dinsdag 1 oktober 2019

Kairos 108, July 2019 on Concertzender

Each month Wo. tunes in to .No's radio programme on Concertzender, Kairos. There no twisting the dial involved any more, no phasing of sounds, no morsecode bleeps of fishing ships on the Northsea, nor the excitement of hearing a to be hitsingle for the first time in between all the static as a young kid. The excitement .No felt when a boy was different from the excitement of Wo. .No listened to hear things beyond his own world, Wo. for little musical things that resonated within him. This has not changed, really. The only thing that has changed is that Wo. opens himself once a month to listen to this huge outside, musical world .No presents, before he runs back to his beat, loud guitars and warm Hammond organs and of course that this music is only one mouseclick away to start streaming the bits and bites and there are no longer weird sounds involved. A lot less romantic indeed. Let's see what Wo. heard and experienced in the July Kairos.

Kairos opens with clear guitar notes. It has been a while since Hans Kockelmans was on Kairos. The calm composition may not be 100% flawless, it is warm and played with feeling. If only I could play guitar like this. Just before starting on this review, I heard Robert Plant's 'Big Log' on the radio for the first time in years. That magnificent song, that simply could have been better in my opinion. Listening to '2 Pieces', my guess is that Hans Kockelmans' compositions could work quite well in a Robert Plant setting. Who's able to do the introductions?

In .No's intro I noticed I was thanked for the tips. Not that this is a grateful task, the tipping. Most of the tips get a response like "I don't like the voice' or the song. Sometimes though it does work and one of the tips is Jane Weaver's experimental album 'Loops In The Secret Society'. An album that I have a hard time stomaching on the one hand, while on the other it holds fantastic moments. Weaver has deconstructed her songs and rebuilt them electronically. 'Milk Loop' is one of the too experimental ones for me.

"'Zwitserland 2014', recording by Wino Penris". I take it that he is not playing the alphorn himself but was present when it was played, but who knows. .No never ceases to surprise me.

No House of Cosy Cushions here. It is Richard Bolhuis together with Carol Anne McGowan, a singer-songwriter from Ireland with a few records to her name. The quite, soft song is dominantly present in its own way. The voice mixed very much in front, the guitar closely following. Although the composition lacks variety, the in your face of presenting it compensates adequately.

Experiment takes over again. Noises, sounds. a keyboard and a piano announce Benjamin van Esser. The sound of rain gives away the title of the composition. The experiment that takes up half of the sound sounds like someone is trying out all sort of features on an old synthesizer while the other half plays on like there is no other half. The result is a disquieting mix of music and noise, where the music becomes more restless and nervous by the minute. The result is a feeling like scratching nails on the blackboard, and yet ... Rain does have something intriguing where the fingernails definitely do not.

One of my favourite new singers of this year is Eleni Era. I sang her praises on this blog somewhere in the winter of this year. I'm glad to hear her reappear on Kairos. The way 'Big Star' comes from 'Rain' is quite superb by the way. Who hears that the two can blend effortlessly? Someone with very special ears, that is for sure. 'Big Star' is another reminder that 'Rise Love' is an album worth checking out. You have my blessing to do so, dear listener.

And we move back to 'Zwitserland 2014'. Just people talking, street sounds, all mixed together while slowly a violin and then two, three take over. 'Back Home', wasn't that the heavy riffed #1 hit of Golden Earring? It is also the title of a Laura Masotto composition. The three violins all play something different, two accompanying and one soloing in the middle. The result is an ah so sad song, played on a classical instrument, yet this could be a perfect rock ballad. I have no problem hearing a bass, the drums kick in, a guitar solo. Classic progrock this could be.

It is however a piano that kicks in, driving Ms. Masotto aside. A league of notes are played. Lybomir Melnyk returns to Kairos with a track from his 'Fallen Trees' album, the Preamble to part 1. I can't call it beautiful, it is impressive. A wall of piano notes come my way. I even wonder whether I hear just one player. I don't play piano so can't tell what is really physically possible, but my best guess is that two pianists or an overdub of course, are going at it here. Dark notes cascade while lighter ones keep up a melody at the same time. So tell me, ye connoisseurs.

A female voice and piano are interrupted by a short choir sound. Is this another private recording? Dogtert. Hoe! it reads, not bad I'd say. The voice sings clear and angelic. The impression is one of virtue and innocence. The synth that joins in later is a surprise. So harsh compared to all else going in. The variations in notes are interestingly on the edge of what is pleasant to listen to. The voice is not deterred, although electronically treated in some parts to suggest a malfunction. Again interestingly on the edge.

Lorenzo Masotto? Laura's brother or husband? The record label is the same. And what is the private recording and what is Masotto? I have no way of telling. The Hoe! and Oeh! compositions take up the most time according to the tracklist.

Jane Weaver returns with 'Majic Loop'. The experiment is more contained here, but is not unlike the Dogtert/Massoto mix we just heard. Weaver's clear voice hovers over the music, where an acoustic guitar plays the same folk chords over and over. It is the background that is estranging. Although there may be a traditional instrument hidden in there, it is a mix that makes the song different. There's just no certainty as to what the listener is presented. Instruments weave in and out of the mix, the brew of sounds, the loops. 'Loops In The Secret Society' is not such a radical move as Modern Studies' collaboration with Tommy Perman. Both Fire Records' acts will undoubtedly have surprised their fans with their latest albums.

A violin comes in accompanied by a piano. This time more traditionally played. The kind of way that has turned me off of the instrument ever since I was young. High notes, just short of screeching. Chills down my spine? Yes, but not of joy. 'Cantilena (from Sonata for violin and piano)' is just not for me.

Yes, another tip. Veecaten is a duo that has bounced music between each other for years before coming up with a mini album before the summer. It sounds like a third member was added to the band. All sorts of choirs weave in and out of 'How To Drown Without Being Found'. If I had not known the song my guess would have been: '.No's at work again. This is Veecaten's most experimental song of the five song EP. Electronics have the upper hand. Some Pink Floyd influences cannot be denied here. The background is not unlike on the 'Animals' album. More atmosphere than song.

The acoustic guitar is slowly mixed in, pushing away the electronic atmosphere of Veecaten. It is 'The Raven in A minor' by Roman Turovsky. This is serious playing in a medieval style. Almost for a funeral I'd say.

Heavy synths come in. No Subtle mix here. Jane Weaver is about to make a point here. There is a similarity here though. This is extremely serious music as well. It may be that this is a remix, but one of a kind that makes the original lost in translation. The synths pulse and digitally shake, only to be replaced by Lorenzo Masotto somewhere, but I simply can't tell what is what.

When an acoustic guitar comes in followed by a female voice I assume that I've reached the next song, 'You Are Not An Island', by Vanishing Twin. Thanks to John Donne we know that "No man is an island entire of itself". Listening to the basis of the song, I believe singer Cathy Lucas. Here "we are side by side" sounds convincing. It is the out of space sounds going on in the background that make me wonder whether this is not a detached entity sending sounds from far far away. In the song I hear faint traces from the time Grace Slick and Paul Kantner were living their space fantasy in between the Jeffersons Airplane and Starship. The folk traces can be found in the music that has moved a long, long way off in other directions.

What am I hearing next? Experiment once again. A female voice speaking what, Italian? To be replaced by a hesitatingly singing male singer. It is Logout, who's album 'N91º' made it to these pages earlier this year as well. The soft, delicate, childlike song softly reverberates in my ears. This is musical fragility in optima forma. Yes, one can add a church organ like sound, the whole remains brittle. It is interesting to hear what happens to the organ sound, just by twisting another knob on a synthesizer.

Where does Logout move into Lorenzo Masotto? Good question. Fact is I finally get to hear him for 100%. In the first two excerpts I had no idea. The clear piano suggest that I have heard him before. In fact is Laura just a typo, .No? (It isn't. I googled out of curiosity.) The piano is supported by a host of other keyboard sounds, all electronic and slow moving. Pictures move into my head but I am too lazy to follow them up. I like too much what I'm hearing to be distracted by my mind's eye. Again I notice that this could be a rock song as well. This does not go for all the compositions on this Kairos, for me it is this months theme though. Where Jane Weaver moved her music out of the folk(rock) corner into electronics, some others could easily collaborate with a band like Soup, to name just one and come up with monster compositions that would still contain all the delicacy I heard today. The mind is a nice thing to have. We have different ears, .No and I, but imagination takes both of us a long way.


You can listen to this Kairos here:


Playlist 20190704 2300 Kairos 108
00:11  Hans Kockelmans. 2 Pieces. Hans Kockelmans, guitar. Private recording.
02:15  Jane Weaver. Milk Loop. Album ‘Loops in the Secret Society’. Fire records.
03:24  ‘Zwitserland 2014’, sound clips (fragment). Private recording Wino Penris.
03:55  ‘Zwitserland 2014’, sound clips (fragment). Private recording Wino Penris.
04:40  Carol Anne McGowan & Richard Bolhuis. Eve. Single. Outcast Cats Records.
08:00  Benjamin van Esser. Rain. Album ‘I am Error’. LAK Unlimited.
12:38  Eleni Era. Big star. Album ‘Rise Love’. Louvana Records.
15:23  ‘Zwitserland 2014’, sound clips (fragment). Private recording Wino Penris.
16:09  Laura Masotto. Back home. Album ‘Fireflies’. Lady Blunt records.
18:54  Lubomyr Melnyk. Fallen Trees part I Preamble.
Album ‘Fallen Trees’. Erased Tapes Records ERATP 116PR.
18:55  Dogtert. Hoe! Private recording Wino Penris.
22:53  Lorenzo Masotto. Reverbs. Album ‘Frames’. Lady Blunt Records.
23:16  Dogtert. Oeh! Private recording Wino Penris.
28:09  Jane Weaver. Majic Milk (Loops Variation).
Album ‘Loops in the Secret Society’. Fire records.
32:12  Radamés Gnattali. Cantilena (from Sonata for violin and piano). Luis Rabello, piano; Floor Braam, violin. Challenge Classics CC72805.
34:08  Veecaten. How to drown without being found. Album ‘Shoals’. Self-released.
39:50  Roman Turovsky. Ballad “The Raven” in A Minor.
Album ‘De Temporum Fine Postludia’. Polyhymnion CD002. 
41:48  Jane Weaver. Battle ropes. Album ‘Loops in the Secret Society’. Fire records.
43:29  Lorenzo Masotto. Reverbes (manipulated fragment).
Album ‘Frames’. Lady Blunt Records.
43:55 Vanishing Twin. You are not an island.
Album ‘The Age of Immunology. Fire records.
51:14  Logout. Kite Waltz. Album ‘N91º’. Tiny Room Records.
53:58  Lorenzo Masotto. September Air. Album ‘Frames’. Lady Blunt Records.

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