Reviews and pictures from Sietse's record collection
The most impressive concert of the year (and for sure in my top 5 all time favorite concerts), the music I have listened to the most to last year (the album got played about 50 times at least, if I should believe last.fm). And indeed, my favorite album of 2012: Live at the Grimm Museum volume one (Blues Dhikr Al-Salam (Blues Al Maqam)) by the ensemble Chora(s)san Time-Court Mirage, which is led by Catherine Christer Hennix. Besides Hennix in the collective we find Amelia Cuni, Michael Northam, Robin Hayward and Werner Durand for this CD.
This is quite a collection of musicians all working in the field of minimalism and drone music.
And minimalism is what we are presented here, minimalism of the best kind. With computers, voices, tuba, trombone and more the ensemble does live performances, that can take several hours, with improvisation on the instruments and voices. To control what is happening Hennix gives signals so changes the musicians know when things have to happen. Such a performance has been recorded and mixed and is presented here in a 49 minutes summary.
The music is not so much one of technological development, which is very pure micro-tonal drone music, but more on what it does with your state of mind and being while listening. If you really go sit with this recording you loose sense of time. For the 49 minutes it is long you forget everything happening around you and just float off in another kind of dimension.
With this it the music gets close to the work of La Monte Young, with whom Hennix also worked in the late sixties en early seventies. With the influence of La Monte Young, but also Pandit Pran Nath (her teacher in singing, so it seems) she started working on her own music with a much more mathematical approach. As with all other work she has done, there is for example continuous soft drone which connects all her work together. But besides this the other musicians also get their moments for example the very familiar voice of Cuni can be heard quite often.
The result is not only a piece that makes you forget time, but it is also like a warm blanket that you can wrap around you on a cold winter evening. It is soothing and meditative and eventually when the CD stops clearly too short because you don’t want to get out of this trancelike state.
As with The Electric Harpsichord (Die Schachtel, 2010) CC Hennix shows again to be an amazing and inspiring artist, of course this time surrounded by other amazing artists, who is at the top of the drone scene. Pure drones, not that ambient music that is sold as drone music these days.
Comes without saying, highest recommendation possible. Go check this out and track down a copy of the CD to space out for a while.
Listen to two recordings of the Chora(s)san Time-Court Mirage from another performances at Soundcloud (though I really recommend the real deal on CD or even better live):
The CD is limited and sold-out at Important Records, but still available from Sonic Acts