All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

4

: Ockeghem Octets

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Between "dedekind duos" (2003) and "ihwe tunings for twenty" (2005), Wandelweiser co-founder Antoine Beuger wrote a series of pieces for groupings of all sizes from two members up to twenty, the scores being published by Wandelweiser. In each piece, the musicians softly play long, sustained notes designated in the score, with the ebbing and flowing tones creating pleasing soundscapes that slowly evolve. Each of the series was dedicated to one of Beuger's heroes, with the name of any series being selected largely for reasons of alliteration, as in "Ockeghem Octets." Another Timbre releases have already featured two other series, the double-disc set of Cantor Quartets (2013) and tschirtner tunings for twelve (The Berlin series no. 5) (2014) by Konzert Minimal. So, numerically, Ockeghem Octets fits in nicely alongside those two.

Recorded in Sheffield in February 2017, this disc features versions of twenty-five of the fifty pages of the Ockeghem Octets score, performed by an octet that includes melodica, concertina, harmonium, e-bow zither, cello, flute, accordion and alto flute. That instrumentation was well chosen as all eight instruments can easily produce sustained notes and their sounds blend together beautifully. Each page of the twenty-five features two lines of four tones which are all played long and softly; four of the musicians play one line of tones, each in their own time, and the other four musicians play the other line. Together, the twenty-five pieces run for about sixty-eight minutes, an average of about two-and-a-half-minutes per piece.

So, there is plenty of variety here because the music changes frequently, but that does not lead to incoherence as the pieces have an overarching unity that binds them all together. Like the albums of Cantor quartets and Tschirtner tunings for twelve, this music belies the oft-repeated stereotype of Wandelweiser music being sparse and punctuated by silences. In the hands of the eight musicians, Beuger's eight notes per piece are transformed into a satisfying series of rich soundscapes replete with drama and emotion. Given that each piece specifies no more than the notes and the playing methodology, it feels as if the octet has performed alchemy. Of course, Beuger deserves due credit for designating series of eight notes that combine so well together. It is remarkable to reflect that, in other hands, the same eight notes could have produced results that were very different but just as impressive...

Antoine Beuger has spoken of the effect on the music of moving from a duo to a trio to a quartet etc. That effect is plain to hear when comparing the quartet, octet and twelve-piece group on the available Another Timbre discs. Of course, there is plenty of scope to fine tune such comparisons by releasing recordings of the missing numbers, quintet, sextet, septet, nonet.... (you get the idea.) On the evidence so far, we must hope they will follow.



Track Listing: 1 – 25 Ockeghem Octets

Personnel: Ryoko Akama: melodica; Seamus Cater: concertina; Kate Halsall: harmonium; Sarah Hughes: e-bow zither; Ecka Mordecai: cello; Harriet [email protected] flute; Leo Svirsky: accordion; Kathryn Williams: alto flute.

Title: Ockeghem Octets | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Another Timbre

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read SuperClusters CD/LP/Track Review
SuperClusters
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 21, 2018
Read Your Queen Is A Reptile CD/LP/Track Review
Your Queen Is A Reptile
by Chris May
Published: February 21, 2018
Read Melodious Drum CD/LP/Track Review
Melodious Drum
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 21, 2018
Read The Speed of Dark CD/LP/Track Review
The Speed of Dark
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 21, 2018
Read Love & Peace CD/LP/Track Review
Love & Peace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2018
Read La Saboteuse CD/LP/Track Review
La Saboteuse
by Chris May
Published: February 20, 2018
Read "Notes Over Poetry" CD/LP/Track Review Notes Over Poetry
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 11, 2017
Read "The Roc" CD/LP/Track Review The Roc
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 6, 2017
Read "Seven Secrets" CD/LP/Track Review Seven Secrets
by John Kelman
Published: May 26, 2017
Read "Rags And Roots" CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "City Of Light" CD/LP/Track Review City Of Light
by John Sharpe
Published: December 22, 2017
Read "Another Time: The Hilversum Concert" CD/LP/Track Review Another Time: The Hilversum Concert
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 3, 2017