Originally conceived for the Korzo production Hide and Seek by choreographer Iván Pérez.
Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek):
In 2012, choreographer Iván Pérez asked me to work on a score for a dance piece of his called “Hide And Seek” in collaboration with the great Aaron Martin. I don’t think he knew at that point that Aaron and I had worked together previously (on “Cello Drowning,” an EP released on Type in 2007). Living in the US, Aaron started recording parts and sending them to Iván and me. Then, I would use his recordings to build the score: processing them, editing them, adding sounds, etc..
The tracks on the “Seeker” album are basically the refined versions of the first sketches we made, trying out how our sounds would blend, and what directions and atmospheres could be used in the dance performance. After that, these tracks were morphed into one long collage, tailored to the choreography. This final score is added to the album as a digital bonus.
Iván Pérez had used some of my solo work in a previous dance piece of his called “Kick the Bucket” and Rutger and I… more
Here’s the actual size for texting:
C U b E | Ambient/Ambient-Dub/Experimental | 80:07
Originally part of a commissioned set (1~4) which was sent to Mars in a NASA time-capsule*; an extensive site dig resulted in its being pared down to a single mix, a tweaking of the play-list & the inclusion of the Nobuto Suda & Martin Nonstatic compositions.
If there truly is “life on Mars” – it will respond to audiological droning herein . . .
01 Nobuto Suda – Cour
02 Dwight Ashley – Three Insect
03 Nunc Stans – A Logic of Dissolution
04 David Parsons – Pahla Loka
05 Numina – Return to the Crystal Temple
06 Cryptic Scenery – Rails in the Desert
07 Spatula – King George Island
08 Brian Eno – Caught Between
09 Towns of < 500 – Short Stories to Music
10 Ozone Player – From A to B
11 Jovica Storer – Fifth Element
12 Martin Nonstatic – Gila
Alternate cover version
*and the NASA time-capsule bit was mere, uhm…poetic license
(translated from his Bandcamp page)
Human values Dissapear “: Treatise on Musical sociology
There is a phrase that is pronounced very emphatically today: “We live hard Times”. “For Pepo Galán, that sentence is a definition of the world we find ourselves in.” Human values Dissapear “contains, from its title, a declaration of intent on the part of the artist, to offer a personal vision of the world around us whose ideal metaphor would be a boat that travels adrift to end up sinking, little by little, to the action and Permissiveness of their passengers.
This continual present, with its paradoxes and inconsistencies, is diluting our capacity for communication, commitment and self-sacrifice, creating, apart from a certain affliction, a mistrust of our environment, including our relationships Closer. With all these reflections, Pepo Galán performs a sociological and emotional treatise on our context, a journey into emotional recesses where we seldom feel comfortable, between frustration and distress but, at some point, a small plot of Hope, an island where we can live with the values that one day were lost.
In this journey of depths and feelings, Pepo Galán has wanted to be accompanied by artists with common affinities of the stature of Cadiz David Cordero and Lee Yi, partner at Dear Sailor. Along with these fellow travelers, the sentimental framework of “Human values Dissapear” is reinforced, offering an intense work, full of enigmatic compositions and, at the same time, sincere and real, tangible for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in their sound.
Max Richter’s potent distillations of classical tradition, minimal electronica, and the spoken word deliver a listening experience that intentionally levels the field between composer and audience; promoting an open and easy musical conversation without sacrificing depth or emotional resonance in the exchange. His work with film luminariessuch as Martin Scorsese and Ari Folman along with the undoubtedly countless mixtapes that have featured tracks from any one of his six studio albums has brought about a slow burn on the collective consciousness. The British composer’s inclusive and undemanding approach to composition has not only given rise to an almost telepathic exchange between himself and the musicians he works with, it has more importantly, invited a wider audience into the once cloistered halls of contemporary composition.
When did you start composing – and what or who were your early passions and influences?
I started composing before I knew what composing was. As a kid of five or six, I always had tunes going around in my head that I was sort of reconfiguring, almost like a child playing with Lego. I was always doing it but didn’t realise that it was something called composing. It was almost a subconscious thing that I became aware I’d been doing, much later on.
In terms of influences I suppose it was things that everyone is influenced by when they’re little, you know the classics. The Beatles and in the classical domain, Bach. Those were my starting points, the twin stars.
What do you personally consider to be incisive moments in your work and/or career?
The first one would have to be going to study with Luciano Berio in Italy. This was a big deal for me because he was such a brilliant musical thinker. I had not really encountered anyone like him before.
When I showed him a score of mine once, it felt as though he was reading my mind, which is a bit scary because he managed to see what was on the page but also what I meant when I wrote it. Maybe I was succeeding or failing but he could read the intention behind all of my scribbles, which was amazing.
The second would have to be when I started to do my own records. Having already done a lot of composing, playing as a performer and other things like that, recording Memoryhouse and The Blue Notebooks, were major turning points for me.
What are currently your main compositional challenges?
I don’t know really. Composing for me is a bit like an obsessive compulsive disorder in that I do it all the time. The main challenge would simply be remaining true to the material and following it wherever it wants to go, something like an archeological process of discovery. I always try and remain open to what the material can do.
What do you usually start with when composing?
Music for me is story telling, so I usually start with an intention or something I want to say. From there I kind of struggle around in the dark, trying to find ways to say that. Sometimes it’s a linear thing where I have an idea and then go about trying to find ways to express it. Other times I will discover things along the way and the idea ends up turning into something else altogether. It’s a mixture between intention and chance.
I think the reason I write music is because I’m trying to say things that I find difficult to encapsulate verbally. Music is its own kind of language and it’s very good at saying things that words struggle with, so that’s often the impulse for me.
How do you see the relationship between timbre and composition?
They are two sides of the same coin really. There has always been a tug of war between colour and text or notes against orchestration in traditional music.
A good example of this would be when you think of Debussy. With him, it’s all about the colours but actually underneath all of that colour there are these fantastic notes. Debussy’s incredible if you play it on a piano but it’s equally as brilliant if you go and play it on any other instrument because the notes are so great in the first place.
Then of course there are other kinds of music like electronica, which to some extent is all about colour and hardly about the notes at all. It tends to be more about textures as opposed to melody or harmony.
A lot of dance music for example, is about minute gradations over long spans of time; cyclical things that evolve slowly. So some things are all about colour and they’ll live in the synthesisers or in the computer. Other kinds of music are more about how the notes interact and they’re the sorts of things I would write down on paper or work out on the piano. I think it just depends on what the project is. Each piece has its own point on that spectrum of timbre versus composition.
What do improvisation and composition mean to you and what, to you, are their respective merits?
I do a lot of my composing at the piano and I sort of just let my hands walk around on the keyboard. It’s a process of happy accidents really; a mixture of random discoveries that go with a strategic kind of compositional planning. Those two things go hand in hand.
Music is a physical process. The way you play something has to make sense physically. It’s a way of thinking aloud but the text also has to make sense, so for me composition and improvisation are connected.
Do you feel it important that an audience is able to deduct the processes and ideas behind a work purely on the basis of the music? If so, how do you make them transparent?
What I’m trying to do is get things down as simply and with as much intensity as I can, that’s also why I write, because I’ll have that impulse. I don’t want things to be obscure. In fact I want it all to be very straightforward. I don’t want to keep people out. It’s a conversation and I want people to be able to take part in it.
We imprint our biography on what we come to and music is no different in that sense. Every listener will bring his or her own way in and that’s what’s kind of nice about it actually. It’s what makes it more like a conversation.
The relationship between music and other forms of art – such as painting, video art and cinema – has become increasingly important. How do you see this relationship yourself and in how far, do you feel, does music relate to other senses than hearing alone?
Music is one of the dominant ways of experiencing being alive and so in a way, it’s more than just hearing. It’s about articulating feelings, stories and attitudes. I also feel as though an album or a piece of music almost has a sense of place inside it if it’s good. It takes a lot out of you to really apprehend music fully so I think it does relate to the other senses.
In terms of how music relates to other forms of media, there are a million possible connections between these things. I’ve done quite a bit of film music and the multitude of ways in which sound can connect to stories and visuals is always really interesting. Film music is solving puzzles mostly. It’s a technical discipline and I find it a completely different thing to writing music on its own.
In my case, when I’m writing just music, I’m trying to give the absolute total picture or the maximum intensity of that idea to the listener. If you did that in the cinema, you wouldn’t have a film. It would be as though you’ve gone to a cinema just to hear a record playing [laughs].
Beautiful! A study in Ether-Jazz.
Norwegian drummer/composer Thomas Strønen presents a revised edition of his acoustic collective Time Is A Blind Guide, now trimmed to quintet size, and with a new pianist in Wakayama-born Ayumi Tanaka. Tanaka has spoken of seeking associative connections between Japan and Norway in her improvising, a tendency Strønen seems to be encouraging with his space-conscious writing for the ensemble, letting in more light.
As on the group’s eponymously-titled and critically-lauded debut album there are excellent contributions from the string players – the quintet effectively contains both a string trio and a piano trio – and Manfred Eicher’s production brings out all the fine detail in the grain of the collective sound and the halo of its overtones, captured in the famously-responsive acoustic of Lugano’s Auditorio Stelio Molo in March 2017.
Lucus, the second recording from Norwegian drummer/composer Thomas Strønen’s Time Is A Blind Guide, marks a bold step forward from the critically acclaimed debut (described by All About Jazz as “a stunning record that stands out as one of Stronen’s most expansive, cinematic and flat-out lyrical albums”). With the group currently trimmed to quintet size, and a new pianist in Wakayama-born Ayumi Tanaka, there is a heightened emphasis on improvisation.
“We’ve played much more,” says Strønen, “and built up a trust in the ensemble. All the players have more confidence in the shared expression of the group and, in a positive sense, less dependency on the compositions, which are offered, really, as guidelines. To me it’s important that the players should feel connected to the music and play what’s right for them.
When I wrote the music for the first album the sound of the group existed only in my imagination at that point, and there were a lot more notes on paper. But with the repertoire of Lucus, things are opened up. And there is more than one way to interpret these pieces: in concert, something played as a ballad one night might be a piece that simply explodes on the next night.”
The music Strønen has written for the ensemble is more space-conscious than last time around, letting in more light, in line with the connotations of the album title, “Lucus” signifying a sacred grove, or a clearing in the forest. The radiant strings seem particularly to bring out this idea. (As it happens, the music was composed in view of the forest, too – Thomas lives out in the Norwegian woodlands).
Strønen first heard Ayumi Tanaka a few years ago while teaching at Oslo’s Royal Academy, where he also organised a concert series. “I liked to set challenges for the students and I asked Ayumi to give a solo concert, something she’d never done before. Her performance was just amazing, and I thought immediately that I have to play with her in some setting.” Tanaka substituted for Kit Downes at few concerts with the first edition of Time Is a Blind Guide. “When she arrived for the first rehearsal she already knew all the material, having learned a dozen complex pieces with tricky time changes and so on by ear, and didn’t need any scores at all.” She was clearly a logical choice to take over the piano chair in the ensemble. Strønen: “I feel a connection between European contemporary music and jazz and Japanese music in the way that she manoeuvres inside the group sound… She can be very abstract in her playing, with a sparse quality I like a lot, and then the next moment full of temperament.” One can perhaps also sense a connection to early Paul Bley in some of Ayumi’s phrases, paraphrases and ellipses. And a further connection to the dawn of new jazz might also be felt in Ole Morten Vågan’s Haden-like bass intro to the piece called “Tension”.
But Time Is A Blind Guided is a flexible, mutating ensemble and the quintet effectively contains both a string trio and a piano trio. With Lucus a further dynamic adjustment has taken place, in which cellist Lucy Railton, bassist Ole Morten Vågan and the drummer-leader have drawn closer in the engine room of the ensemble while Tanaka and violinist Håkon Aase, says Strønen, “are fulfilling more of a soloist’s function, on top of what we are doing – at least some of the time.”
As on the group’s debut album there are excellent contributions from the string players. The group name Time Is A Blind Guide is taken from Anne Michael’s novel Fugitive Pieces, a connection Strønen underlines with the track of the same title here. The strings here seem to reference both folk music and baroque playing before the piano enters to gently lead the music elsewhere. Manfred Eicher’s production brings out all the fine detail in the grain of the collective sound and the halo of its overtones, captured in the famously-responsive acoustic of Lugano’s Auditorio Stelio Molo in March 2017.
Ole Morten Vågan and Håkon Aase have appeared on other ECM recordings recently. Bassist Vågan has been a member of Maciej Obara’s quartet for five years and can be heard on the Polish saxophonist’s ECM debut Unloved. Violinist Håkon Aase plays regularly with trumpeter Mathias Eick’s touring band and is featured on Eick’s new album Ravensburg (release date: March 2018).
Thomas Strønen has been an ECM recording artist since 2005 when the label released his album Parish, with Bobo Stenson, Fredrik Ljungkvist and Mats Eilertsen. It was followed by recordings with Food, Strønen’s duo-plus-guests project with Iain Ballamy. Food’s discs include Quiet Inlet, Mercurial Balm and This Is Not A Miracle.
Have you ever looked at your past and thought of yourself as a different person? As if the choices made, words uttered, feelings felt belonged to someone else.
Clinomania is a chaotic, confused space filled with melancholy, anger, and dissociative behaviour where powerful drones mix with swirling, luscious synths, glitched audio works, ethereal voices, and sombre piano soundwork.
Your thoughts are a mess as is your life. There is a longing that cannot be remedied.
This is you.
Recorded between 2013-2016
Mixed by Wound
Mastered in 2017 by James Plotkin