Friday, January 21, 2011

Listening [with] All Ears

All Ears Festival
Fabrikken, Vulkan, Maridalsveien 13
Henie Onstad Kunstsenter
January 13-16, 2011

Lasse Marhaug is the director of  All Ears Festival, devoted to both electronic and acoustic improvisation, and all their melting possibilities. A texture of coworkers, well known movers and new efforts to make the point on the state of sound: Kevin Drumm, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Peter Brotzmann, Zeena Parkins, Maja Ratkje and many others, beyond difference of ages, heritages, personalities. But the flyer has Joe McPhee on top, and his two sets are remarkables as the musician. But, a little order.

(Writing and photos: Gian Paolo Galasi - Get more on My Flickr!)

January 13

Terje Isungset plays tenor and african horns, Karl Seglem (see photo) is on drums and self built percussions. Displaying wide, blue shades of free roots carried into fire abstractions and melancholy; duo Isglem wouldn’t give the first night a better introduction.

Their set is followed by Mat Maneri, playing his amplified viola with Hanna Gjermundrod and Andrea Neumann. The trio is devoted to melancholic, wrapped up and introverted minimal textures of analogic sounds, female voices and real time processing.

It’s Fred Lonberg-Holm (see below) time; his personality is very close with Zeena Parkins, following him with Maja SK Ratkje but in the afternoon playing solo  harp at NiMusikk, another local avant-garde Festival that housed also Choi Yoongjong trio: both plays electrified instruments, both are well conscious of the many languages that can be trained on their musical visions, even if their attitude is different.

Lonberg-Holm rendition as a soloist is raw, rough, raucous, nervous, the one you expect from a well accomplished partner-in-crime with the Brotzmann and Gustaffson aesthetics. Whereas Parkins afterlunch party was melancholically suspended between acoustic and electric layers, training hystorical avant-garde tricks and tips (acoustic drones, minimalistic structure, aleatoric gestures) into present. She played her second self-built harp and scratching glasses and at night, with Maja Ratkje plays urban, cathartic blues, rapid and firm; black mood, vocal rage, focused gestures.

January 14

Friday opens again with Maneri (photo on the left) and drummer Randy Peterson, giving us 28 minutes made of a dynamic, stormy, impressionistic impulse to reach the peak, then downwarding from stormy grooving into a silenced openness and then back again on top of the waves, doling out instinct and structure.

Christian Weber and Joke Lanz don’t spoil in comparison: acoustic bass and turntablism are equally involved in conversing, with no flattening on layering as many avant-indie coolsters; Lanz actually ferry hip hop heritage, even turned into white EU paranoia, directly into impro grammar, and successfully.

Ames Room are Jean Luc Guionnet (saxello), Clayton Thomas (bass), Will Guthrie (drums), playing a sort of electro-acustic-core that, even if to be more focused, it's an idea on how to take a bridge back to a basic, less abstract and more confrontational attitude.

Kevin Drumm, finally, breeds with his table top, distorted guitar a massive, immersive an dense soundscape.

January 15

Saturday night starts with digital glitches and voice. Harald Fetveit and Agnes Rvizdalek, a misty, blue mood rapidly followed by Nils Are Dronen, (photo on the left) Kjetil Moster, Fred Lonberg-Holm and Joke Lanz. Electrified sax, furious drums, wild turntablism and bass mastery. 

In the middle of this third night of music, Ryu Ankil, Choi Joongyong and Hong Chulki give a longer, stretched rendition of what they did the previous afternoon at NyMusikk: ticketing tocketing cd players, typewriter, turntables slashed by medicine blisters and metal plates. A very personal point on analog glitch music, industrial blazors and concrete sound, but the resemblances between the two sets makes me want them see play again other ideas in order to have a broader, wider knowledge on those Koreans experimental musicians. 

Lionel Marchetti and Jerome Noetinger are the finest industrial performers. They play right in the middle of Fabrikken, not on stage, as a matter of attitude. No protection, both for the musicians and the public, and so is their music. Take it or leave it, but no compromise.

Their set is followed by Joe McPee’s (photo) telepathic trio, with Randy Peterson and Oyvind Storesund on bass. McPhee unique style is made of circular breathing, diplophonies, scratches of silence turning into flurrying of sound and vice versa; stretching, repeated, varied splinters of melodies turned upside down. The blues and the abstract truth.

January 16

Joe plays also on Sunday in the afternoon, at Heine Onstad Kunstsenter, echoing also piano resonances with trumpet.

All Ears last resort is Peter Brotzmann and Masahiko Satoh, avant garde masters in their own full rights. First part of the concert is for tarogato and bass clarinet with piano. Far from fluxus-inspired assaults and japanimpro blasts (have you ever seen Koji Wakamatsu The Extasy Of The Angels? Music on the last scenes is from Yosuke Yamashita Trio, and Satoh was part of them). In fact, this is a micro-history lesson on how to play contemporary music: cluster piano notes, atonality, but also some abstract ragtime answering to Brotzmann rage and full control of dynamics and sound. But when german impro chairman takes tenor on, what we hear is pure magic: a wild, raucous, powerful and bitter blues that let the audience moved from the very bottom of their hearts. Something that at first sight could recall regret, but that actually is more related to living being devoted to creating and sharing beauty, and the efforts concerned in it. In fact, it’s the sense of being there, as Don Cherry, who was and old Brotzmann pal, pointed out with his Complete Communion: give you way, play truly yourself, and the unheard will happen. What we all, here, were looking for.

Next year Lasse Marhaug and AllEars will be probably focused on japan contemporary improvisation, so stay tuned with them and never miss the appointment in January 2012.

Joe McPhee at HOK, Jan 16, 2011

Peter Brotzmann and Masahiko Satoh at HOK, Jan 16, 2011

Platousgate 18
January 10-14, 2011

(Photos: Gian Paolo Galasi on Flickr!)

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