Once more Wo. opens his ears and describes what happens to him, his brain, his fantasy and what not while listening.
This month's start is a bit strange. A while back I tipped .No on the band Moon Moon Moon, that featured last month for the first time on Kairos. When I was not able to go to the cd presentation, .No went there instead and heard the support act, This Leo Sunrise. And let that band open Kairos this month?! Somehow I feel beaten to it, but the better for the band, isn't it? But, being the editor in chief of these pages, I managed to post my review of the band's latest mini album before this review.
As followers of the Kairos posts have noticed often I find a theme in listening to the music for an hour. This time .No presents it himself: "dying, death and survival". The heavier kind of theme, so I brace myself for what is about to come.
As I already wrote this episode starts with Utrecht based band This Leo Sunrise. 'The Gardener Path' from its album 'Spoken'. A sole violin opens the song to be exchanged for an acoustic guitar. A subdued form of British folk from circa 1970 enfolds itself for me. Like I heard from Fairport Convention decades ago. The difference with the band's latest mini album, 'Do Not Always See' is so clear, the comparisons also. 'The Gardener Path' is so solemn, so serious. There's absolutely no light shining on this path at all. Beautiful, yet desolate.
Jherek Bischoff returns to Kairos with a track from his album 'Cistern'. Long drawn violins notes meander over a rather busy motif, repeating itself the whole time. O.k., everything is relative where "busy" is concerned. Electronic church bells is the impression I get, the sound muffled as if heard underground, in a cistern, yes. The music is relaxing while the "bells" keep me on alert. Something could happen.
House of Cosy Cushions returns as well. Reminding me of the songs of No Ninja Am I's latest album. The mood is dark and subdued. an acoustic guitar, voices and a softly played drum. Recorded as if everything was put under mattresses. 'Bleed The Need' knows no joy, as if there's nothing to enjoy in life. This does not change with the second song, 'Kerkje Te Oostum'. I am wondering whether this is a Broeder Dieleman song that I'm not familiar with. The almost unpleasantly sounding violin and cello. I am about to go on some sort of an adventure, as this song is well over 8 minutes long. Electronics take over and a held note on an organ. I see the impression of a chugging train in my mind, a steam one and then a real train, electric, passes in the distance. The bowed instruments return after a while, but the whole remains experimental. No song is emerging from the small note changes that are repeated often at certain intervals. I'm struggling, this mood does not get to me.
I'm glad that melodies are mixed into the chugging sound. First a piano, then an acoustic guitar. Not that the mood is a happy one. 'Deathbed' is another song from Moon Moon Moon's latest album 'Help! Help!'. Although the song is influenced by Sparklehorse, Moon Moon Moon truly makes something new with this song. No matter how deathlike the mood is, life sparkles though the song in the form of the piano notes that seem to be totally out of place while being totally in the right place at the same time. Life continues in the darkest of moments, something we learn the hard way in life.
Kim Janssen returns to Kairos as well with a song from his latest album 'Cousins'. An album that I truly struggled with when reviewing it. It just didn't reach me emotionally. Somehow 'Cousins' and I remained two separate entities. So I am somewhat surprised that 'Bottle Rockets' touches me instantly when it is mixed with 'Deathbed'. I seemed totally ready for this dark song, which did not happen when part of the album.
Next up is real church music. Strangely enough some of the songs that preceded this composition certainly could e played in church or a funeral remembrance service. 'The Candlelight Vigil' is the real thing. Dark, moody sounds come out of a church organ, mixed with something more modern or totally underused sounds in the organ. Music to contemplate sins by. That is what I end my musings with. Music to be alone with with your own thoughts. In other words, the ideal Kairos music.
Douglas Dare somehow totally disrupts everything. 'Nile' may be a quiet song, the percussion brings me out of a state of mind that my brain had gone into within a few minutes of Johan Johanson. It gets even worse when the near dissonant keyboard chords join the rest of 'Nile'. It is not the same in sound as the nails on the blackboard, the effect is. I am 100% certain that this effect is reached only after this combination of compositions and this unique impact. For the rest there's not much wrong with 'Nile'. In fact it is quite okay the way it plays out.
House of Cosy Cushions once again. Just two chords on an organ and a voice. That's all 'The Mad Sisters' offer, before the song blossoms like a rose on a grave. Nobody notices it really so the flower closes its petals and locks up into herself again. I have to be in the right mood to enjoy this and right now I'm not. Too early in the day of Johanson again? Who knows?
'Heavy In A Wildflower' by Ólafur Björn Ólafsson is up next. Again solemn instruments. A mood that has nothing to do with joy whatsoever. This changes somewhat when an exotic string instrument joins the rest. The tempo changes, the mood is, albeit only slightly, lifted. I like what is happening here. Ólafsson plays with my mind and takes me out of my resigned mood and back into the program. I am challenged because of the changes in the composition, which is just what I needed right now.
Pauline Oliveros is a regular feature on Kairos also over the past months. 'A Love song' takes me through the most solemn part of love. There's no lust involved here in any way. This is the kind of love that is in poetry, the love from a long distance, a love that may never be answered in which the poet revels himself inwardly and wallows in to come up with his best work. A love that is better not reciprocated as it may mean the end of his inspiration. Again there's no joy to be found here. The end of love song?
Next up is an elegy in memoriam of Rupert Brooke. Brooke was a poet killed at Gallipolli in 1915, somewhat less heroically, by an infected mosquito bite. Frederick Septimus Kelly composed the elegy in his tent at Gallipoli where he was wounded twice. He died in action in 1916 during the battle of the Somme. They were both members of 'the Latin Club' of who several members rose to high positions later in life.
This is quite a story. The music is nothing but beautiful. The mourning is so clear in everything played here. Kelly gives it his all to show the world how bereft he feels and to honour the life of Brooke. Brooke had made a name for himself as a poet on the soldier's life, including some firm nationalism. (Thank you Wikipedia.)
This month ends with a fragment of Andreas Holte's 'Full Moon Dance'. Doo wop singing without doo wop being involved. Voices repeating sounds over a soft electronic bedding. Music that takes patience to listen to. It's so slow that it is unclear whether another line will follow or that the program is already over. Birds' sounds in the background. Is it part of the program or outside of my house?
You can listen to this Kairos here:
This is May's playlist:
00:11 This Leo Sunrise. The gardener path. Album ‘Spoken’. Tiny Room Records TR008.
05:01 Jherek Bischoff. Cas(s)iopeia. Album ‘Cistern’. LEAF.
08:20 Richard Bolhuis/House of cosy cushions. Bleed the need. Album ‘Haunt Me Sweetly’. Outcast Cats CAT 0C01.
11:59 Richard Bolhuis/House of Cosy Cushions. Kerkje te Oostum. Album ‘Spell’. Outcast Cats CAT 0C002CD.
20:10 Mark Lohmann/Moon Moon Moon. Deathbed. Album Help! Help! Tiny Room Records TR015.
23:30 Kim Janssen. Bottle Rockets. Album ‘Cousins’. Snowstar Records.
26:09 Johan Johansson - The Candlelight Vigil. Album ‘Prisoners’. Water Tower, NTOV.
31:06 Douglas Dare. Nile. Album ‘Whelm’. Erased Tapes Records ERATP 057CD.
35:34 Richard Bolhuis/House of Cosy Cushions. The Mad Sisters. Album ‘Spell’. Outcast Cats CAT 0C002CD.
39:35 Ólafur Björn Ólafsson/Ulfur. Heaven in a wildflower. Album ‘White Mountain’. Western Vinyl.
45:34 Pauline Oliveros. A love song. Album ‘The Well And The Gentle’. hat ART 2020.
50:09 Frederick Septimus Kelly - Elegy for strings in Memoriam Rupert Brooke - St. George Quintet (Liesbeth Baelus – violin; Kaja Nowak – violin; Marie-Louise De Jong – viola; Wouter Vercruysse – violoncello; Bram Decroix - double bass). Album ‘British Legends’. Pavane ADW 7584.
57:52 Anders Holte. Full Moon Dance (fragment). Album ‘Lemurian Home Coming’. www.anders-holte.com.