subota, 15. prosinca 2012.

Greg Haines - Moments Eluding (2012)

Jedna od najboljih mješavina diskretne elektronike i kontemplativne klasične muzike.



S O L O   W O R K S

Year: 2012
A short EP of piano music, recorded in one day and produced by Peter Broderick.

Year: 2012
Five works based on recordings with a school ensemble and violinist Iden Reinhart.

Year: 2010
EDITIONS: Limited hardback book style CD / CD
An extended work for string quintet, church organ, percussion, voice and electronics.

Year: 2009
Sleeping music created with processed church organ and piano.

Year: 2006
String loop crescendos, voice and electronic textures.

Year: 2012
Improvised music with a large cast of musicians, recorded over three nights in a church.

Year: 2008
A diverse selection of processed piano, strings, pump organ and more.

Year: 2009
Lo-fi live soundscapes for processed guitar and cello with a punk-rock ethic.

Year: 2007
EDITIONS: One-sided LP
A live recording from Manchester’s Cross Street Chapel.

O T H E R   A P P E A R A N C E S

Philip Glass – Rework / 2012 / Orange Mountain (USA) / CD/2xLP
Andrea Belfi – Wege / 2012 / Room40 (AUS) / CD
Luup – Meadow Rituals / 2011 / Experimedia (USA) / CD/LP
V/A – Moss / 2011 / Cote Labo (JPN) / CD
V/A – Seelocht / 2011 / No Label / CD
Peter Broderick – Music for Contemporary Dance / 2010 / Erased Tapes (DE) / 2×10″
Arkhonia – Trails/Traces / 2010 / White Box (UK) / CD
Machinefabriek – Daas / 2010 / Cold Spring (UK) / CD
V/A – That is Stays Winter Forever / 2010 / White Box (UK) / CD
V/A – Reflections on Classical Music / 2009 / Point Music/Universal (DE)/ CD/2xLP
Slowcream – And / 2009 / Nonine (GER) / Download
Dakota Suite – The Night Just Keeps Coming In / 2009 / Navigators Yard (UK) / CD
Christophe Bailleau & Won – Free Bees Full Of Light / 2007 / Carte Postale (BE) / CD
Stafrænn Hákon – Gummi / 2007 / Resonant (UK)-Nature Bliss (JPN) / CD
Machinefabriek – Kruimeldief / 2007 / Self-Releases / 2xCD
V/A – Rufs / 2007 / Fenetre (NO) / CD
Machinefabriek With Anne Bakker & Greg Haines – Koploop / 2007 / Self-Released / 3″ CD
V/A – Silva / 2006 / Miasmah (NO) / CD
Statskcartsa – Untie EP / 2006 / Boltfish (UK) / CD

The Preservation label presents Digressions, the third album from British composer Greg Haines.
The genesis for Digressions began when Greg was engaged to work with a school orchestra in Britain, the aim to get its players thinking about different approaches to composition and sound. At the end of his time with the students the piece they had worked on was recorded, which Greg then shaped further and added to until it eventually became Digressions. The orchestra became source material for Greg’s own compositional essence of neo-classical colours and experimental contrasts.
Like the work of Arvo Pärt, these pieces build and swell on graceful shapes of orchestral movements. In Greg’s hands, they are rendered with nuance by processing and microtonal sounds that work like brushstrokes against their force, creating shifting harmonies, glimmers of melody and highly emotive listening. Invoking a curious beauty that also mirrors the expansive atmospheres of Christian Fennesz and the like, Digressions> is sweeping and symphonic in its unfolding.
Having lived in Berlin for many years now, Greg’s work is also able to encompass performances from a range of talented and well-known friends also living in that city – Digressions features composer and multi-instrumentalist Peter Broderick, as well recording work from Dustin O’Halloran.
The album was also mixed and mastered by native resident Nils Frahm. Such contributions help engender the grandeur of Greg’s work as much as its subtlety. However, it’s the poignancy and spirit Greg has invested into Digressions that stands as what makes it a truly captivating work.


Four years ago, Greg Haines unleashed his debut album, Slumber Tides, released on Miasmah. Its intricate blend of discreet electronics and contemplative classical music rapidly found a place of choice on the musical landscapes. Since, he has been busy contributing to a number of records. Last year, he released a collaborative album with Danny Saul as Liondialer, for which they improvised noise pieces in pubs used to more generic music. As he is about to release his second solo album, Until The Point Of Hushed Support, on Sonic Pieces, Greg Haines took some time off working on a dance piece in Paris to talk about his influences, making the transition from studio to live performance, working with other musicians on his latest album and transmitting his knowledge and experience to younger generations.
How did you come to music, and more particularly, to classical music?
I think when I first began to write songs and create music was with my first guitar. It was a half-size acoustic that I acquired from my cousin who had given up on it. Even from early on, I enjoyed making up my own little songs as well as playing the usual covers. Slowly things became more serious when I discovered the possibilities of the studio and started to focus on my piano and eventually cello playing. As my palette of sounds extended, the music began to take on more of a classical feel and as I developed, that direction began to become more and more appealing to me.
Your biography mentions how the works of Steve Reich, Gavin Bryars, Philip Glass and more particularly Arvo Pärt have been influential in your work. In what way would you say have they made a mark on your work?
Through listening to those composers, especially Pärt and Bryars, I learnt a lot about what I wanted music to be, and what music means to me. At first, I was amazed that such a powerful emotional pull could be created despite their compositional restraint, but over time I began to realise that (for me) it was in fact this restraint itself that was so emotive. There is also a very textural and layered element to the aforementioned composers, which instantly fascinated me and aided continued listening over time and in different situations. Every time I listen to Music For 18 Musicians it still sounds totally different.
You currently live in Berlin. What prompted you to move there?
I had many reasons for moving to Berlin, both personal and in order to pursue what I wanted to do with music and in life, but I think my strongest impetus was a desire to get out of England as soon as I could. I never felt at home there, and I found the attitudes of the general population completely confusing to me. I also think that as a musician, and by extension an artist of some kind, you must keep stimulated and regain a desire to absorb as many new experiences as possible. Despite feeling very happy and at home in Berlin, I still feel the urge to keep moving around all the time, and find it hard to stay in the same place for more than a month usually. Travel and transition is in my bones!
How did you get to work with Erik Skodvin’s Miasmah Records, who released your debut album, Slumber Tides, back in 2006?
I can’t actually remember how I started talking to Erik, but we first met when I decided to come to Oslo for a while to get a feel for the city. He was the only person I knew who lived there, so I sent him an email to see if he felt like meeting up and showing me around. We got on well, and this was around the time where I was looking for a label for Slumber Tides and Miasmah was evolving into a physical label. His first release was a compilation, and he asked me to contribute. After hearing that, and speaking to him about his ideas for the label, it seemed liked a great home for my album. Now Erik has moved to Berlin too, and we are often meeting up as he turns out to be quite a good drinking buddy too!
On Slumber Tides, you played all the music yourself, but on your new album, Until The Point Of Hushed Support, you’re surrounded by a string quintet, a saxophonist, a vocalist and pianist and composer Nils Frahm. Did write for other musicians make working on this album a very different process to what it was for Slumber Tides?
The creative process for this album was indeed a very different experience from the making of my first album. Despite the fact the album took three years to write, it only became clear to me what the album had become and how it was truly going to sound in the last stages of its completion, when we recorded all the acoustic instrumentation in the church. It was a struggle in some ways, as usually I’m used to quite instantaneous results, but this was a long and drawn out process. Ultimately, living with the album for so long brought me a lot closer to it, and it’s a hugely personal work for me as I lived inside it for so long.
Although it is, like its predecessor, a very contemplative record in parts, the new album has a very different feel to your first, fuller in sound, more ambitious and orchestral. Was it a conscious effort on your part, and was it what made you want to work with other musicians?
It was a conscious decision to involve more players on this album, and I wanted to create something without thinking about the financial implications of recording with more people and let my imagination run wild. How the album turned out in terms of its aesthetic was just reflective of what I wanted to create over those three years. One thing I was certain of was not to repeat the first album all over again – I’m still happy with it, but I made it almost four years ago now so it wouldn’t make sense to throw together something similar. If people want to listen to something like that again, then they should just listen to the first CD. However, I do think there are many threads between the two, but I deliberately aimed for a progression from Slumber Tides with this one.
The album was recorded at the Grunewald church in Berlin, which is also where Nils Frahm recorded his album. Can you tell us more about the venue? Did you choose the place because of its particular acoustic?
The Grunewald church is an amazing location, and I’m so glad Nils found it. The acoustics of the space are incredible, with such a bright reverb. They also have a full-size grand piano there with such a unique sound – it takes some getting used to but just like with all great pianos, when you play it you really feel an interaction and collaboration between player and instrument. We also organised Nils’ release party there where I played with him and Dustin O’Halloran, and everyone who made it out to the suburbs of Berlin to see it came away with a real lasting impression of the place.
What inspired you while you were working on the album, and how did you work these influences in the music?
I can’t really say what influenced the album, as I’m sure a lot of things crept in there subconsciously. Moving to a new city probably influenced me a lot, but I couldn’t tell you how. Certainly coming to Berlin and suddenly being surrounded by a lot of fantastic performances every night made an impression, and I’m sure playing live a lot more myself inspired some of the sounds on there. In fact, some sounds from a concert I performed in Oslo on my birthday actually appear somewhere in the background of the last track. Overall I suppose the album is more a reflection of how I was feeling over its gestation period rather than a reflection of what I was listening to or reading.
You play a number of instruments, piano, cello, church organ, percussions… Which one do you feel the most at ease with?
Nothing pleases me more than sitting in front of a great piano and just playing for hours, so I suppose I would have to say the piano. However, there is something about playing the church organ that fills you with such a sense of power; you almost feel as if you are playing the room itself.
Beside traditional acoustic instruments, you also use electronics in your work, although usually in very discreet manner. Do you see this as an essential part of your work?
For Until The Point Of Hushed Support I think the electronics played a vital role, but I would like to try to work without them in the future, if only for an experiment. There is such a vast ocean of textures and timbres to be created with acoustic instrumentation, so I think as I get better as a composer in the traditional sense, I might rely less on electronic elements. Saying that, I also love using electronics in a very subtle and organic way, so although a recording may sound like it could all be played from beginning to end by a traditional ensemble, it is in fact not possible to reproduce it in this way. I like the position that this puts the listener in.
As a composer, it must be a thrilling thing to have musicians performing your own work. Was it the first time you got to work with other musicians on your own score?
It was the first time that I’ve used a score, as I don’t normally think in those terms when thinking about music. It was a very special feeling to sit back in the church and hear everything come to life, but there is also a strange dynamic in asking great musicians to play exactly what you want them too, and I really tried to be careful to not stifle their own personal expression.
The album is released on Berlin-based Sonic Pieces. Why did you choose to work with them?
When I moved to Berlin, Monique (ed: Recknagel, head of Sonic Piece) became a dear friend to me, and I believe to have a personal relationship with somebody you work with is really important. While I was creating the album, there were numerous labels that said they would release it, but because of many factors around the time it was finished I ended up without a label and worried that this album would never see the light of day. Luckily, Monique was kind (or crazy!) enough to invest in the album so it could be recorded in the best possible way. I’m also in love with her packaging, as is everyone else! I hate plastic CD cases, so it’s nice to see the album encased in something with as much love put into it as the album itself!
You did a lot of live concerts following the release of Slumber Tides. How did you make the transition from recording all parts of a record to performing in front of an audience?
When I began to play live more, I quickly decided I wouldn’t try to play tracks from the album live, so instead decided to improvise as much as possible and try to create something different, yet related to my recorded output in its feel. Listening to an album at home is a completely different experience to listening to a live performance in a space where the sound can be tailored to the room, so to me it doesn’t make sense to replicate my recorded music in a live setting… not to say it never will. On the next tour, there will be some reinterpretations of album tracks being played, but in a very different way that suits the live setting more.
You are about to embark on a UK and European tour. What can we expect on stage? Will you be playing on your own or are you touring with the formation that’s on the album?
I will be touring with a violin player who goes under the name Strie, and hopefully meeting up with other players for a few very special concerts, such as the (late) release party in Berlin on June 11th. I’ll be playing piano whenever possible, as well as cello and the usual electronics and small instruments.
On your website, there is a list of works you have been involved with, which include a lot of work for dance. How do you approach music for dance performances? Is this a very different process to working on your own music?
The work I do with dance companies varies from time to time. Sometimes I am simply improvising with the movement; sometimes it is recorded but more often than not I play a semi-improvised score live. The work is very different from my own as the music must leave enough space for the movement, and finding the line between too much and not enough is always a challenge. I also feel a lot of freedom to experiment within my dance scores, and I usually feel free to explore any ideas that come to mind as long as they supplement what the piece is trying to communicate.
Last year, you released an album as Liondialer, which is a project you set up with Danny Saul. The project is very different to your own work, as it is based entirely on live improvisations. How did the idea of Liondialer come up, and will you be releasing more records or performing live again?
Liondialer started as a kind of guerrilla attack on the ears of the ignorant! We started playing together when I lived in Manchester (where Danny is still based), and the basic premise was to trick promoters into having us to play, and then unleash a whole lot of noise on an audience and venue more used to the soft, singer-songwriter type. Usually the audience were more interested in talking or playing pool than the music presented, so we basically battled them for volume throughout the show – typical England! Since releasing the album, we decided to branch out and tour, and from then on the music has become a lot more quiet and subtle, in reflection of the respect shown by the audiences. We will probably release something else in the future, but no concrete plans yet…
You’ve also worked with a number of collaborators over the years, like Wouter Van Veldhoven, Machinefabriek, Xela… How do you choose the people you work with, and is this something you want to carry on doing? Is there anyone you would like to work with in particular?
The people I work with usually come to me – it’s quite rare I ask someone to work together. Saying that, I do really enjoy collaborations, and I have especially fond memories of making the album with Wouter. We both usually spend a long, long time creating our solo music, but when we got together things came together so fast that we were both left feeling like something very special had happened in the three days we spent creating it. As for people I’d like to collaborate with in the future, I’m not so sure… I will have to see what happens. Words were once shared about a collaborative release between Nils Frahm, Peter Broderick and I, but who knows if that will ever happen…
You are currently Composer in Residence at the Theale School of Performing Arts in Reading, and you’ve also done similar roles elsewhere, including at the Theatre de la Bastille in Paris. What does this involve, and how did you get involved with the Theale School? How do you combine this with living in Berlin?
I’m back and forth to England this year for the residency, though I only am there in person for eight weeks of the year, so it’s not so bad. I’m involved in lots of different things there, from teaching workshops to writing piano pieces to be performed at events. My main ‘showcase’ was a semi-improvised piece played by me and ten sixth-form students, which turned out really well I think. Usually the composer-in-residence had just prepared a score and handed it over to the students, but I was much more interested in spending the time I had with them working on improvisational techniques so that the outcome was much more of a group effort. Luckily, I think they really enjoyed it too.
If you had to name five records, books or films that have been especially important in your life, which ones would you choose?
Its cheating I know, but here is five of each that come to mind right now…
Arvo Pärt – everything…
Talk Talk – Spirit Of Eden
William Basinski – Disintegration Loops
Gavin Bryars – The Sinking Of The Titanic
Steve Reich – Music For 18 Musicians
Authors (too hard to name certain books…):
Franz Kafka
Haruki Murakami
Iain Sinclair (London Orbital)
George Orwell
Gabriel Garcia Marquez (100 Years Of Solitude)
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
Lost Highway
Donnie Darko
Farvel Falkenburg
Three Colours (Red/Blue)

Greg Haines is an English musician and composer who has been living in Berlin since 2008. He was born in a small town in the south of England in the 1980s, where he began from a young age to develop an interest in sound and the devices used to create it. Around this time, an enthusiastic music teacher began to introduce Haines to the works of ‘Minimalist’ composers such as Steve Reich, Gavin Bryars and Philip Glass, who had a profound influence over his musical trajectory.
At this point, Greg began to develop his piano (and eventually cello) playing, feeling the desire to pursue his interest in textural, subtle music. Shortly after, Haines discovered the work of Arvo Pärt, and in it found his biggest inspiration to date. Pärt’s intricate use of both space and density informed Gregs first solo release, ‘Slumber Tides’, released on the Norwegian Miasmah label in 2006. The album was critically acclaimed worldwide, leading Musique Machine to state:
“This is music to fall into and let it embrace your heart and soul. Be warmed and sadden by its slow unfolding beauty and grace. Clearly one of the most luxurious and emotional rich debut albums you are likely to come across this year, or any other year for that matter.”
Later, the opening track from the album, ‘Snow Airport’, would be used on the Universal/Point Music compilation ‘Reflections on Classical Music’, alongside compositions from some of the very composers who inspired it, such as Gavin Bryars and Philip Glass.
In the wake of his debut, Greg toured extensively and began to develop as a live performer, and in particular as an improviser with a wide range of various musicians. To date, Greg has toured throughout Europe, Japan, Australia and the USA.
In March 2010, Berlin’s Sonic Pieces label released ‘Until the Point of Hushed Support’, a forty- eight minute composition written for string quintet, church organ, piano, percussion, electronics and a whole array of other sounds and textures that were carefully constructed over the past two years. Later, in March 2012, “Digressions” was released on Australia’s Preservation label. The album includes performances by Peter Broderick and violinist Iden Reinhart, as well as an 18 piece ensemble. The album was largely seen as a great success, with one reviewer for Fluid Radio writing:
“…Well over a month I’ve been listening to it, and I still cannot for the life of me work out why I think it is one of the best records I have ever heard, one that has clicked with me like few else recently. Music is subjective, and what is a masterpiece to me may sound like nothing of the sort to you; an assessment based solely on my opinion and little else. Still, if I was to put money on it, I’d say that ‘Digressions’ is going to be talked about for some years, and will in hindsight be the point where the Haines’ trajectory will be seen to trend sharply upwards.”
Since 2008, he has also been working regularly as a composer for dance, creating music for choreographers such as Meg Stuart (Berlin), Ina Christel Johannessen (Oslo), and the MD Collective (Cologne). In February 2012, Greg premiered a new work with contemporary Ballet choreographer David Dawson, the Holland Symfonia and the Dutch National Ballet as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations. Roslyn Sulcas for The New York Times wrote:
“The work is dark, both literally and metaphorically, but also exquisitely, wrenchingly, beautiful; a world of its own that draws you ineluctably within.”
In 2009 and 2010, Greg was invited to be composer in residence at the Theale School of Performing Arts for two years running, creating pieces and working with students from all kinds of musical backgrounds.
In 2011, The Alvaret Ensemble was formed. Based around improvisation, Greg Haines, Jan Kleefstra, Romke Kleefstra, and Sytze Pruiksma make up its core, although an evolving cast of others are often present. In December 2012, their first release (featuring Iden Reinhart, Hilary Jeffery, Peter Broderick and Martyn Heyne) will be released on Denovali Records on 2xCD and 2xLP. -

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