subota, 28. lipnja 2014.

Fred Kelemen - Fallen (Krisana) (2005)


Pionir sporog filma.

Some of the world's foremost slow cinema pioneers were welcomed to the north-east, too. After arriving in town late afternoon on Thursday March 8, LWLies headed straight to the fabulous Tyneside Cinema for the first film in celebrated German auteur Fred Kelemen's '90s trilogy.
Right from the first frame Fate sets the tone for Kelemen's uncompromising brand of social realism. A pavement-side accordion player is lured to the hotel room of a stranger and forced to playing a soothing tango in exchange for a few crumpled Marks. In an act of sadistic exploitation, the stranger proceeds to lay down another note and challenges the Russian busker to sink a litre of cheap vodka. It's an unsettling, poetic scene that introduces the recurring Kelemen themes of apathy and survival.
Unfolding over a long dark night in Berlin, Fate is made up of a series of carefully interlaced vignettes, following the nocturnal habits of various barflies, reprobates and vultures who occupy the seedier fringes of society. It is ostensibly a film about love, loneliness and self-pity, bathed in cigarette smoke and sweat. It is also, at times, incomprehensible and inaudible, Kelemen's battered 16mm transfer making for arduous viewing. Intoxicating, for sure, but perhaps not one to recommend to those new to Kelemen's body of work.
By comparison Kelemen's next feature, Frost, is a revelation. Shot three years after Fate, yet infinitely more assured, it follows a mother and son on a nomadic journey across a frozen East German hinterland. Taking place in the week between Christmas Day and New Year's, this near-wordless odyssey is an elegant mediation on time over speed.
At 201 minutes Frost is certainly at the more languid end of the dramatic spectrum, yet it is nonetheless filled with incident. One stand out scene, in which the mother loses her son on a fog-blanketed road to nowhere in the dead of night, left us breathless in the suitably grungy environs of Newcastle's Star and Shadow Cinema.
Completing the trilogy the following day, Abendland (Nightfall) is an unavoidably bleak portrait of fractured love. Like Fate, this bittersweet fable of an estranged couple takes place over a long night. It's a long, melancholic ballad, bitter and rageful, but also disquietingly beautiful, owing much to the compositional sophistication of long-term collaborator Béla Tarr. Not quite as affecting as Frost, but a strong end to a remarkable series. -

Visions of Doom | CPHPIX |
FRED KELEMEN:  Monumental visions of doom from an uncompromising outsider.

Born in West Berlin, Fred Kelemen studied art, music, philosophy, religion and drama, before he trained as a director and cinematographer at film school, and subsequently filmed for Béla Tarr on 'The Turin Horse' amongst others. He has directed five films which, aside from the trilogy in this series, count 'Kalyi' (1993) and 'Fallen' (2005).

'Hope is not a concept I work with', Fred Kelemen has said. His vision is dystopian and nihilist right down to the aesthetics of composition, which characterize his unique and exclusive production. One of the reasons why the Hungarian master director, Béla Tarr has used him as cinematographer. Even in his work with the fundamental filmic elements of time and space, Kelemen ties his almost actionless situations around the vulnerable human figure. Kelemen also insists on the cinema theatre as a sacred room in a world without hope, and the only place where ecstatic and romantic enlightenment is still possible. This is why Susan Sontag has paid tribute to him in her famous essay, 'The Decay of Cinema' (1995), where she proclaims the young German rebel, together with visionary masters such as Sokurov and Tarr, as the last stand against the obliteration of film art. The three films in this series, 'Fate', 'Frost' and 'Nightfall', form a loose trilogy on contemporary Europe.

"In Order to Shoot the Characters, You Must Love Them" | by Shmulik Duvdevani|
In an eulogy on the art of cinema published by Susan Sontag in 1996, the acclaimed scholar and feminist pointed out three contemporary films that testified, so she argued, that not all was lost. The three films were Mike Leigh's "Naked", Gianni Amelio's "Lamerica" and German director Fred Kelemen's "Fate".
This assertion meant a great faith in a young filmmaker, director and cinematographer that has been anointed by the Great Priestess as one of the worldwide hopes for current artistic cinema. Things are made even more flattering if we take into account the fact that "Fate" has been Kelemen's first feature length film. A cinematic work of art directed in a rough realistic style and following the nocturnal journey of a man and a woman into the realms of humiliation and unhappiness.
The Israeli cinematheques conclude this week a retrospective of the filmmaker who is also known to local cinephiles as the cinematographer of Béla Tarr's "The Man from London" and "The Turin Horse". The retrospective includes, in addition to "Fate" made in 1994, "Fallen" (2005), a film shot entirely in Riga, Latvia, and following the story of a man who happens to pass by a young woman who commits suicide by jumping off a bridge, and is obsessed by her identity, as well as "Nightfall" (1999), about two lovers in a nocturnal journey of separation and unification.
This week, Kelemen's monumental work "Frost" (1998) will be screened, a 200 minutes odyssey following a mother and son who are fleeing their apartment and a violent husband and father. Kelemen – who also conducted master classes at the Film and Television Department at Tel-Aviv University – is just about to leave Israel when we get a chance to talk about his work and his long lasting friendship and collaboration with Béla Tarr, one of the last masters of the art of cinema.
"My films deal with foreignness, alienation, and Europe as a place of many different cultures and languages", Kelemen characterizes his work. "Many countries in Europe fought each other, and what unites them is the experience of wars and pain. I use this diversity in order to tell stories about people from different places that struggle for better life, to realize their dreams and desires".
The relationships depicted in his films are characterized by the cruelty inflicted by low lives, especially immigrants, on each other. In this sense, they are inspired by the early films of German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder ("Fear Eats the Soul"), which also dealt with desperate figures from the margins of society. "If you want to tell something about the world we are living in, it is almost necessary to look at the weakest parts of society", Kelemen explains his interest in these protagonists. "If you want to know about the quality of a society, you have to look at the edges. That shows you how the society really is. And if you want to know something about human beings – you have to look into their secret depths. There are gaps that open in moments of crisis, situations when cracks in the surface allow you to look deeper into the human being".
Like in Tarr's films, one of the characteristics most identified with the films of Kelemen are the long takes. But these are defined by uniquely extreme emotional dynamism – something that distinguishes them from Tarr's contemplative camera movements. "I was very much influenced by music", explains Kelemen. "One of the first composers I really loved was Bartók. His compositions are based on a flow of time and modifications and small changes of movements that slowly grow from silence without harsh cuts or strong breaks. This encouraged me to make a flow of images. I find this similar idea in Tarkovsky's films and in the films of Béla Tarr".
Kelemen and Tarr met accidentally in a Berlin café one afternoon and the connection continued in the film academy where Kelemen was a student and Tarr conducted a workshop. "A wonderful gift of destiny", Kelemen describes their collaboration. In 1995 Tarr invited him to shoot his middle-long film "Journey on the Plain".
Nowadays, Kelemen is one of the staff members of the film school Tarr has recently founded in Sarajevo, after announcing his retirement from filmmaking. "The school continues a certain uncompromising attitude to filmmaking, requiring that you remain very faithful to your vision which should not be spoilt by commercial ideas", Kelemen characterizes the new institution. "It's a place that defends the idea of cinema as an art. That's the attitude Béla always had. Making films in a free and artistic way".
Most recently, Kelemen shot an Israeli film, Joseph Pitchhadze's "Sweets" ("Sukaryot"), and has very fond memories. "I chose not to shoot 'Sweets' as an Israeli film, but as a film about human beings with human questions and problems. The film circles around very universal themes", he says. "I have to love the characters I shoot, otherwise I wouldn't be able to shoot (kill) them", he laughs.
"Shooting them is not photographing the surface. It's like revealing something, finding a way to something hidden. It is only possible to catch if there's a connection and affection. That's exactly how it went with 'Sweets'. I tried to love the characters, to understand them. I never prefer one or the other. They're OK even if they create a lot of trouble. But I'm not against them. There's no difference for me whether I'm shooting a film as a director or only as a cinematographer".

The Cinema of Fred Kelemen

In the mid-'90s, Susan Sontag championed the young German director Fred Kelemen as the grate white hope for art-house cinema. Now, Tate Modern is screening a season of Kelemen's films. Sontag based her belief in Kelemen's greatness on his powerful debut, Fate (1994), a journey into a nocturnal urban world of utter desolation, tracking an accordionist who gets drunk and murders his girlfriend's lover. Since exploding onto the cinema-scene in such spectacular fashion, Kelemen has made three other features: Frost (1997), where this time the journey tracks a mother and child across a harsh German landscape in winter; Nightfall (1999), in which a man and his girlfriend undergo a dark night of the soul as they split up and then reunite; and, Fallen (2005), where a lonely archivist fails to help a woman about to commit suicide and then becomes obsessed with her. Essential to Kelemen's work is the question of personal responsibility. His characters' struggles are existential and the spirit of Kafka lurks in the shadows, while his camera doggedly pursues his protagonists in a series of amazingly choreographed long takes. Kelemen will be doing Q&A sessions after Fallen on 29/09 (7pm) at Tate Modern, on 30/10 (8:45pm) at Cine Lumiere and on 01/10 (3pm) before a screening of Fate at Tate Modern.  Kultureflash, 2006 September 28

The Works Of Fred Kelemen
‘In a dark time the eye begins to see'. These are the words of poet Theodore Roethke's but could almost serve as the distilled imperative of the singular cinema of Germany's Fred Kelemen.
A genuine auteur of the new moving image, Kelemen garnered much attention for his visionary 1990s trilogy – Fate (1994), Frost (1997) and Nightfall (1999) – in which the new profound social uncertainties of an emergent, radically altered Europe and the stark personal crises of its dispossessed were explored with a rigorous formal invention and a compelling emotional intensity. His works soon found some many fans across Europe and gained an underground cult status. These first few films are still in circulation today, and have become incredibly sough after in many moving image circles. Indeed, the late Susan Sontag found in Kelemen's work an urgent relevance, a kindred spirit to the meditative, metaphysical cinema of Sokurov, Béla Tarr and Sharunas Bartas, where profound enquiries into both being and the nature of the image are primary concerns.
With his latest feature Krišana (Fallen) Kelemen continues on his defiantly chosen independent path to craft a brooding, new existential fable for an unstable new century. Swimming against the tide of almost all but contemporary cinema in his passionate and creation of a resonant, aesthetically bold and philosophically enlivened oeuvre, Kelemen's is a pressing, essential voice, needed more than ever in these all too fallen times.
Born in Berlin (West) as son of a Hungarian mother and a German father, Fred Kelemen studied painting, music, philosophy, science of religions and of theatre sciences and worked in different ways theatres as a director's assistant before he began his studies at the German Film & TV Academy Berlin (dffb) in 1989. Since that time, he has made a number of films and videos as director and collaborated as Script Writer and Director of Photography and Cameraman with several film directors like Hectór Faver, Yesim Ustaoglu, Gariné Torossian and Béla Tarr. He directed several plays at different theatres in Germany and he is working as a guest lecturer at the Centre of Cinematographical Studies of Catalania (C.E.C.C.) in Barcelona/Spain, at the School of Visual Arts (ESBAG) also in Geneva, Switzerland and at the New Latvian Cultural Academy (LKA) in Riga. Retrospectives of his work had been presented all over the world from Australia to Greenland. In 2005 retrospectives of his films will follow in many eastern European states and also in Russia. Fred Kelemen is member of the European Film Academy.
Throughout his years as an artistic and often under-hyped director, Kelemen has likened himself to the emerging avant-garde of the turn of the century. His unmissable style has accredited him with some of the fields top achievements, with nods from film festivals around the Globe, The Tate Modern will bring together his first trilogy of films for a night of pure cinema gold on weeknights throughout the coming winter, further details of these showings can be found at Tate online and in future Edition publications. Also in the new year Fred Kelemen himself will grace the Turbine Hall for an interactive session with fans and critics of his work. Expect fireworks, film and fracas as he delves into the darkest depth of his work, life, times and career. It is assured to be an unmissable night. Tickets are available from the Tate box office.  - by edition Tate Modern

The Decay of Cinema  by Susan Sontag
Cinema of Damnation   by Tony McKibbin
TheaterHeute "Desire" Design   and Performance  by Thomas Oberende
Are you sitting comfortably?  by Jonathan Romney
Mediterannian Autumn by György Baron
Slow Cinema Weekend  by Michael Pattison

Interview | The Thinking Image: Fred Kelemen on Béla Tarr and The Turin Horse

The International Nothing - The Dark Side Of Success (2014)

Less Action, Less Excitement, Less Everything (2010)

I’m on a bit of a healthy eating kick at the moment, coupled with a “stop eating snacks at all time of the day” diet. So this morning, before work I was in a shop looking at different boxes of porridge available to buy for breakfast. Of the many options on the shelves, most tried to add a new twist on good old porridge, some adding fruit, some honey, one even mixing in chocolate and banana in the same box (ugh). In the end, faced by all this choice and variation I settled for plain old Scottish porridge oats, which I will enjoy for breakfast tomorrow.
Listening to the first International Nothing album last night may well have influenced my decision in the supermarket today. Sometimes it is the simple, subtle things in life that work best. Adding extra elements often just overcomplicates things and detracts from your enjoyment of the basics when they are just done really well. For me the album Mainstream felt like the shelves of porridge today, a really lovely, deceptively simple article spoilt very slightly by the addition of extra elements. The new International Nothing album, named, ironically, (and brilliantly) Less Action, Less Excitement, Less Everything is, for want of any other ridiculously overstretched metaphor, a great example of a really well made bowl of good quality, simple porridge.
So yes, the new disc is just the two clarinets of Kai Fagaschinski and Michael Thieke, composed, played ’straight’ with little use of extended technique, and entirely reliant on the creativity of the composition and the skill of the musicians to capture the attention and go somewhere interesting. The five pieces here then work with converging and diverging harmonics again, but also there feels like there is a greater sense of structure to the compositions, perhaps more definition in them, and a greater variety in the use of space and time. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this music is how in-tune with one another Fagaschinski and Thieke are. There was once a time when I wrote somewhere that I could pick Kai’s playing out on any CD he appeared on, such was his own personal musical signature, but here I haven’t a clue which of the two clarinetists plays which note, and as the pair cross their sounds over often mid-flow I’m not even sure I always know if the musician that started a note is the same one that ends it. The sense of mutual understanding is present throughout what is a consistently impressive album that oozes a delicate subtlety that requires careful listening to get the most out of. Notes swell out of the silence rather than just begin, and they slip away with a similar charm. The attention to detail is remarkable, not only in this kind of exit and entrance technique, but in the accuracy of the combined tonal playing. Despite there being extended use of harmonic systems here I can’t find a single mistake, a single loose wavering note, a single missed entry point. In short, it is a beautiful set of five fine, compact pieces that have been executed very well indeed. Simple ingredients, well combined by very talented people. Fine music with no chocolate or bananas in sight.
by Richard Pinnell (England, September 2010)

I wondered, when I’d finished listening, why two men capable of blowing poetry through their clarinets would saddle themselves with such a seriously crap album title. But Less Action, Less Excitement, Less Everything expresses the paradox that Kai Fagaschinski and Michael Thieke – have now chosen to pursue a cause that on paper looks unlikely: composed music. Which poses the question – why attempt to write down sounds once revealed through improvisation and run the risk of killing those same sounds stone dead? Especially as these sounds are culled from free Improv’s gestural heartland: distorted, breathy, overblown notes that crack on the border between sounding or not.
In the first piece, “Niedere Arbeiten”, a single moment helps clarify the arguments. A trill clicking of clarinet keys against the body of the instrument registers as incidental detail until, deploying awesome technical control, the trill dips as the clicks intensify. Given these outer limit instabilities, how could that sound be notated? The mystery deepens as equally fickle slap-tongue figurations quietly ‘pop’ in the other clarinet.
Then both musicians inhale calmly, their breath cueing the next section. Whatever notation Fagaschinski and Thieke have devised is obviously a good one. It lends their ideas an elegant sense of order and licenses the unforeseen, as difficult-to-realise notation keeps the narrative dangerous and unsteady. After all, sound couldn’t care less whether it has been written down or not.
by Philip Clark (England, August 2010)

From the family of wind instruments, I must admit that I like the clarinet the best. And here we have two of them: on the right channel Kai Fagaschinski and on the left channel Michael Thieke. They work as The International Nothing. I think we should see the title of this work as the program for this CD. The two play the clarinets with great slowness, with long sustains and decays, and action seems indeed not really apparent. Excitement, yes, that is something that is hard to escape when listening t this release. I think this very exciting music actually. Almost like sine waves humming slow and carefully, sometimes developing into a small melody, sometimes as quickly as that disappearing. Carefully playing with the silent notions. This is improvised music and the odd thing is it sounds on one hand very onkyo, but the more I think about it, I realize we hear the clarinets as they are: clarinets and not as some object with a mouthpiece. That’s an interesting notion about this music. An excellent, solemn work of refined ascetic beauty. Sparse yet rich.
by Frans de Waard (Netherlands, July 2010)

I saw this pair (Kai Fagaschinski and Michael Thieke, clarinets) at Experimental Intermedia only a couple of weeks prior to this recording. I know at least one of the pieces here (they do play all composed music, btw) was played then (“Sleep!”), perhaps more. In any case, the overall feel of that evening and this recording is quite similar, albeit without the added spice of a naked fat guy. Very soft, a kind of agitated quiet where the reeds circle about each other in a fairly tight weave, tendrils escaping hear and there, always a burr in place. A couple of days later, I was walking down the street with a musician who shall remain nameless, mentioned that set and was told, “I hate that kind of stuff!” meaning: restrained, delicate, channeled. This music is certainly that but I find not a small amount of pleasure in that restraint, especially when it’s combined with a subtle but tangible sensuousness as is the case with these fellows. There’s an obvious joy being experienced by the clarinetists in rubbing together adjacent sonorities, bathing in the resultant overtones. Things are kept moderately tonal, though never sing-song-y, the plies of sound calmly allowed to waft over each other, to settle lightly. “Sleep!” closes the disc and is irresistibly drowsy. Good stuff.
by Brian Olewnick (U.S.A., July 2010)

 No pyrotechnics here ― there isn’t a staccato, fortissimo or 16th note to be heard. But Berlin-based clarinettists Michael Theike and Kai Fagaschinski have developed such sensitive awareness of one another’s instrumental gestures and sonorities that their sounds become fused, creating shimmering fields of multiphonics or hovering mists of subtone dronishness that convey the woody essence of their instrument. The twosome find combinations of pitches that reveal interesting presences, sometimes of ghostly different tones. They worry a single pitch, detuning to produce throbbing beats and then finding pure unison, they depart. Lip slides, false fingerings, the entire encyclopaedia of clarinet sound resources are referenced in the Nothings’ five-track explorations. The pieces share a minimalist, ambient atmosphere that gradually reveals itself at a slow, gentle pace. While moments can be somewhat intense, the disc’s overall state is meditative, tranquil and, curiously for its definite “avant” aesthetic, relaxing. Light a candle, soak in a warm bath and let these guys take you on a fascinating voyage.
by Glen Hall (Canada, October 2010)

Reviewers are often tempted to use the title of a record as a description of its contents. And indeed most readers familiar with the musicians in this duo — clarinetists Kai Fagaschinski and Michael Thieke — will be likewise compelled by apparent paring down suggested by Less Action, Less Excitement, Less Everything. While the clarinet’s history is deeply bound up with certain kinds of expressionism (think not just traditional, but Jimmy Giuffre, Eric Dolphy, John Carter, Marty Ehrlich, and Sclavis, just to name a few), these players are known from their participation in a bevy of projects in and around the Berlin “lowercase” improvising scene. Thieke first caught my ears on a 1998 Leo Lab disc from the Clarinet Trio, and later on several fine Creative Sources releases, the superb Roman Tics from Cathnor, and The Magic I.D. from Erstwhile, among others. Fagaschinski’s duo with Bernhard Gal – Going Round in Serpentines – got him considerable attention, and he also impressed on releases from Los Glissandinos and a lovely duet with Burkhard Stangl (Musik – Ein Porträt in Sehnsucht).
The pair seemed, on all these recordings, more interested in the properties of wood, the overtone range of the B-flat, and in the extension of experiments in dynamics and silence inaugurated by Roscoe Mitchell’s “TKHKE.” On this second release, comprised of five compositions that may be far more scripted than they initially sound, the pair both give voice to virtues of so-called “reductionism” but also – in the woody tones, the blending of timbre and overtones, and the anxious quaver of the sound – suggest something very much like Arnold Dreyblatt’s “excited” strings.
From the opening passages of “Niedere Arbeiten,” what’s more apparent is the flirtatious reference of the duo’s moniker, as they conjure a sound that’s both of place and of no place. They weave their way in and out of woody intervals that invoke The Magic I.D. and Neuschnee, but also toy with the melancholy of Mitteleuropa, playfully discarding snatches of song form here and there. The lengthy “Crystal Clear Fog” sounds the most like new music, with stacked overlapping tones, occasional bent notes, and a spare anxiousness of a sound that – as “pure” notes become harsh ones – is straining for release from within. It almost sounds like they are converting certain elements of clarinet traditions to the raw properties of the wood from which the instrument is fashioned, and from there ensconcing it in moss or lichen, the whole music like the sound of natality.
And yet it also, after the brief fragment “Dichtung und Wahrheit,” can sound very instrumental and constructed. Oddly, as on the superb “Amongst Dissidents,” it’s in these latter moments when their sound is least clarinet-like. (On this piece I hear accordion and amplifier feedback channeling Ligeti’s “Atmospheres.”) After this, the lonely quaver and tonal dissolution of “Sleep!” is like a bath, a John Carter solo piece on Quaaludes. Sink in and enjoy.
by Jason Bivins (U.S.A., January 2011)

Active since 2000 as a duo, surely clarinettists Kai Fagaschinski and Michael Thieke are not interested in confrontation at all costs. Still, this CD – their second as The International Nothing – makes me wonder about that kind of attitude and vibe, despite the overall feel of detachment characterizing the music. This probably depends on the type of shrilling pitches that the two contiguous reeds typically generate, often becoming the reason of a slight loss of balance (and in distracted individuals, of nervousness: don’t try to approach this recording while performing other activities). Even if the compositional architecture is essential and utterly comprehensible over the course of five episodes, the effect of adjacent tones and upper partials on the auricular membranes after half an hour of intensive treatment is quite noticeable. Quivering frequencies and split harmonics mix with the noise of the keys and the deep inhalations heard before a new figure is explored, the timbral sum akin to the superimposed waves of a humanized, if stone-hearted synthesizer. When TIN attempt a sketch of melody, they usually end scarring a linear geometry with additional helpings of grating discordance, causing the listener to immediately forget the few moments of literal charm elicited mere seconds prior. The 36 minutes revolve more or less around this basic scheme, with a couple of silent segments in between for good measure. It works in spurts, not completely in my opinion. The lingering idea is one of an album for connoisseurs – better if members of the Lucier & Niblock Oscillation Club – unlikely to involve a larger audience due to a certain degree of involuntary cynicism. Not that this is necessarily a defect, but these guts say that something is missing for elevating the disc’s status to memorable. Love the title, though – an incitement to the abandonment of stereotypical EAI, maybe.
by Massimo Ricci (Italy, December 2010)

[...] A generation removed from the saxophonists, the members of The International Nothing, German clarinetists Kai Fagaschinski and Michael Thieke, are committed to pure abstraction, as well as more melody-based projects. Thieke, for instance, is a member of Dok Wallach, a Charles Mingus tribute band, and both play with singer Margareth Kammerer and electronic manipulator/vocalist Christof Kurzmann. Fagaschinski’s flirtation with restrained lap-top sounds also ally him with reductionist sounds. In fact while the Twine duo appears preoccupied with the energetic output of high-pitched, fortissimo and staccato timbres, the improvising on Less Action, Less Excitement, Less Everything – true to its title – slides and sluices around enervated tones, with the doubled tessitura sometimes masked by extended silences.
Occasionally reflecting the clarinets’ wooden properties, most of Fagaschinski’s and Thieke’s layered reed tones are solid and almost unbreakable. While chromatic and undulating, the double counterpoint is more moderato than agitato and except for bursts of forte shrilling, deftly expressed in mid-range tones. Polytonality abounds, with pitch vibrations occasionally taking on pipe-organ-like cohesion, and on every track, diminishing into near-inaudibility for a short period before a final variant bubbles to the sonic surface. Only rarely as well do the two lines separate either, with one becoming nearly mellow and the other sharply staccato.
“Crystal Clear Fog” is a fine example of this approach. Not only do the initial lines undulate in unison as they move infinitesimally up the scale, but one clarinetist manages to sound a grace note with almost trumpet-like in construction and another as if woodwind trills are refracting back from a piano’s innards. Eventually it appears as if the pressurized tones are constantly spilling outwards until they reach an almost lighter-than-air stasis. Following a short interlude of air being forced through two body tubes, harmonized reed chirping is mutated into strident chromaticism as the finale. [...]
by Ken Waxman (U.S.A., January 2011)

Mainstream (2006) stream

The Alvaret Ensemble - The Alvaret Ensemble (2012)

The Alvaret Ensemble

Ambijentalno-klasičarska supergrupa: Peter Broderick, Nils Frahm, Greg Haines, Martyn Heyne, Hilary Jeffery (Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble), Jan Kleefstra, Romke Kleefstra, Sytze Pruiksma i Iden Reinhart (Strië).



''The Alvaret Ensemble is a new improvisatory collective based around Greg Haines (piano), Jan Kleefstra (voice, poems), Romke Kleefstra (guitar and effects) and Sytze Pruiksma (percussion). This self-titled 2xCD/2xLP is our first release, and was recorded over three nights at the Grunewaldkirche in Berlin by Nils Frahm in August of 2011. In keeping with the spirit of the project, other musicians were invited to the sessions to add their own colour and further add to the spontaneity of the recording. In the end, those collaborators played an important part in defining the sound of the album � Iden Reinhart played violin, as did Peter Broderick, while Hilary Jeffery (Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble etc.) provided the album with its mournful trombone tones. Martyn Heyne, who was just there to help out with recording, ended up unleashing the church's organ and bringing a completely new element and sense of power to the album. We had been talking about recording together for a long time before finally setting the date and the location, so there was a strong sense of anticipation as we began to set-up the space for recording. Then, without scores or discussion, we began to play. In the beautiful and bright acoustics of the Grunewaldkirche, it soon became clear that even when playing incredibly quietly, the sound still filled the room and the tiny details or blemishes that we began to notice in the sound became the compositional tools that informed the recording. Recorded entirely at night, the candlelit atmosphere further added to the level of concentration and interconnectivity, and quickly the pieces began to take on lives of their own � it was as if with just a little guidance they would play out by themselves; as if the scores were already written and we were simply reciting what we had spent years composing. So many months of thoughts and ideas quickly began to pour out into something that instantly began to feel complete. Of course this feel of completeness was also supplemented with a sense of excitement that the idea was working, that something was beginning to take shape - that an album that we are now all immensely proud was being created right there, in the moment. We were left with around 12 hours of recordings, which we then spent months immersing ourselves in and began to craft something that would later become two discs � something that can be viewed as two separate entities or as one lengthy statement. When all was in order, Nils Frahm and Greg got together in his workspace, Durton Studio, and mixed and mastered it with the precise attention to detail that the music deserved.'' - The Alvaret Ensemble.

Greg Haines is a musician and composer based in Berlin. He has released on Miasmah, Sonic Pieces and Preservation, and played concerts around the world, including across Europe, the USA, Japan and Australia. He also has created many scores for dance, including �Day4� with choreographer David Dawson, performed by the Dutch National ballet and the Holland Symfonia.
The Kleefstra Brothers are members of the Dutch improv band Piiptsjilling, as well as working together on numerous releases with musicians such as Celer, Gareth Davis, Peter Broderick, Machinefabriek, Nils Frahm, Greg Haines, Sytze Pruiksma and Anne Chris Bakker. It invariably involves the experimental guitar playing of Romke in combination with the spoken word in Frisian (old European minority language) by Jan.
Sytze Pruiksma is a composer, sound artist and bird-watcher, traditionally educated as a classical percussionist at the conservatory of Amsterdam. After having played as a percussionist in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Dutch Philharmonic Orchestra (among others), he focussed on his own projects, developing an authentic way of playing that is characterized by a great attention for timbre, inspired on landscapes, nature and birds.
For fans of SET FIRE TO FLAMES, RACHELS, ARVO PÄRT and the ECM catalogue in general.

The Alvaret Ensemble is a modern composition supergroup that features Peter Broderick, Nils Frahm, Greg Haines, Martyn Heyne, Hilary Jeffery (Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble), Jan Kleefstra, Romke Kleefstra, Sytze Pruiksma and Iden Reinhart (Strië).  Most people won’t need to read more.  We’re used to hearing these folks help each other out from time to time, but having them all in one place at one time (the Gruewaldkirche church, Berlin, August 2011) is a sonic treasure.
With so many people and personalities, one might expect a raucous album, with every player attempting to get their sound in: strings and horns everywhere, piano keys strewn about with hopeless abandon, Jan shouting to be heard.  The opposite is true.  The Alvaret Ensemble is tender, quiet and restrained, and it may be the season’s most understated and introspective album.  Its stark beauty is perfect for winter, when color has been leeched from the land and all has been laid bare.  Instead of splaying its skills across the board, the ensemble pares its sound down to the barest elements.  By drawing inside itself, the album conserves its energy like a hibernating bear.  And when Big Moments are needed, it awakes.
It may seem counter-intuitive to note that despite the stripping down of sound, a lot is happening.  Deciding when to be quiet, for how long, and in what way can require even more energy than going all-out.  In this way, the album resembles Daniel Bjarnason and Ben Frost’s Solaris, recorded with an orchestra that was fully present but barely heard.  The decision to record by candlelight, at night, in a church, certainly added to the sense of reverence.  Cutting the twelve hours of recordings down to an hour and a half must have been a heartbreaking exercise.  An hour and a half will seem either overly long or hardly enough, depending on the listener; it’s a generous amount, but it’s one that requires patient attention.  Kleefstra’s Frisian poems may be impenetrable without liner notes, but they draw the ear away from other pursuits.  As soft as the delivery may be, this is still a foreground album.
So what is Kleefstra saying?  Those who purchase the hard copy will have the privilege of complete knowledge, although perhaps not interpretation (“Write a song for a bird that doesn’t exist.  Write to all the dead that they should walk with the fire until there is enough water in the pail.”)  The album is clearly devoted to winter, as evidenced by frequent references to wind, snow and ice; the final track moves forward to spring and summer.  And yet, despite the ocean setting, a deeper, more elusive subject is at hand: thunderclouds, nightmares, tombstones, sleep.  This is an expanded winter, a winter of the heart and mind.
A pervasive sadness is draped over the delivery; even in the closing track, Kleefstra seems resigned to an unknowable fate.  And yet all around him the instruments offer consolation.  Reinhart’s violin is a blanket against the cold, Haines’ piano an encouragement to put one foot in front of the other.  Even Jeffrey’s humid trombone brings a balm of empathy, while Romke Kleefstra’s guitar seems to say, “I understand, my brother”.  Heyne’s organ contributions, which were initially unplanned, offer a hint of spirituality, while Pruiksma’s percussion provides a pulse beneath a frozen land.  The album was released on the longest day of the year, the winter solstice.  From this point forth, by increments, the long days decrease as the earth moves closer to the sun.  All is not lost; the known world and even the heart may be in stasis, but the slow melt awaits like an unexpired promise. - Richard Allen

Alvaret Ensemble, The, Kira Kira, Eiríkur Orri Ólafsson, Ingi Garðar Erlendsson, Borgar Magnason ‎– Skeylja


Hundred Waters - The Moon Rang Like A Bell (2014)


Electro-pop koji bježi na dodir, polumračni downtempo i glas Nicole Miglis iz Mjesečevih kaverni.


The ethereal shape-shifting voice of singer Nicole Miglis is the foundation of indie rock/art pop group, Hundred Waters, but it also allows the music to float away.
On The Moon Rang Like a Bell, the band’s second full-length album, listeners are presented with Miglis’ enigmatic lyrics set against a dense soundscape of instruments that might be electronic, acoustic or some beautifully mangled version of both. However, the songs on this new album are more than simple atmospherics. Hundred Waters aims for emotional resonance even if they choose to employ sonic experimentation.
The album’s solemn opener, “Show Me Love,” is a sobering exploration of inner strength. Miglis’ voice is looped and layered providing the only instrumentation. Her inspirational hymn asks for help: “Don’t let me show cruelty/ though I may make mistakes.” Starting off with music this poignant can often come off as cloying, but juxtaposed with genre-bending production strangely enough makes for a more authentic experience.
Miglis sounds like she’s alone in a room with you when she sings—a whisper that turns into a strained falsetto. On one of the memorable tracks on the album, “Cavity,” the band fills that room with music so layered with bass and percussive elements that when Miglis’ voice is once again layered, it seems omnipresent. Most of the lyricism on the The Moon Rang Like a Bell is impressionistic and the band excels at painting an emotional portrait. As Miglis sings the ominous chorus, “You make these feelings go away,” the anxiety and frustration of heartbreak are hard to miss.
Multi-instrumentalists Paul Giese and Trayer Tryon, as well as, drummer Zach Tetreault coalesce to compliment Miglis’ serpentine voice in a way that makes the music sound like it’s from the future. On “Innocence,” hisses and ghostly echoes from machines wash over Miglis’ delivery as she rhetorically asks: “Innocent, innocent/ Why do I worry if you’re innocent?”
On the lush “Down From the Rafters,” the musicianship of the band is at the forefront. Hundred Waters creates a slow-burn textured song that offers listeners plenty to discover, such as when Miglis spookily sings, “I’ve wandered through water/ Since the morning I heard you/ You were half alive/ But that mud inside/ Is the same mud that makes me love you.” It’s hard to decipher whether it’s a plea, a memory or a threat.
On The Moon Rang Like a Bell, Hundred Waters offers an album of quiet moments of subtlety juxtaposed with crashing waves of desperation. Hundred Waters is a fully realized band in unquestionable command of their scope and purpose. They use the extremes of electronic production and manipulation as exploration and not exploitation.  So I guess in the future, music is still beautiful. B+ - RAJ DAYAL

It’s been a rather strange rise for Floridian alt-folk-quartet Hundred Waters thus far. Following their impressive self-titled debut in 2012, they quite rapidly (and quite beguilingly) landed themselves on Skrillex’s Full Flex Express tour alongside the dubstep megalith and iconic producers Diplo and Grimes. It was an odd pairing. Sure, Hundred Waters certainly utilized its share of synthesizers and digital elements to an impressive degree, yet the landing of their folk-inspired, multi-instrumental act on such a lineup of more electronic-focused musicians, plus their eventual signing to Skrillex’s OWSLA label, seemed a juxtaposition of sorts. Hundred Waters was plenty digital, but also quite natural—bathed in lightly plucked strings and soft, whimsical harmonies. Their latest, The Moon Rang Like a Bell, seems to bridge that gap, tipping the scales a little more toward digital favor, but still maintains that sense of mysticism and naturalistic allure.
Where Hundred Waters saw instruments all but duking it out for driving supremacy, burying hooks deep within layers of colliding lines both digital and non, Moon‘s hookiest moments are born not out of instrumental complexity, but rather from gradual builds and layered tensions. This is not to suggest that Moon is without complexity, or has any shortage of hooks, just that even its hookiest moments come from a more solemn, slow-developed place. It’s not a “poppy” album (not that Hundred Waters was, but Moon even less so), but it does have its punchy moments, buried mostly in the back half on tracks like “Down from the Rafters,” “[Animal]” and (perhaps their most moving, triumphant song to date) “Seven White Horses.”
By and large, Moon plays out as a largely introspective affair, often feeling like somewhat of a one-on-one with singer Nicole Miglis, due in no small part to the relative lack of spotlight on vocal harmonies, which is largely absent compared to its prior save for Miglis’ own occasionally layered vocals, which are often executed rather subtly. Further, slower-moving numbers like “Broken Blue” and “Chambers (Passing Train)” are largely centered on Miglis and her keys, with added flittered accompaniment accenting the mood as she illustrates it.
Rather than doling out hooks, direction and depth through intricate flurries of conjoined instrumentation like its predecessor, The Moon Rang Like a Bell focuses on a simpler formula, allowing docile verses to develop and capsize with big swells of tension and triumph. It’s the product of a band that’s clearly thinking on their feet, engaging with the conflicting styles of those around them and assimilating new behaviors without sacrificing their own, changing with the world around them to create something refreshingly distinct and beautifully engaging. - Robby Ritacco

The second full-length from Hundred Waters is not an evolution so much as a refinement. If 2012’s self-titled effort saw the band sketching out the borders of their sound, The Moon Rang Like a Bell finds them zeroing in on what they do best and going deeper. The production is improved in every way, but given how hushed and quiet they can be, the effect is still pretty subtle. Acoustic instruments have been jettisoned; the pillowy synths and layered vocals of singer Nicole Miglis nestle easily in the mix, sometimes leaving questions as to when one end and another begins. Indeed, the key to Hundred Waters’ rich and tactile atmosphere is that their machines never sound quite like machines, but everything sounds close; on “Murmurs”, distant piano is buried under reverb and digital crackle, sketching out chords with a vaguely gospel feel, as a strange voice sings a tune while so near to the microphone you can hear a tongue clicking against teeth. It’s an album that always feels like it’s whispering in your ear.
The band’s approach is difficult to place in a specific time. That’s not because their aesthetic is especially innovative or new, or because it seems like it’s from the future; rather, they bring to mind a moment when updating dusty old song structures with the tools of the present seemed like the next logical step in music. “Digital folk” was the term used in a review of their self-titled debut, and that captures it as well as anything: music that is both earthy and disembodied, with humans and electronics joining at some blissful halfway point. Hundred Waters thrive in the place where post-rock meets freak folk, and sing-song melodies are twisted into strange shapes by circuitry.
The connection to Björk is hard to overstate. Part of The Moon’s appeal is that it hearkens back to the style of Vespertine, the last album when Björk’s restlessly experimental music still had a foot in accessibility, before she took such a conceptual turn. There’s a similar sense of music-as-place here, and a desire to fuse ancient and modern in search of a new mode of expression. And in that respect, oddly enough, Hundred Waters remind me of another group from Iceland—Múm, in particular their 2000 album Yesterday Was Dramatic—Today is OK, an album sometimes described at the time as “folktronica.” These aren’t influences I’m talking about, necessarily, but ways of hearing what Hundred Waters are doing. It’s not a coincidence that these signposts are from music made around the turn of the millennium, when rapidly changing technology meant the future sound of pop was up in the air.
But if much of Björk’s power comes from her unpredictability, the feeling that a breathy sight could turn into a scream and a song might explode, Hundred Waters are always set to simmer. That mostly works in their favor on The Moon Rang Like a Bell, as the album’s strength comes from its gradually accruing moments. So the spell of the minute-long a cappella opener “Show Me Love” is broken by clear piano chords and miniature percussive explosions on “Murmurs” and then the following “Cavity” raises the intensity before the bright and twinkly “Out Alee” brings it back to earth. Sequenced beautifully, the record is full of these gentle arcs, and the sound is so consistent it can feel like a 49-minute piece broken into 12 movements. The impact of any one song is heightened by its proximity to what came before and what follows.
In an interview, Miglis highlighted the importance of her lyrics to The Moon Rang Like a Bell, but for me the album functions more like an instrumental album, where meaning comes from the sonics. On the page, her words are allusive and fragmented, hinting at moments of doubt and turmoil, but on record, the words come over as pure sound. There’s a moment about halfway through “Innocent” where Miglis breaks away from language and sings a “dah-dah-dah-do-dum” phrase, but with her voice coated in processed fuzz, she sounds like an amphibious creature prone to reverie. This line communicates as well as any phrase on the album. “Is it only in my head?”, she asks a moment later, and it wouldn’t be a bad subtitle for an album so steeped in imagination. -
Mark Richardson

The methods of Hundred Waters rise to underground fame seem inextricably tied to their invitation to Skrillex’s Full Flex Express Canadian Train Tour, as it’s only known that Sonny Moore came across the quartet’s self-titled debut and enjoyed it. Hundred Waters, an exploration into electronic and folk-inspired sounds, seemed completely awry in comparison to some of the more monstrously electronic and dance-oriented acts of Skrillex’s tour, including Grimes, Diplo, and Pretty Lights.
After releasing that debut and signing to Skrillex’s OWSLA label, Hundred Waters toured with the likes of Alt-J, The xx, Julia Holter, and Braids before composing their sophomore record, The Moon Rang Like a Bell. Opening track “Show Me Love” is immediately stripped of any expected electronic heaviness, with vocalist Nicole Miglis aching three iterations of the title, the third more potent and aggressive than the others. Following her outcry is second track “Murmurs”, featuring a relatively sad “Yesterday was your birthday/ Happy birthday,” full of a self-aware forgetfulness. As these emotional characters change form through some of the album’s tracks, Hundred Waters establishes an underpinning of ephemerality, a world where a temporary atmosphere exists simultaneously with feeling.
On electronics, guitars, and drums, Paul Giese, Zach Tetreault, and Trayer Tryon maintain this aestheticized atmosphere throughout the record, one redolent of the understanding of life’s transience, as experienced when immersed momentarily in a vast body of water. The music video for lead single “Cavity” captures a similar elegance; a strip of Miglis’s face sings, “You will make these feelings go away,” while the video transitions between flickering scenes of nighttime nature, lights, and moving stars.
With stress on experimentation and an often unintelligible Miglis (“Out Alee”, “Innocent”), the album’s first half features tracks reminiscent of the sound the band established with Hundred Waters. There are also two pure ambient tracks (one of them suitably titled “Chambers (Passing Train)”) that transition into the album’s more groundbreaking latter half.
Despite a similar apparent slowness, the four tracks that follow “Chambers” breathe with a fluidity that transcends any need for continuity in tempo. On “Down from the Rafters”, Miglis sighs, “Take a little pill, drown it out in laughter/ Take a little pill, maybe think about it after,” atop a set of nostalgic strings and ethereal, echoing chimes. The slow unity of the track is contrasted by the subsequent uptempo speed of “[Animal]“, which is followed by “Seven White Horses”, whose energy builds in great power as it culminates in an intense clash of drums and Miglis’s cries.
The series of four tracks concludes with “Xtalk”, appropriately another dance track, which begs, “Do you have time/ To lay around and pick out all the folly in me?” As the record comes to an end with the darkly ambient “No Sound”, a connection can be made to the album cover, a drawing interpreted from the inside of an airplane. Out of the windows is a swirling redness and a sad or crying moon, whose nighttime appearance signals the dark blue and purple transience The Moon Rang Like a Bell has successfully established through its seamless aesthetic sensitivity. -

"...bass ripples soothingly, sun-warped synths flicker out and make your hair stand on end, drones hum and shiver, and drums chatter like teeth... Hundred Waters' members make music to burrow deep into to obsess over." -NPR

"Hundred Waters’s own art-rock is rhapsodic and mercurial: pointillistic or gauzy, meditative or dramatic, near-jazzy or quasi-classical, a percussion workout or a rock processional." -NEW YORK TIMES

Hundred Waters (2012)

Chops have always been a touchy subject in indie rock circles, but at least it used to be fairly easy to know who had them before discussing whether or not they mattered. In 2012, it's rarer to find a band that doesn't incorporate button-pushing, vocal manipulation, or wholesale sampling as a primary compositional method-- how do you even begin to acknowledge the impact of technical proficiency outside of, say, AraabMuzik? On their gorgeous debut of bewitching digital folk, Hundred Waters find answers in a means similar to Braids' or Julia Holter's: Their stage setup might be a confounding tangle of cables and surge protectors, but there's a commitment to unapologetic, real-time virtuosity, compositional refinement, and vision that cuts through the nonchalant clutter of their peers. You can't pull of sounding this joyfully adventurous without being a serious musician.
The most obvious extension of that kind of serious musicianship is the Gainesville, Fla., quintet's confidence, and there are tangible ways in which it manifests here: Whether the pristine clarity of the production is the result of countless studio hours or just a monetary leap of faith (I'm more inclined to believe the former considering its tiny label), you immediately appreciate the investment of belief. And Hundred Waters streams for free on the band's website with the lyrics posted in plain sight, which might seem like a small gesture, but a heartening one if you think of how far out their way young bands go to obscure their words. If you have to shackle yourself to a computer, Hundred Waters allow and invite a more immersive listening experience in a terribly shallow format. Both make the same point: They're not afraid to ask for your full attention.
In a more abstract way, Hundred Waters plays out like a record unusually sure of itself despite having no obvious stylistic hook-- colleagues of mine have grasped at Broadcast and Dirty Projectors as comparisons, two bands who sound like hardly anyone else, let alone each other. I hesitate to use "folktronica" because I think the nomenclature can trigger more ill will than the music that was actually produced under that faux-genre, but that's really what you're getting here: Befitting a record with both "Sonnet" and "…---…" as song titles, Hundred Waters merges the digital and the antiquated sonically and lyrically. At their core, the songs are often in a folk tradition, albeit more towards the "freak-" than the coffee-shop type, vocalist Nicole Miglis heavily informed by pastoral England in terms of harmony and language. The lyrics to opener "Sonnet" are taken directly and entirely from a Percy Shelley verse of the same name, while the acoustic figures and woodwinds that vine upwards throughout it the suggest Espers' Ren Faire wake-and-bakes basking in sunshine rather than blacklights. Beyond the modal harmonies, there's an archaic poetry to these songs that some might find impossibly precious (note the spelling of "splendour" in the lyrics), but I find it congruent with the band's musical persona. "Boreal" and "Me & Anodyne" initially appear fantastical due to their purple wordplay, but they're stories grounded in the complexities of human relationships and the urge to opt out of modern mundanity. Likewise, focus on the ripeness of the lyrics, and you'll miss "Thistle" as an acrid sendoff written with a poisoned quill.
Occasionally, the faerie dust gets a little too thick (the free-time drum circle "Wonderboom" in particular), but even then you never get a sense that they're being overindulgent. More often, their playful side is where their virtuosity gets revealed: a nimble player piano roll that splits "Boreal" open, the expert deployment of syncopated kick drums accenting the chorus of "Me & Anodyne". "Visitor" starts off with the kind of half-melodic, half-percussive ripple of indistinct brass that's familiar in the wake of Animal Collective, yet it's a loop and a living thing, morphing into intriguing melodic shapes while the rhythm sections bustle skillfully. There are brief hat tips to glitch ("Thistle"), tUnE-yArDs' oblong rhythms ("Theia"), and the processor-spiked jazz of Four Tet ("Visitor"), but much of Hundred Waters is just love of pure sound.  It's particularly evident on near-instrumental pieces like "Caverns", which layers a gorgeous backward loop over a heaving percussion for an effect that's similar to crystal stalactites described therein, both extremely dense and yet translucent, and meditative closer "Gather" features an ostinato piano line and rich cello acting out its hopeful epitaph ("We can crouch in sanctuary/ Or we can gather our threads into rope and pull.")
Throughout, it's evident how much of the hard work occurred in the planning stages, such is the simply staggering sophistication of these arrangements. Though mostly clocking in at under five minutes, no single track exposes its hooks too quickly and their tendency to explore phrases and shapes before locking into a groove evinces a foreground of both improvisation and skill that suggest Hundred Waters just might be an omnivorous jazz band. And above all, they're the kind of discovery it's easy to get excited about: Their debut does more than enough to stand on its own, not only ambitious in its own right, but leaving little doubt about Hundred Waters' capability of handling wherever their ambition takes them from here. -
Ian Cohen 

petak, 27. lipnja 2014.

Paavo - The Third Song of the Peacock (2013)

Sofia Jernberg i Cecilia Persson: susret jazza i srednjeg vijeka u Švedskoj.


Photo: Jon Edergren

Canco Del Pao

@ 2010 Cancó del Paó Musically same outstanding as Self-Titled above, free of artistic extravaganza added to the issue, but sonically even more genius. Excellent arrangements there with closing “O Virgo, Miserere Mei” Laud leaving you out of breath and begging good old God for more

The group Paavo releases hereby its second record Cançó del Paó (Song of the Peacock in Catalan). On the 26st of January the group start an extensive tour in Sweden.
– There is nothing I want more than to spread the Paavo word, says Sofia Jernberg, one of two bandleaders.
– The music Sofia and I write is in constant change, I can hear movement in different directions in every tune, says Cecilia Persson, who is the other bandleader.
The band then makes the music become Paavo with everything that that implies, particularly when it comes to improvisation, energy and sound. On Cançó del Paó, the seven-piece band Paavo – backed by three guests – for the first time makes a cover: O virgo miserere mei.
– Jazz meets music of the middle age in Paavo's way, says Sofia.
When Paavo’s debut record was released in 2007, the word was spread about an unknown bird that flew in the Swedish jazz sky. Record label director and professor Joakim Milder had previously claimed the band to be ”by far the brightest new appearance on the Swedish Jazz scene”. The much spoken of debut record with handsewn and numbered covers received many and great reviews and was chosen as jazz record of the year by Swedish newspapers Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet. Reporters from near and far catched on with cameras, notebooks and pencils. Paavo received Swedish national radio’s award ”Jazzkatten” in 2008, in the category "Group of the Year", and Sofia has received the Royal Musical Academy’s jazz award.
Paavo thanked the Swedish establishment and took off out into the world. Besides clubs and festivals in the Nordic countries, Paavo visited festivals in France, Belgium, Holland, Finland and Ireland. With help from the other musicians in the band, the group sound has further been developed and Sofia and Cecilia have written new material. That the record’s title is in Catalan is no coincidence, parts of the music on Cançó del Paó accompanied a theater play in Barcelona.

When I first saw piano player Cecilia Persson and singer Sofia Jernberg, they came across as sweet and somewhat timid. That was until they started to play. As they did, I almost got dizzy adding to that first impression of mine. They were nice people, all right. But that night they also turned out to be some of the most advanced, fearless and creatively strong jazz musicians coming out of Sweden in at least a decade.
Together they form a duo and lead a band, in both cases under the name of Paavo. As the band, they perform with a drummer, a bass player, and three saxophone players. The music is at once intimate and fiercely complex, with fast and intricate lines demanding of the musicians to be on the absolute top of their game.
On the other hand there is a feminine quality to the music, a certain vibe and sensibility that steers clear of the predominantly male tendency to turn execution of complicated music into show-off. Instead of ending in itself, the complexity of Paavo’s music is musically motivated and serves as a catalyst for the improvisations as well as the overall performance.
The band’s new release “Cancó del Paó” (“Peacock song” in Catalan) takes the listener on a journey into the wild but beautiful and almost naturalistic scenarios projected by Persson’s and Jernberg’s combined imagination. You don’t have to analyze it intellectually in order to appreciate it. Rather just listen to it. Feel it first, think about it later.
You just might get hooked on these young musicians and their special take on modern jazz. Swedish women are often said to be strong and independent. Cecilia Persson and Sofia Jernberg make the music that proves it.

@ 2007 PAAVO self titled debut cover. All those had been hand made covers and limited edition of 500 only. My copy is No* 62 of 500 and is different than one shown. Printed digi-pack envelope remains the same, but an inner sleeve made of mixed art of patchwork combined with pop art-ish paint, had all been hand made by them selves. Simply to many talents in those 2 pair of hands. God is a mysterious being – isn’t he ? ;]

Sofia Jernberg (born 5 July 1983, Ethiopia) is a Swedish soprano, voice-artist, improviser and composer.[1]
Between 2002 and 2004, Jernberg studied jazz at Fridhems Folk High School. Later she studied for Per Mårtensson and Henrik Strindberg at The Gotland School of Music Composition. In 2008, she received the Royal Swedish Academy of Music's jazz award.
Jernberg is the leader (together with the pianist Cecilia Persson) of the chamber jazz group Paavo.[1] The group received the "jazz group of the year" award from Swedish Radio.
Jernberg is also working on the contemporary classical music scene, in which she serves as both singer and composer.[2] As a singer she has premiered pieces by composers such as Lars Bröndum. She was a soloist with Norrbotten NEO when they performed Arnold Schönberg's Pierrot Lunaire.[1] Jernberg has composed for several established ensembles such as Duo ego and Norrbotten NEO.

srijeda, 25. lipnja 2014.

Duologue - Memex (2014)

Nešto između Radioheada i kita koji iskače iz šume.

Occasionally, great music can evade our expansive radar. Since the internet is updated with millions of pieces of information each day, it’s basically inevitable that something good might go unnoticed. However, most good things come around to us eventually, and that’s exactly what happened with Duologue’s latest EP, Memex. While the name Duologue implies only a two-member group, that isn’t the case here, as the band is actually made up of five people based in London, and if you happen to be a fan of shadowy electronic and soft vocals, then you’ll absolutely adore each and every one of the members’ efforts.

“Operator” prevailed as our favorite track on the EP, partially because of its incredible evolution from mellow to monumental. What begins as a smooth set of synths, percussion, guitar, and vocals progresses through fluctuating electronic layers and perfectly timed echoes, eventually building into a colossal sonic mountain. The extended crescendo is a beautiful mix between intensity and serenity, making for a segment that is absolutely awe-inspiring. “3 Traps” is slightly less epic in scale, but certainly doesn’t lack in beauty or creativity. Vocal layers, guitar elements, and electronic nuances are the song’s main components, all of which maintain a smooth vibe, and if you find yourself longing for more material after this second effort (and our other two featured below), go ahead and grab their whole EP HERE on iTunes.

Among the swathe of new releases currently jostling around the 5:4 jukebox, i want to start by flagging up two interesting recent releases, both serendipitous discoveries from the panning-for-gold approach to listening that is my modus operandi these days. First is Duologue, a five-piece from London whose latest EP, Memex, has initiated a host of earworms that are continuing to burrow around my subconscious at the moment. It’s an obvious place to begin, but their sound has more than a little to do with Radiohead, & not simply due to singer Tim Digby-Bell’s ululating vocals that often sound strikingly like a less defocussed Thom Yorke. Their songs share Radiohead’s interest in playing with the multiplicity of conventions associated with rock & pop. Thus, the EP’s title track melds dream pop & autotune to strange effect, crumbling into a hard-edged coda, while ‘Operator’ bumbles along at a fair old lick, with some nicely-judged harmonic shifts in a pair of softer episodes that break up the momentum—yet overall carrying a sense of ecstatic stasis, made manifest in the song’s energetic dancefloor-infused conclusion. But third track ‘Traps’ stands out way beyond either of these, evoking music from an earlier time while conjuring up a sense of balmy humidity; this is checked by the song’s regular structural shifts where major & minor tonality are superimposed (such a simple use of dissonance but still more-or-less unheard of in music of this kind) to delicious effect. Having also spent time with the group’s first album, Song & Dance (which i also warmly recommend), ‘Traps’ is definitely their strongest song to date, mature & subtle. The EP is available in physical formats (CD/vinyl) direct from the band & in digital from all the usual places, plus you can stream it below. -