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Anliker-Parker-Schmid-Senn-Solothurnmann: September Winds

John Eyles By

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In 1999, a series of concerts took place in an abandoned underground drinking water cistern near Zurich, build in 1922. Performances from that series were released on Vollmond on Creative Works Records. A second series of concerts was planned for September 2000, but fire regulations stopped them taking place. Instead, a series of recording sessions took place in the cistern, over three days. This record and its companion piece September Duos are the result. [ Winds has trombone plus four reeds; Duos just has Schmid on clarinets and Parker on saxophones.] Fans of Pauline Oliveros and the Deep Listening Band will probably notice the influence of her recordings in the Cistern Chapel in Washington State, a similarly cavernous space. In both cases, it is the space itself, its acoustics and its dynamics, that are the stars of the show. The players explore and play the space as much as they play their instruments, reacting to the echoes and asymmetric resonances that act as natural delay and reverb. The main consequence is that all the music evolves slowly; notes are held and allowed to fade away slowly, as any rapid flurry of sounds would rapidly degenerate into a cacophony as source and echoes clashed. Similarly, the players give each other far more time and space than might be expected in a room with a normal acoustic. The end result is music that has an eerie feel more akin to electronic composition than to jazz or improv. Its slowly evolving contours probably make it ideal "chill out" music. As these sounds gently evolve, is hard to do anything but relax and go with the flow.

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