Collecting Records

Reviews and pictures from Sietse's record collection

Top 10 2011 #2: Amelia Cuni & Werner Durand – Already Awake In The Night (Ini.Itu, 2011)

There sometimes passes a record that you would call magic. This because it is has this special sound, something new. It might be a discovery or something you already knew but never really noticed.
The album Already Awake In The Night by the duo Amelia Cuni and Werner Durand (with help from David Trasoff on 2 pieces) is such an album. In this case it is discovery of a very special sound, something that is familiar but at the same time is totally new.

Already Awake In The Night is released on the Belgian/Indonesian label Ini.Itu (This Here, That There in Indonesian) which used to have a focus on sounds from Indonesia (in some form, field-recordings, instruments or anything else remotely connected) though stepped away from this with some of the last album.
Though, even with this step away the albums still have a focus on something non-Western. Like on this album where the duo is inspired by two Hindustrani raags, Raag Lalit and Raag Todi. Lalit is usually played before sunrise and Todi is usually played after sunrise, though here they are combined in one way so they would interact.

On side A we find the title piece which has Amelia Cuni performing her vocals with a bamboo resonator (although I have no clue what that is, but it sounds amazing), Trasoff on sarod and Durand on blown kalimba, sine waves, phase shifters and digital delays.
We get to hear slow transforming sine waves creating meandering drones over which the Sarod plays the ragas combined with the special vocals who are overtone and throat singing a Latin text from a Cistercian hymn sung just before dawn.
The piece reminds a lot of Indian music, but has influences from modern minimal music as well. It is a deep track with lots to discover.

On the flipside we find two pieces. Both are in the line of the one on the first side, but B1, Wavering Twilight, is without singing and B2, Morning Surge, is without sarod.
Though, while in the same line there are also distinct differences between the several compositions. Take for example Morning Surge where the singing by Cuni is going through  bamboo resonator again, creating a sound which sounds organic and unearthy at the same time.

The album is really consistent in sound and quality without becoming boring. The music is on the edge of Indian classical music, minimalism, drone and new age and knows to find its way in between these genres. And with the peculiar sounds used it proves to be really standing out among a lot of other albums.
A well deserved spot in my top 10 of this year, and really a shame it never got picked up very well. As such a hidden treasure.

Listen to two excerpts from this album through the Ini.Itu website:
Side A
Side B1

Already Awake In The Night is limited to 250 hand numbered vinyl pieces and is available through http://www.iniitu.net/

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This entry was posted on December 29, 2011 by in Review, top10 2011.
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