Posts Tagged ‘Orchestral’

Touch – TO:101

James Wells

It’s perhaps due to the formulaic nature of television dramas that a certain type of orchestral music has become almost a signifier for rolling countryside, and people in bouffy dresses and full skirts or frock coats and hats riding horses, brawling in taverns and battling high seas, or otherwise taking the and bidding one another ‘good day’. Such pieces are then played, ad infinitum, on commercial classical radio as exemplars of contemporary classical music. It’s by no means the fault of the composers or musicians: it’s inevitable in the arts that commissions and funded projects will determine the outlets of their work.

The medium isn’t always the message, though, and while the pieces featured here are largely products of specific commissions, Claire M Singer’s work retains a strong focus on her own compositional interests: (quote from press). Imposing strings, bold and evocative sweep and arc through ‘A Different Place,’ as rousing percussion drums a rolling, thunderous tattoo. ‘Ceo’ is an altogether sparser composition which casts a more gloomy atmosphere, and the title track is an extended meditation on the album’s theme (‘Solas’ translates as ‘light’ from the Gaelic) and Singer’s instruments of choice. The organ’s majestic grandeur is very much brought to the fore, and resonates on a deep, subconscious level.

The slow-building sweep of ‘Eilean’ is gentle yet at the same time subtly stirring, flowing into the humming swell of the solo organ piece of ‘Wrangham’. Disc two contains just one track, ‘The Molendiner’, co-commissioned by Glasgow art gallery The Civic Room and Union Chapel, London, which spans twenty-six minutes. Centred around ‘the precise control of wind though the pipes’ of the organ, it utilises various organ types to create a vast sonic expanse, which hangs, drawing out an immense mid-tone humming drone. This probably doesn’t sound like the greatest advocation, but trust me, it’s subtly powerful, and as a whole, Solas is a moving collection of works.


Claire M Singer - Solas

Keitkratzer Productions – 26th February 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

Reinhold Friedl’s Zeitkratzer collective are well established as trailblazers, tackling not only some of the most challenging composers and musical works, but also dismantling the distinction between genres and fields. They may use conventional orchestral instruments, but the sounds they produce are anything but conventional or readily recognisable as orchestral. It’s their unique approach to the creation of sound that has enabled them to not only interpret and perform, but do justice to, works ranging from Metal Machine Music to material by Whitehouse. Here, the nine instrumentalists are joined (for the third time) by Japanese experimental / noise performer Keiji Haino on vocals, and we find them revisiting one of the most difficult, divisive and groundbreaking composers of the 20th century in the work of Karlheinz Stockhausen.

The track-listing is the same as the Aus den Sieben Tagen album, recorded live by Keitkratzer without Haino in 2011. The compositions are the same and the performance similar in essence, but the overall sound achieved on Aus Den Sieben Tagen feels less brutal. But with restraint comes a greater sense of nuance, and a more menacing overtone.

After a silent play-in, ‘Unbegrenzt’ builds a long, low wheezing drone that sustains in perpetuity. Earthmoving bass tones growl in the sub-strata beneath it, while Haino emits droning, guttural incantations, groans and coughs as if attempting to expel his innards through his mouth before the sound once again fades gradually toward silence.

Emerging from the void, ‘Verbindung’ builds on the dark atmospherics which characterise the album, which simmers with, low, slow-building tension, scratches and scrapes, hums and hisses. Dank echoes and alien, animal sounds, snarling, growling, salivating dangerously.

The discordant brass and crashing, non-rhythmic percussion of ‘Intensität’ is a blast of anti-jazz, over which Haino coughs and splutters and heaves, howls and jabbers and screams like a possessed man in the throes of an exorcism.

Final track, the seventeen-minute ‘Zetz Die Segel Zur Sonne’ hangs on an eternal drone, the subterranean croak of the vocal conjuring images of ancient demons performing purgatorial rituals reminiscent of ‘Monoliths’ era Sunn O))). Truly, it’s a monster.

Zeitkratzer - Haino - Stockhausen

Zeitkratzer Online