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Jan Bang: ….and poppies from Kandahar

Nenad Georgievski By

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Imagination knows no boundaries and, as Einstein has said, more important than knowledge is the imagination that embraces the whole world and all there will be to know and understand. Clearly, a man whose imagination knows no boundaries and embraces opportunities, live sampler Jan Bang's debut is an album of pioneering intensity and diverse expression.

A notable producer and collaborator, Bang's ....and poppies from Kandahar is his sprawling introduction to the world at large. The title—as well as the names for each of the album's 11 pieces—was suggested by SamadhiSound label owner David Sylvian, and is not a reference to outlaw pleasures, though it does sound like an imaginary road movie presented solely through sound. Years ago, Derek Jarman's 1993 film, Blue, engaged its viewers in a radically different way, by placing the stories behind the blue screen, forcing people to imagine the scenes they heard behind the screen. In a similar manner, ....and poppies from Kandahar engages with its cinematic features, encouraging the imagination to suggest the scenery presented by the music.

Listening to ...and poppies is much like wandering through someone else's subconscious, mood and evocation; moving from place to place, road to road, situation to situation. Bang's approach to his main instruments—the sampler and the studio—as well as the music itself is almost un-categorically and uncompromisingly unique.

The journey starts with "The Drug Mule," a drifting pilgrimage through dusty and rocky roads of imagination built on underlying architecture of found sounds, synths and samples. Throughout the tracks, with his collage approach, Bang turns the most plainspoken of sounds into mysteries. The music is thoughtfully, evocatively and spontaneously sculpted, wildly improvised and seamlessly layered. ...and poppies is a multi-layered sonic ecosystem and, up until the last track, "Exile from Paradise," the ways in which Bang combines warmth with randomness—in addition to the minimalistic melodies—give the music much of its ghostly aura and delicate feel. He moves his informed and excited mastery into different spheres, as he draws a lot from silence as an important backdrop for the palette of sounds being heard.

....and poppies from Kandahar shows that Bang is a master of a colorful kind of electronic minimalism. It is a sonic meditation, where unpredictability and sound have been subverted and enriched, making the whole musical picture far outstrip the sum of its parts.

Track Listing: The Drug Mule; Self Injury; The Midwife's Dilemma; Passport Control; Who Grooms The Child?; Heidigger's Silence; Abdication And Coronation; Suicide Bomber; Taking Life; Ululations; Exile From Paradise.

Personnel: Jan Bang: live sampling, samples, MPC, programming, Dictaphone, percussion, synthesizer, field recording, claps; Lars Danielsson: double-bass (2); Sidsel Endresen: vocal (3); Peter Freeman: bass and electronics (11); Jon Hassell: trumpet (11); Arve Henriksen: trumpet (9); Peter Freeman: bass and electronics (11); Jon Hassell: trumpet (11); Arve Henriksen: trumpet (9); Erik Honoré: synthesizer, field recording and programming (7, 11); Nils Petter Molvær: trumpet (7); David Sylvian: titles; Eivind Aarset; guitars (4, 5). Samples: Lykke B. Bang: voice and bottles (2); Sidsel Endresen: voice (11); Jon Hassell: trumpet (4, 10); Arve Henriksen: trumpet (2, 4), soft synth (4, 10), voice (2); Kammerflimmer Kollektief: loops (4); Jon S. Lunde: exhaust fan (1, 5); Muta: percussion (1); Pål "Strangefruit" Nyhus: turntables (6); Rolf-Erik Nystrom: saxophone (5); Vytas Sondeckis: conducting the Liepaja Symphony Orchestra (6); Agi Szalóki: voice (4, 10); Peter Tornquist: orchestra (1, 2); Eivind Aarset: guitar (3, 6).

Title: ….and poppies from Kandahar | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: SamadhiSound

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