A Little Electronic Milky Way of Sound, Disk Six: Aseral by Roland Kayn.
I was reading an article (Monumental late piece by composer Roland Kayn set for debut release) in The Wire Magazine, which talked to Kayne’s daughter Ilse about his work. ‘“He would always explain it with throwing stones in the water,” she says. “You get those circles… it’s about the crossings.”’ Another water metaphor, and an apt one.
Discrete events creating intersecting systems which go on to transform one another as they decay.
A Little Electronic Milky Way of Sound, Disk Five: Rosonic; Ilay by Roland Kayn.
Rosonic starts with cacophony, as if you are tied to the mast of a ship during a raging storm, and quickly quiets to near silence, punctuated occasionally by tonal and non-tonal events. I would liken it to swimming across a lake in a storm. Popping your head above water to take a breath, check if it is still storming, and then, submersing back under to the peace and relative quiet of the underwater world.
A Little Electronic Milky Way of Sound, Disk Four: Ykties; Naaps by Roland Kayn.
Ykties might be my favorite track, so far. Sputtering static and buzzing saws punctuated by moments of real beauty. What sound like underwater choirs and submarine pianos. Though, of course, that is just my schizoid human brain, attaching meaning to abstract electronic sound.
A Little Electronic Milky Way of Sound, Disk Three: Somitoh by Roland Kayn.
Maybe it’s that I listened to this on the bus, but Somitoh seems to have a little more of a menacing feel than the previous two disks. Moments of quiet punctuated by noises which sometimes sound like squealing pigs or deflating tires.
A Little Electronic Milky Way of Sound, Disk Two: Xattax by Roland Kayn.
Xattax is quieter than Czerial. It is composed of intersecting static fields of glowing sound, interrupted at seemingly irregular intervals by loud bursts of whooshing, sputtering static. It reminds me of a quiet night in Chicago, looking up at the stars, then suddenly having an Elevated train rush by.
A Little Electronic Milky Way of Sound, Disk One: Czerial by Roland Kayn. “A Little Electronic Milky Way of Sound” is the Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz of Electronic music. A 14 hour long, 22 track, epic musical journey originally assembled in 2009, it is nearly as diverse as a Galaxy.
Without regular pulse, traditional harmonic content, or recognizable analog sound sources, finding your way in to this monumental work is perhaps the biggest challenge.
Like many 20th Century composers, it seems like Kayn was trying to find something new, and even almost 10 years later, it still sounds alien.
How much you enjoy this may depend on your tolerance for repetition. And, well, your “elevation”. It is, as they say, VERY relaxed.
The first couple songs are Tangerine Dream-esque keyboard and sequencer workouts, circa, say Rubicon or Phaedra. Personally, I think Tangerine Dream stopped being interesting after Atem and Alpha Centauri. So, kind of meh, for me. Then we get a flute led jam, a bells and tape delay workout, and a bit of jazz-eque improv.
Pleasant enough, all around, especially if you are doing something else, like gardening or cleaning the house. Probably good music to code to.
Just not sure it is interesting enough to stand up to close inspection.
A Musical Improvisation Company by Derek Bailey, Hugh Davies, Christine Jeffrey, Jamie Muir, and Evan Parker.
Recently, the ECM label made much of its catalog of recordings available to stream from most of the major streaming services. ECM has a ridiculously diverse and rich catalog of music from Mal Waldron’s “Free At Last”, released in 1969, onwards, with everything from folk to jazz to new composed music represented.
One of the earliest artifacts of the UK “Free Improvisation” scene, “A Musical Improvisation Company”, was released on ECM in 1970.
As you can perhaps tell, I am interested in the intersections of Composition and Coincidence. Music and Noise. Nature and Art. Silence and Sound.
While the New York Free Music scene worked out its transcendental Fire Music, the English improvised music scenes, along with groups related to the AACM in the US, developed something more like instantly composed modern classical music. That is, they incorporated more textural and non-tonal elements in their playing, instead of just energy.
This record is a great exploration of those ideas, and, some 47 years later, still thought provoking.