), Johannes Jourdan (orig. text). Vor Deinem Kreuz.
Moskauer Männerchor ‘Orthodoxe Sänger’.
Album ‚Bässe des Heiligen Russland’. Duo-Phon Records 03283 / TCL.
36:23 Roman Turovsky. Indefinitely.
Christopher Wilke, barokluit.
Album ‘De Temporum Fine Postludia’. Polyhymnion CD 001.
40:08 Alexander Scriabin. Andante uit Sonata No. 2 in G sharp minor op. 19 (Sonata Fantaisie).
Håkon Austbo, piano.
Brilliant Classics 6137-2.
46:59 Orcas (Benoît Pioulard / Rafael Anton Irisarri). Until Then.
Album ‘Orcas’. Morr Music morr 111-cd.
51:06 Nick Cave. Distant Sky.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.
Album: Skeleton Tree. Bad Seed Ltd. BS009CD.
56:23 Edward Elgar. Adagio uit Elegie voor Strijkorkest op. 58.
Atheneum Kamerorkest; Qui van Woerdekom, dirigent.
Album ‘Atheneum Kamerorkest 3’.
Siemens / KRO KK-CD 9308.

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