on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2022 21 Feb

„In a very silent way“

von: Michael Engelbrecht Filed under: Blog | TB | 4 Comments


Just all the right (and leftfield) notes in a very silent way. Deep listening is rewarded in regards to some new and forthcoming albums that reach from soft drone to neo classical, from radical chamber jazz to wind-swept, sun-parched guitars. No time for easy listening even if listening seems easy (and who says so). Moving along the point of vanishing seems to be the ethos on Mark Nelson’s Pan American opus (Martina‘s secret favourite) – „12 songs are given just enough space to develop a clutch of themes, mostly on guitar, which are then wrapped in textural detail via effects and subtle electronics“. Or the lovely music from Korean drone queen Park Jiha: slow music gradually moving from morning reveille “At Dawn”, with the especially lovely “Nightfall Dancer” soothing at the day’s end. Roger Eno is mixing colours again, on „The Turning Year“ (to be released in April, along with Joep Beving’s piano meditations) – masterly executed with blurred horizons (the piece „Intimate Distance“ made me think of switching a tiny light on in one of my favourite, almost pitch-black, Rothko paintings). Did you ever follow a tensely plotted dulcimer through a fog of scraped strings? Abd then, Trumpet player Avishai Cohen‘s take on naked music (let us avoid the word „awesome“, but how do so?) – listen to the words of drum master Ziv Ravitz below! „Naked Truth“ is, in the words of John Fordham  „a barely-40-minute miniature of an album, beautifully executed and steered by the idea that improvising musicians good enough to play any headlong stream of consciousness can reveal a lot more if they sometimes play only a fraction of what they know.“ All has been said (and not enough) on Group Thinking‘s „Wohnzimmermusik“. When asked for a recording anecdote Stephen Black said: „
Nothing particularly exciting, just your usual next door’s dog barking, or the sound of a pigeon in the chimney breast. It was fuelled by coffee and cheap bread.“ And then Joep Beving‘s courageously hypermelodic attempt on letting notes hang in the air – a little bit longer (it impressively worked as part of a trance work with a client of mine). And Richard Williams is diving deep into the blue moments of 21st century Frippertronics: „Miraculously, at least to my ears, the risk of passivity is avoided. Some tracks, like “Strong Quiet I and II” from Brussels in 2009, feature an improvised solo guitar line over the drifting clouds of sound: recognisably Fripp, completely lacking in ego-play, always worth following where they lead.“ A garden of treasures indeed. If earthly or unearthly, you may decide for yourself. A solitary evolution in sound anyway: so close to, and so far away from, the heartbreaking spaciousness of side one of the Eno/Fripp ancient ambient expedition „Evening Star“. One instant ECM classic, and some other „most beautiful sounds next to silence“. Be prepared.




Park Jiha: The Gleam 

Group L i s t e n i n g : Clarinet & Piano: Selected Works, Vol. 2 
Roger Eno: The Turning Year 
Pan American: The Patience Fader 
Avishai Cohen Quartet: Naked Truth    
Joep Beving: Hermetism
Robert Fripp: Music for Quiet Moments

This entry was posted on Montag, 21. Februar 2022 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Jochen:

    Very important: making music without „proving“ something.

    Naked Truth sounds great.

  2. Hauge S.:

    Great review of slow musics, Michael. Immediately ordered Group Listening after your text from the day before. Fripp‘s box set is worth digging into. Avishai Cohen seems to be a real treat, at least from listening to the track on your evening show at Deutschlandfunk. The story of the flute player who plays nearly nothing, haha. Thx for the link. Roger Eno‘s forthcoming cd is on my April list. Gentle does it. See you in Kristiansand again!!

  3. Michael Engelbrecht:

    So, you’ve read the Group Thinking review with a DeepL translation, Hauge!? There are still funny „mistakes“ though it is far better than „google translate“….

    Here once again, with some adjustments:

    „I suspected it when I read the first descriptions of the album, and I knew it when I heard the record for the first time. And I was no longer surprised to notice, while gathering some background, that Robert Wyatt’s „Maryan“ and Brian Eno’s „Julie with …“ appear on the playlist of their first collection of cover versions for piano and clarinet. So did Arthur Russell and Roedelius. I’ve never heard the thing, unfortunately.

    In any case, „Volume 2“ is such an enchanting work by this Welsh duo called „Group Listening“.. There are also more sound sources on „Volume 2“ than those of the clarinet and an old piano And again it’s all cover versions – although the origins are much further apart than on „Volume 1“, the duo realises a relaxed as well as compelling „narrative“ arc

    I’m simply delighted by this record, which also features parts of a telephone conversation, a rhythm box that sounds like it was borrowed from the Young Marble Giants – and at the end the two seem to boot through adventurously muddy marshland (that’s how their version of „Seeland“ from „Neu!“ ends). – as one listener writes on youtube about the original: „The rain wakes you up at the end“). But maybe that’s just a hallucination on my part.

    Through these ten appropriations and discoveries, which place more value on a natural living room atmosphere than on razor-sharp sound recording (also because they were created in a living room)m- so many ravishing gifts of the moment! . The first piece is called „Sunset Village“ and is her interpretation of the composition from Beverly Glenn-Copeland’s „Keyboard Fantasies“. Safe journey!“

  4. Martina Weber:

    Your magic writing, Michael, made me remember a kind of primordial scene in my music listening, set in the early 90s. As this was a fundamental experience I needed to made a post of its own:

    And yes, I feel a great part of my ideal music in the albums of Pan American. I remember fondly your radio show, in about 2004 or so, once at 1 a.m., when you played the albums of Labradford and showed their development up to their disappearence in music and consequently, as you said, as a band. Fortunately Marc Nelson resumed his work with Pan American. A new sound, but a continuity as well. So the first albums of Pan American resemble the sound of Labradford: Pan American (Kranky, 1998), your post made me to complete my collection. When I reflect the development of Pan American (the records I know) I could put forward the thesis, they go the opposite way than Labradford: the place that is being created inside me contains more and more tangible elements. I’m looking forward to „The Patience Fader“.

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