In the section Sad Eyes Wet Light we’ll cover music from the more experimental and unusual avenues. Pastoral, chamber, ambient and soft instrumental.
Built from a simple palette of viola, piano, hiss and crackles, Architecture of Loss is immediately sparser and colder than previous Valgier Sigurdsson offerings. There is mere hints of percussion manipulated by computer and static glitch. String arrangements are smudged along like long brush strokes. There are great stretches of space, fissures open up between fragile viola lines and the piano figures. It holds a cold emotional vastness within it, like iced over branches and winter hanging on, not willing to let go. Fans of Rachel’s and Vladislav Delay will find much solitude here on Architecture of Loss.
On a structure we may find avant-gardish, Stian Westerhus throws us immediately into his musical realm. He is one of the greatest Nordic jazz guitarists and on his third album The Matriarch and The Wrong Kind of Flowers he demonstrates just that. Stian stretches the limits of his instrument and delivers a much more left-field style approach. The result sounds of a dialogue between a string section and an ethereal choir, low-fi chords (sounding like stabs on the guitar neck) followed by the bow slowly rising in a trembling crescendo. He makes a baritone sound exactly like a cello and there is the most pivotal presence of echo and reverb throughout. Most of the material on this album was recorded at the Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum in Oslo, a tomb soundwise known for it´s 20 second natural reverb, generally known for enormous wall paintings about the circle of life. The temperature inside is kept at 5 degrees Celsius to preserve the paintings in the best possible way. Simply a unique record and amazing achievement for a solo guitarist.
Crippled Symmetry is an 88 minute performance for a trio written in 1983, by Morton Feldman and recorded in 2000. The trio consisting of Eberhard Blum (flute, alto flute, bass flute), Nils Vigeland (glockenspiel, vibraphone) and Jan Williams (piano, celesta), Morton Feldman’s close friends and collaborators, came together once more as “The Feldman Soloists” to perform Crippled Symmetry, the trio Feldman composed for them, on the 25th anniversary celebration of June in Buffalo, the festival he founded. The recording of this concert is now finally available and is destined to become the reference recording of this work. It is required listening for all fans of Feldman’s rich, hypnotic world of enigmatic harmony and mnemonic echo. The rare and indescribable ‘magic moment’ of occasion and ambience seems to have inspired them as it will the listener.
Following her critically acclaimed first album Becalmed, pianist Sophie Hutchings returns with Night Sky. On her latest release, an album that would not only please those classical lovers but also the indie crowd as well. Impossibly beautiful with limited extra support – violin, cello, accordion and singing saw – the extra instrumentation never takes away from the layers of her right hand melodies, yet adds to its nocturnal ambiance. It’s powerfully solitary music; sticking this on at a dinner party is likely to result in breakups by dessert. Night Sky is an album to soundtrack sorrow: loves lost and chances missed, empty vistas and windswept beaches. That said, it’s often an exhilarating kind of sadness.