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Various Artists: Various Artists: Wandelweiser Und So Weiter


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Various Artists: Various Artists: Wandelweiser Und So Weiter
Various Artists

Wanderweiser Und So Weiter

Another Timbre


This ambitious six-disc boxed set will surely come to be seen as a landmark release from Another Timbre. Whereas the label has previously issued four or five separate CDs at a time, linked by some overarching theme—for instance, "Duos with brass" or "The guitar series"—this time around, it has put together six connected discs as a set. The connection is contained in the title of the set: Wandelweiser Und So Weiter translates as "Wandelweiser and so on"—the Wandelweiser Group being a well-known international group of composers and performers with its own record label and publishing arm.

The group's music is characterized by "the evaluation and integration of silence" (as key member Radu Malfatti has described it), frequently being very quiet or containing periods of silence (a description that applies to all of the music here). Since the group was created in 1992, its music has been highly influential, not only on genres such as lowercase and electro-acoustic improvisation (eai) but also on the ways that many people now listen to music, accepting that everyday ambient sounds blend into it.

While the box set contains realizations of pieces by several key members of the Wandelweiser Group—including Dutch co-founder and flautist Antoine Beuger, Swiss clarinetist Jürg Frey, Austrian trombonist Malfatti, American guitarist Michael Pisaro, and Swiss pianist Manfred Werder—the most important part of the box's title is that "and so on." It signals that the music in the set goes beyond Wandelweiser, including pieces by John Cage— who was very influential on the group—and by other composers influenced by the group.

The music covers a period of two-thirds of a century, stretching from Cage's brief 1944 prepared piano piece "Prelude for Meditation" right up to compositions such as Frey's "Circular Music No. 2" (2012)—YouTube extract, below—and Anett Németh's hauntingly beautiful "Eine Unbedeutende Aussage" (2012). Along the way, it takes in John White's ingenious "Drinking and Hooting Machine" (1971) in which players blow across the necks of water-filled bottles to generate tones, between blows taking drinks of the water so as to alter the tone produced.

Nine tracks are pieces by Sam Sfirri from South Carolina whose scores are published by Editions Wandelweiser; the tracks are of four compositions from Sfirri's series Beckett Pieces, with more than one realization of three of them. Intriguingly, the different realizations of the same piece by different instrumentalists can be virtually impossible to recognize as being the same piece; so, for instance, the three separate realizations of Sfirri's "Little by little" by three different line-ups are distinct enough that they could be different compositions—a comment also true of different realizations of Cage's "Four6" and some other number pieces.

In their way, the titles of the six individual discs which make up the set reflect its diversity, all of them employing water metaphors—Confluences, Crosscurrents, Drifts, Eddies, Undertows and Upwellings. The programming of the music is not chronological or thematic (in fact, maybe it is pragmatic, in order to fit as much music as possible onto each disc), so every disc contains a cross-section of the music. The discs could easily have been released separately and simultaneously, as each of them stands alone in its own right without reference to the others. However, there is a clear logic to releasing them all together in one package, as the whole ends up being greater than the sum of the parts and creates a consistent picture of Wandelweiser music, its roots and branches.

Close to sixty musicians contribute to the performances on the set, with the largest grouping being the fifteen-strong Edges Ensemble, directed by pianist Philip Thomas. A select few of the performers are also composers of pieces, notably Sfirri, Malfatti, Frey, Jason Brogan, violinist Angharad Davies, electronicist Phil Durrant, bassist Dominic Lash, Annett Németh and James Saunders. Despite the presence of many players of the caliber of Malfatti, Frey, Durrant, Lash, Davies and her brother Rhodri, there is very little individual instrumental virtuosity on display here.

Across the albums' thirty-seven tracks, the emphasis is on instruments being deployed to generate sounds appropriate to the compositions and fitting together to create soundscapes that slowly and gently evolve, often with intermittent silences of various durations. This is just as true on "#08.01.12," the set's only piece which is identified as an improvisation, featuring Neil Davidson on guitar and objects, Rhodri Davies on electric harp, Jane Dickson on piano, Patrick Farmer on amplified objects and open CD players, and Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga on zither; although improvising, the five are true to the spirit of the Wandelweiser ethos, keeping their contributions subdued and leaving plenty of space. Tellingly, when the CD is played straight through, the transitions from Stefan Thut's composition "Many, 1-4" into that improvisation and then onward into Sfirri's composition "For the choice of directions" are barely noticeable, so seamless are the joins and so consistent the moods and sounds of the pieces. Similarly, that 1944 Cage piece has been well chosen and it too fits in seamlessly, with the transition to Sfirri's "Little by little" barely causing a raised eyebrow.

Running for nine minutes short of eight hours (none of the discs runs for under 77 minutes), this set is so crammed full of excellent, engaging music that it would be churlish to pick highlights. Instead, it perfectly lends itself to total immersion in the music of Wandelweiser, an experience that is by turns beautiful, exhilarating, relaxing and trance-inducing. Exquisitely packaged, and documented in an accompanying 24-page booklet, this is undoubtedly one of the releases of the year. Music to enjoy and savor for decades to come.

Tracks: Confluences: Sam Sfirri "Natural At Last" (2010) realisation #1; Antoine Beuger "Lieux de Passage" (2008); Manfred Werder "2011 (4)"; Sam Sfirri "Natural At Last" (2010) realisation #2; James Saunders "Various Distinct Spatial or Temporal Locations" (2011); Radu Malfatti "Heikou" (2010); Crosscurrents: Sam Sfirri "The Undulating Land" (2010); John Cage "Three2" (1991); Pierre Borel / Johnny Chang / Derek Shirley "Etchings" (2012); Phil Durrant "Sowari for Ensemble" (1997); Michael Pisaro "Fields Have Ears" (2010); Drifts: Antoine Beuger "'t' aus 'etwas (lied)'" (1995); Stefan Thut "Vier, 1-12" (2010); Jason Brogan "Ensemble" (2010); James Saunders "With the Same Material or Still, To Vary the Material" (2011); Manfred Werder "2 Ausfuhrende (seiten 357-360)" (1999- ); Eddies: Stefan Thut "Many, 1-4" (2009); Improvisation, "#08.01.12"; Sam Sfirri, "For the Choice of Directions" (2010) realisation #1; Taylan Susam "For Maaike Schoorel" (2009); Dominic Lash "For Five" (2010); Jürg Frey "Time Instant Memory" (2012); Sam Sfirri "For the Choice of Directions" (2010) realisation #2; Undertows: Jürg Frey "Circular Music No. 2" (2012); Manfred Werder "2008 (6)"; Jürg Frey "Un Champ de Tendresse Parsemé d'Adieux (4)" (2011); Taylan Susam "For Sesshu Loyo" (2010); Michael Pisaro "Descending Series (1)" (2009); Upwellings: John Cage "Prelude for Meditation" (1944); Sam Sfirri "Little by Little" (2010) realisation #1; Angharad Davies "Cofnod Pen Bore / Morning Records" (2011); Sam Sfirri "Natural At Last" (2010) realisation #3; Sam Sfirri "Little by Little" (2010) realisation #2; John White "Drinking and Hooting Machine" ( 1971); Sam Sfirri "Little by Little" (2010) realisation #3; Anett Németh "Eine Unbedeutende Aussage" (2012); Eva-Marie Houben "Von Da Nacht Da" (2005).

Personnel: Confluences: Neil Davidson: guitar & objects (1); Rhodri Davies: harp (1); Jane Dickson : piano (1); Patrick Farmer: amplified objects / open CD players (1); Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga: zither (1); Jürg Frey: clarinet (2, 4, 6); Angharad Davies: violin (2, 4, 6); Phil Durrant: electronics (2, 4, 6); Anton Lukoszevieze: cello (2, 4, 6); Radu Malfatti: trombone (2, 4, 6); Lee Patterson: amplified objects (2, 4, 6); Philip Thomas: piano (2, 4, 6); Anett Németh: recording, instruments, objects (3); Simon Reynell: coffee carton (5); Joseph Kudirka: bass (6); Crosscurrents: NMC Chamber Ensemble: Jason Brogan: electric guitar (1); Bill Carson: acoustic guitar (1); Jared Sinclair: flute (1); Kim Larson: clarinet (1); Ron Wiltrout: percussion (1); Sam Sfirri: melodica (1); Simon Allen: percussion (2); Chris Burn: percussion (2); Lee Patterson: percussion (2); Pierre Borel: alto saxophone (3); Johnny Chang: viola (3); Derek Shirley: double bass (3); Phil Durrant: electronics (4); Lee Patterson: amplified objects and processes (4); Philip Thomas: piano (4); Set Ensemble: Angharad Davies: violin (5); Patrick Farmer: electronics (5); Sarah Hughes: piano (5); Daniel Jones: electronics (5); Dominic Lash: double bass (5); Drifts: Parkinson Saunders (Tim Parkinson & James Saunders): voices (1), organ pipes (5); Angharad Davies: violin (2); Julia Edwards: viola (2); Dominic Lash: double bass (2); Stefan Thut: cello (2); Crys Cole: electronics (3); Jamie Drouin: electronics (3); Lance Austin Olsen: electronics (3); Mathieu Ruhlmann: electronics (3); Neil Davidson: bowed objects (4); Rhodri Davies: bowed objects (4); Jane Dickson: bowed objects (4); Patrick Farmer: bowed objects (4); Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga: bowed objects (4); Eddies: Set Ensemble: Angharad Davies: violin (1, 5, 6); Bruno Guastalla: cello (1), bandoneon (5); Sarah Hughes: zither (1, 6); Daniel Jones: electronics (1); Dominic Lash: double bass (1, 6), tabletop acoustic guitar (5); Tim Parkinson: piano (1), melodica (5); David Stent: guitar (1, 5); Paul Whitty: harmonium (1); Neil Davidson: guitar & objects (2, 7); Rhodri Davies: electric harp (2,) harp (7); Jane Dickson : piano (2, 7); Patrick Farmer: amplified objects / open CD players (2), pitch pipe (7); Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga: zither (2, 7); Brogan Sfirri (Jason Brogan: shortwave radio, Sam Sfirri: melodica) (3); Edges Ensemble (Director: Philip Thomas; Ryoko Akama, John Aulich, Christine Avis, Danielle Green, Stephen Harvey, Joseph Kudirka, Asher Leverton, Bob Lockwood, Liz Nicholas, Michael Osborne, Evdoxia Ragkou, Chris Ruffoni, Mariko Satomi, James Wood) (4); Jürg Frey: clarinet (6); Kostis Kilymis: electronics (6); Radu Malfatti: trombone (6); Undertows: Jürg Frey: clarinet (1); Angharad Davies: violin (1, 4); Phil Durrant: electronics (1, 4); Anton Lukoszevieze: cello (1, 4); Radu Malfatti: trombone (1); Lee Patterson: amplified objects (1, 4); Philip Thomas: piano (1, 4), piano & sine waves (5); Anett Németh: recording, instruments, objects (2); Edges Ensemble (Director: Philip Thomas; Ryoko Akama, Pat Allison, John Aulich, Christine Avis, Danielle Green, Stephen Harvey, Ben Isaacs, Asher Leverton, Bob Lockwood, Liz Nicholas, Michael Osborne, Chris Ruffoni, Mariko Satomi, James Wood) (3); Joseph Kudirka: double bass (4); Upwellings: Philip Thomas: prepared piano (1), piano (7); Stephen Cornford: electronics (2); Robert Curgenven: electronics (2); Ferran Fages: electronics (2); Patrick Farmer: electronics (2), amplified objects / open CD players (3, 4); Alfredo Costa Monteiro: electronics (2); Lee Patterson: electronics (2),amplified objects (7), amplified objects and processes (9); Neil Davidson: guitar and objects (3, 4); Rhodri Davies: harp (3, 4); Jane Dickson: piano (3, 4); Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga: zither (3, 4); Set Ensemble ( Angharad Davies: violin (5, 7, 9); Bruno Guastalla: cello (5,); Sarah Hughes: cello (5), objects (8); Daniel Jones: electronics (5); Dominic Lash: double bass (5), piano (8); Tim Parkinson: piano (5); David Stent: guitar (5), objects (8); ); Edges Ensemble (Director: Philip Thomas; Pat Allison, Danielle Green, Stephen Harvey, Joseph Kudirka, Ben Isaacs, Bob Lockwood, Simon Miller, Liz Nicholas, Chris Ruffoni, Adam Staff) (6); Phil Durrant: electronics (7, 9); Jürg Frey: clarinet (7); Anton Lukoszevieze: cello (7); Radu Malfatti: trombone (7); Simon Reynell: objects (8).

Track Listing


Album information

Title: Various Artists: Wandelweiser Und So Weiter | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Another Timbre

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