Posts Tagged ‘Orchestra’

Aurora – ACD5084

Christopher Nosnibor

The cover suggests a blinding trip of an album, the sonic equivalent of an immense op-art extravaganza. Ensemble neoN, a collective of twelve Oslo-based musicians present on their debut release performances of compositions by an array of luminaries in the experimental / avant-garde music world, chosen for the uncompromising and original nature of their work. And while the collective’s objective is to ‘initiate, produce and perform music that reflects current trends in music and other art forms’, and to do so with a spirit of youthful conventionalism, they’ve set themselves well beyond the mainstream as far as fashion goes, and have produced an album that shows a lot more restraint than the lurid dayglow Digipak would imply.

Their rendition of Kristine Tjøgersen’s ‘Travelling Light’ heralds the ensemble’s arrival in bold fashion, and sets the tone, manifesting as an energetic sonic excursion that grabs the attention and holds it in a firm grip. Twangs and pings whip into space like a squash ball pelting into zero-gravity while long, quavering drones rise and decay.

There’s a keen element of playfulness which runs through Jan Martin Smørdal’s experimental composition ‘My Favourite Thing’, which toys with the tropes of orchestral soundtrack pieces with an avant-garde bent. Clamouring strings and creeping fear chords meet with marching drums and

The choice of ‘Monocots’ by Oren Ambarchi and James Rushford as the album’s centrepoint is well-conceived: the rippling acoustic guitar hangs in a fuzzy mist while a minuscule sound, like the trickle of water, continues to run through the silent sections.

Alvin Lucier’s epic ‘Two Circles’ is an exercise in uncomfortable droning minimalism. It doesn’t do much, and nor is it required to do so. Instead, it highlights the multi-faceted nature of the ensemble’s playing skills, and taken collectively, these five pieces are well-considered and well-executed. And the liner notes by Jenny Hval make for a nice bonus, too.



Ensemble neoN

keitkratzer productions (zkr0020) (CD) / Karlrecords (KR027) (Vinyl) – 26th February 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

Reinhold Friedl’s keeping it in-house with this one, with the Zeitkratzer collective which he helms performing a reworking of one of his own pieces. Kore is a development of his earlier Xanakis [a]live! (2007), which was an homage to French-Greek composer Iannis Xanakis. Originality may be dead, but artistic evolution is not, and here we see Friedel engage fully with the organic processes of influence and appropriation, and the idea that a work is never complete but continually subject to re-evaluation, reinterpretation, reconfiguration.

Pained screeching of tortured strings, form long, agonized screams and wails. On the lower register, cavernous rumblings and ominous echoes. It quakes and trembles and teeters and bucks, crashing and lashing, a sustained and calamitous wall of sound akin to how one may reasonably imagine a galactic storm. And it goes on for what feels like an eternity, light years of shuddering textural depth stretching out and fully enveloping the senses.

While the CD track-listing shows ‘Kore’ as being presented in just two parts, its mastering in fact replicates the vinyl edition’s four sides, with each piece between 11 and 16 minutes in length. As a single entity, it crashes and grates, squalls and shrieks, grunts and groans. And it never lets up, a sustained crescendo of sonic and psychic disturbance, a tempest of clashing noise, a raging storm.

The segmented arrangement works well: for while ‘Kore’ is clearly a single body of work, there are distinguishable differences between the four tracks. The second is comparatively quieter and less intense than the first, but the tones still forge sharp shards which slice into the cerebellum. Trilling and tweeting shrilly in the upper reaches of the spectrum, dark scrapes create perilous undercurrents which build in density.

Vast crashes of sound, immense gongs of violence slice the atmosphere in the third, more percussively-orientated part. It shudders and heaves, before finally screaming onwards through the tumultuous final 11 minutes. A blasting wall of noise which assails the listener with all sounds all at once, it’s an immense sound and an immense sensation that sounds like no orchestral work you’re likely to have heard before, and, quite conceivably, nothing else you may have experienced, period.

Zeitkratzer - Kore

zeitkratzer Online