subota, 8. prosinca 2012.

Sidsel Endersen & Stian Westerhus - Didymoi Dreams

Sidsel Endresen & Stian Westerhus - Didymoi Dreams image

Samo glas i gitara. Norveška alkemija kamenja i vode. 
Nove razine kotrljajućeg neba.

streaming ulomaka

Rune Grammofon pair two of Norway's leading improvisers in a strikingly unique partnership of vocals and guitar. In the explorative tradition of their country's forward thinking and tightly knit musical community, lauded vocal improviser Sidsel Endresen - known for her work with Deathprod and most recently Humcrush - alternately riffs in knotted, shredded tongues and curling, glossolalic sputter against a constantly shifting moire of loop pedalled FX and treated guitar hacked out by her much younger counterpart (and former Jaga Jazzist) Stian Westerhus. It's far from academic exercise, offering something strange, often somehow sexy, and certainly otherworldly, from their combined chemistry. It was actually performed and captured live at Nattjazz festival in Bergen, but you'd hardly tell - the recording is assuredly up to Rune Grammofon's impeccable standards - and packaged with Kim Hiorthøy's beautiful jacket, it's quite a special album. - boomkat

There are few vocalists more fearless and thrilling than Norwegian singer Sidsel Endresen. From traditional vocal forms, she has developed a style all of her own, sung mostly in a made-up language which range from hums and repetitive fragments of semi-recognisable words to harshly syncopated noises, resembling a form of scat for the electronic age. What makes her performances real tours de force is that all vocals are always recorded live, never processed or sampled. From her time as a member of Jon Eberson Group, with whom she recorded five albums between 1981 and 1987, she went on release a number of solo albums for ECM, Jazzland and Sofa. Over the years, she has also built a particularly solid and fertile musical relationship with Bugge Wesseltoft; the duo have recorded three albums, and Wesseltoft is a regular contributor to some of her other projects. She has also released music with Christian Wallumrød, Helge Sten, Nils Petter Molvær, Jon Hassell, Punkt, the duo formed by Jan Bang and Erik Honoré, and more recently, she collaborated with Humcrush on the impressive Ha! Her latest project sees her teaming up with maverick guitarist Stian Westerhus, who occupies regular spots as part of Puma, Monolithic or Bladed. He released his debut solo album, Galore, in 2009 on Rune Grammofon’s offshoot vinyl-only label The Last Record Company, and followed it with Pitch Black Star Spangled a few months later on Rune Grammofon. Westerhus recently collaborated with BOL and Snah on Numb, Number (Gigafon), and his new solo record, The Matriarch And The Wrong Kind Of Flowers, has just been released in Norway. Didymoi Dreams was recorded live at Nattjazz in Bergen, Norway, in May last year.
Although composed entirely of voice and guitars, Didymoi Dreams is an incredibly odd and fascinating playground where nothing sounds or acts is it should. Heavily sliced up, broken apart and reassembled, it seems, at random, or made up of imaginary words, Endresen’s contribution sounds utterly alien. Equally, Westerhus’s treatment of his instrument rarely ends up sounding anything remotely like a guitars. Processing his sounds on the fly, he weaves hypnotic sounds from delayed bowed guitars, deals harsh sonic stabs or miniature clusters of noise, brooding hums or numb feedback. His contribution is not however as twisted or intentionally grinding and corrosive as his solo material, as he leaves much of the space for Endresen to occupy. It is not that she wouldn’t be able to stand against his performance (she indeed would undoubtedly rise to the challenge), but the pair opt for a somewhat nuanced set here, balancing out intricate pieces (Barkis Is Willing, Wayward Ho, Immaculate Heart)  and more open and ‘out there’ moment (The Rustle Of A Long Black Skirt, Drawing An Arc, Hector, Dreamwork).
Although split into eleven different pieces, the album is effectively a set of three distinctive improvisations made up of individual sections, the first opening with The Rustle Of A Long Black Dress and concluding with Hedgehumming, the second stretching from Immaculate Heart to Dreamwork and the last focused on closing piece The Law Of Oh. Within the first two sequences, the various segments, or tracks, imperceptibly flow into one another to build self-contained sequential narratives, the pair alternating between moody, at times almost post-industrial textures (Barkis Is Willing, Immaculate Heart, Wooing The Oracle) and more earthy or ethereal tones (Limbs Leave And Snowmobiles, Hedgehumming, Hector).
This kind of intimate settings suites Endresen particularly well, allowing her to deploy a vast section of her extensive dynamic range, and Westerhus is mindful to never smother her with unnecessary sounds. The result is quite simply breathtaking, as their improvisations in turns charm, intrigue, startle or unnerve. It is impossible to remain indifferent to anything on here, and this is just how it should be. -

Now some 30 years into her recording career, Norwegian vocalist Sidsel Endresen remains a singular figure. Never really considered a jazz singer (by herself anyway), for the last few years she's concentrated more on improvisation and extending the potential of her voice as an instrument.
Recent meetings with a younger generation of Nordic musicians – Helge Sten, Christian Wallumrod, Halon Kornstad and Humcrush – have yielded some of the bravest and most beautiful music of her career. And this set with guitarist Stian Westerhus, recorded live in Bergen, is no exception.
Endresen's vocabulary ranges from what you might call "proper" singing to strange, half-spoken phrases, tonal interjections, hums, breaths, gulps, clicks and croaks. There is some kind of unidentifiable language at work, and it's one that carries a hefty but ambiguous emotional punch.
One minute she's sounding like a malfunctioning cyborg, the next a wounded animal or someone in the throes of a psychological meltdown. Then she's sending out long arcs of aching melody worthy of Joni Mitchell at her most obliquely lyrical, or speaking in tongues much as Mary Margaret O'Hara used to.
Using loops, delays, pitch shifters and a whole bunch of jiggery-pokery, Westerhus creates dark, brooding environments for Endresen to inhabit; cavernous bangs, spectral drones, clicks and pops, distant chimes and howls flit through the soundscape. There's not much that passes for conventional guitar playing here. But Westerhus feeds in just enough notes to allow Endresen to work in melodic phrases.
Despite the often brutally dark textures he's a sensitive accompanist, and the empathy between the two is stunning. Wooing the Oracle hinges on a crunching, detuned riff that Endresen uses to deliver a suitably feral outburst that'd have PJ Harvey quaking in her boots. The Law of Oh is a finely crafted essay in spontaneous composition, the pair perfectly attuned in a mournful yet powerful coda; a long cool drink of water after the strong stuff.
If you hadn't guessed, this is not background music. If you're prepared to give it your time and undivided attention, this is an enthralling listen.  - Peter Marsh

didymoi dreams is one of the rare examples of an album that increasingly hold me spellbound when listening to and leaves me in a state of incessant amazement. All of it gave me a feeling of undergoing an extraordinary experience and punctuates my mind with exclamations and questions marks.
didymoi dreamsis one of the rare examples of an album that increasingly hold me spellbound. Bare elementary vocal sounds, traces of crackling and scorching electric sounds powerfully brought into being. It gives the listener a little while getting into this primal language of gesturing sound! Halfway, in the sixth track, a fascinating new quality emerges: Hedgehumming as the title says. This is music from under the asphalt, music welling up in the cracks of the perceived world. A delphi-experience becoming stronger and more intense in the subsequent Wooing the Oracle. Hector, the next track, is a splendid song on the highway of life which inevitably leads into a deeper piece of Dream Work. In the last piece The Law Of Oh a magical song emanates and … reduced me to silence: various spheres of concsciousness shine through and mingle for tiny moments – leaving me in amazement.
And what about all exclamation and question marks? This is a live-album! How did they manage to produce and compose this live? Listening to the recording seems still more intense than the live experience itself?! This music passes a threshold and enters undiscovered grounds. This duo has developed enormously in a short span of time! How did they achieve this? This is a new dimension of guitar-playing using the electric guitar as a fully orchestral tool! It is a beautiful example of the directness and power of comprovisation originating from freeing and freed interplay of daring creators! -

 Stian Westerhus - The Matriarch And The Wrong Kind Of Flowers image

 stian westerhus - The Matriarch And The Wrong Kind Of Flowers

Remarkable album of string drones and manipulations by one of Norway's and the world's most talented, visionary new guitarists. With 'The Matriarch And The Wrong Kind Of Flowers' he can safely be regarded in the realm of Eyvind Kang, KTL, Pan Sonic, Jim O'Rourke for his calibre of sheer, icy, sonorous soundscaping and contemporary composition. He's aided in no small part by the mastering touch of Helge Sten aka Deathprod, but the often breathtaking production, recording, and mixing is entirely handled by Stian. It's incredibly difficult to believe that it's all sourced from just guitar and vocals, but unless Rune Grammofon are lying (we thinks not) this really is a stellar accomplishment. He uses the famous natural 20 second reverbs of Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum in Oslo to great effect, lending his haptic sensitivities a sepulchral quality and grandness while some subtle, and some heavily applied, digital processing amplifies the effect to stunning degrees. It's strongly recommended to fans of the recent Roly Porter records, Demdike Stare, KTL, Deathprod. - boomkat

  Listening to Stian Westerhus’s solo work gives little clue of what exactly is his instrument of choice. Dark, complex, broken, his soundscapes are haunting to say the least. Perhaps the recurring presence of bowed strings provides something of a clue, but nothing clearly points to the electric guitar, yet it is the instrument which Westerhus uses, and, crucially, it is the only instrument used on this album.

Westerhus’s taste for experimental guitar sounds stems from seeing Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock interpretation of Star Spangled Banner on TV when he was just thirteen years old. This prompted the young Norwegian musician, now aged thirty one, to explore the possibility of the electric guitar and dare go beyond the conventional approach to the instrument. In recent years, he has been a member of a few formations (Puma, Monolithic, Bladed, Jaga Jazzist) and has collaborated with people as diverse as Lasse Marhaug, Nils Petter Molvæer, Bol or Sidsel Endresen, with whom he recently released the stunning Didymol Dreams, but his solo work takes on an entirely different dimension. His debut album, Galore, was released on Rune Grammofon’s sister vinyl-only imprint The Last Record Company in 2009, and was followed by the utterly excellent Pitch Black Star Spangled on Rune Grammofon a year later.
Partly recorded at the Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum in Oslo, known for its twenty second natural reverb, The Matriarch And The Wrong Kind Of Flowers is a chillingly haunting record on which Westerhus develops his technique beyond anything he has achieved so far. Using the natural delay of the Vigeland Mausoleum, a venue particularly suited to bowed guitar it seems, as an integrant part of his music, and adding heavily processed guitar textures and occasional vocals, Westerhus creates here an extremely vibrant and sombre soundtrack. Adopting a somewhat uniform tone through the whole album, he then proceeds to layer exquisite nuances and variations for each track, his sounds ebbing and flowing, at times substantially, at others in much more subtle fashion, into structures which vary greatly in substance, from extremely minimal and sparse (Silver Sparkle Attraction, Like Passing Rain Through 9 Lives, Kept On Shoulders) and dreamy (Unchained Sanity On Broken Ground) to oddly orchestral (The Matriarch, Forever Walking Forests) or highly corrosive (The Wrong Kind Of Flowers), sometimes covering some or all of these within a single piece. Deeply uncompromising, intense and unique, Westerhus’s compositions also feel disarmingly honest, warm and engaging. His soundscapes, built around piercing drones and shifting textural noises, either subjected to surface abrasion or processed into uneven and distressed patterns, are incredibly dense, dark and ethereal, and ensure that the flow of the record doesn’t alter its consistency in any way.
Stian Westerhus’s previous record was already a very unique record, but The Matriarch… represents a major shift forward. The musician takes his experimentation to an entirely different level, using his instrument to create something totally otherworldly, poetic and spine-tingly spellbinding.

 Stian Westerhus - Pitch Black Star Spangled image

stian westerhus, Pitch Black Star Spangled

Arriving the same week as the new Puma LP, Pitch Black Star Spangled is the new solo album from that trio's guitarist Stian Westerhus, a musician also known for his role in famed Nordic big-band export Jaga Jazzist. When last Westerhus unleashed a solo release, it was around twelve months ago with the inaugural outing for Rune Grammofon's The Last Record Company subsidiary, and like that album (titled Galore), this latest effort is a remarkable showcase for Westerhus' talents as an improvising guitarist. There's some serious invention afoot on PBSS, and Westerhus' range as a guitarist far outreaches the instrument's customary vocabulary. One way or another the guitar becomes a near endless source of new sounds, juggling boisterous free-expression with far more pensive, diligently crafted soundscaping - often converging on a kind of realtime dark-ambience. At the heart of the album is the twelve-minute title track, which in its early phases concentrates on coaxing various electronic squawks out of Westerhus' tormented pickups before ascending into a ruptured, soaring blues. More great moments crop up during 'Music For Leaving' (which could almost pass for the finely manicured noise-shaping of early Jazzkammer) and the lamenting, bowed tones of 'Empty Hands Mirrored Softly' - this is another top quality entry onto Rune Grammofon's discography. - boomkat

 Stian Westerhus - Galore image

stian westerhus, Galore

Stian Westerhus is probably most widely known for his role as guitarist in Jaga Jazzist, also contributing to the bands Puma and Monolithic. Now, the expert improviser turns his attention to solo recording, and the results of his endeavours are presented on this handsome first release on Rune Grammofon offshoot The Last Record Company - a vinyl only imprint specialising in snazzy limited editions. As solo guitar records go, this is pretty far-out. You can expect to be exposed to some heavily treated, otherworldly six-string pyrotechnics, and for a good proportion of the time it sounds as if you might be listening to some early tape music experiments. Far from being a blast of frenzied noise though, there's a real wealth of variety to these outbursts, and Westerhus manages to summon up quieter, darkly ambient passages one moment only to blurt out pitch-shifted percussive oddness the next. Some might charge Westerhus with merely making a showreel for weird sounds he can wrench out of his guitar, and sure enough this is a record that seems to revel in making the instrument sound like something most un-guitar-like, but it's also a tirade of sound engineering invention and "how did he do that?" moments. Adding to this pricey edition's allure is a heavy duty mastering job by Helge 'Deathprod' Sten.-boomkat

Stian Westerhus - Live session for BBC:

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