Electroacoustic improviser Thanos Chrysakis performing on the chamber organ at the University of Gloucestershire, UK in a collaboration with Chris Cundy on contra bass clarinet, for a subtle, mysterious and uncompromising four-part improvisation.
Chrysakis, Thanos / Chris Cundy
Music for Chamber Organ & Contra Bass Clarinet
Label: Aural Terrains
Released in: Greece/UK
"By formally naming the album with the mere instrumentation, Chrysakis and Cundy declare right away their intention of not providing the listener with clues linked to definitions or labels. Even after having glanced at the musicians' curricula — which include several surprising collaborations — determining a so-called stylistic context for these five tracks remains one of those exercises that render a reviewer's life a little tougher. At any rate, there are certainties: no pseudo-tunes (or hints thereof), no lines to memorize, no easy concessions. And there's so much to learn when we finally decide to abandon the "necessity of classification" mental mode, just immersing ourselves in the very sounds. As always, the real teachings are not given by words.
On paper, the timbral pairing might appear a bit problematic. But when an improviser's inclination respects both the partner(s) and the silence from which everything is born, conflicts vanish, not withstanding dissonant clusters and clashing harmonics. The introvert character of these pieces is at the same time unambiguous, in that Chrysakis and Cundy know from the beginning where they're meeting: a place where room exists for a clarinet to express its potential via quivering tones, contingent fragments and jarring metaphrases. Where an organ can certainly generate a discordant drone lasting full minutes ("Part III") while completely erasing the possible liturgical references through the utilization of infrastructural micro-repetitions and hidden patterns. There are no visible handles to grip, and the pages of this imaginary score are turned in the less expected moments. In all cases, when a track ends we feel more puzzled than before.
This uncompromising work grabs the attention thanks to unexpected subtleties, spurious vibrations and atypical resonances. In a way, it stimulates a reflection about its bare essence rather than the overall aesthetic value; the latter, however, is also a factor to take into serious consideration. I have properly listened to it a number of times, and the reason of my attraction still can't be found in the closet of logical constructions."-Massimo Ricci, The Squid's Ear
"Thanos Chrysakis' output consists of composition, performance, and installation. He was born in Athens in 1971. After residing in the UK between 1998-2014 he moved in 2015 to Belarus. With several albums to his name his work has appeared in festivals and events in several countries, including CYNETart Festival, Festspielhaus Hellerau - Dresden, Academy of Arts / M:AI (Museum für Architektur und Ingenieurkunst NRW)- Berlin, Diapason Gallery - New York, ohrenhoch - der Geräuschladen Gallery - Berlin Neukölln, XXII "Sound Ways" International New Music Festival - St Petersburg, Artus Contemporary Arts Studio - Budapest, CRUCE Gallery - Madrid, Fylkingen - Stockholm, Relative (Cross) Hearings festival - Budapest, ZEPPELIN festival - Barcelona, Futura 2013 - Drôme, Festival de Música Contemporanea "Ramiro Guerra" - Monterrey, Störung festival - Barcelona, Center for New Music - San Francisco, Västerås Konstmuseum - Västerås, BMIC Cutting Edge concert series - The Warehouse - London . His music has been also frequently aired by RAI radio 3, BBC radio 3, Radio Portugal Antenna 2, Radio Nacional de España, FM Brussel, Polskie Radio (Warsaw), Elektramusic (Strasbourg), Undae! Radio and Onda Sonora - Radio Circulo de Bellas Artes (CBA) (Madrid). He composes for electronic and acoustic instruments as well environmental sounds, focusing on the structural, aesthetic and tranfigured capacity of sonic matter. His work was amongst the selected works at the International Competition de Musique et d'Art Sonore Electroacoustiques de Bourges 2005, in the category œuvre d'art sonore électroacoustique, while received an honorary mention in 2006 at the 7th International Electroacoustic Competition Musica Viva in Lisbon.
Chris Cundy is an English musician, composer, and arranger specialising in bass clarinet, saxophones and other woodwinds. He has worked with Cold Specks, Lol Coxhill, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Devon Sproule, Timber Timbre, Guillemots, Little Annie and Baby Dee. His work ranges from improvisation and experimental music through to modern composition and pop music.Between 1996 and 1999 Chris studied painting at Cheltenham art college and during this time he more fully expanded his practice of improvised music, sometimes referred to as 'free music' out of which various projects have emerged such as Weavels which features bassoonist Mick Beck and guitarist, clarinettist Alex Ward. He has also established several ventures into composition developing the use of 'extended techniques' such as multi-phonics, circular breathing, micro harmonics and generally speaking a more tactile approach to instrumentation. He has worked closely with a number of composers and educators including John Tilbury, Thanos Chrysakis and Dominic Lash.During his time at Cheltenham he also met songwriter and orchestrator Fyfe Dangerfield with whom he has worked on many different occasions including as a touring and recording artist in his band Guillemots. More recently Chris has been working with Cold Specks and appears on her 2014 album 'Neuroplasticity' (Mute Artists) recorded at Montréal's Hotel2Tango Studios. One off sessions have seen Chris performing with Moby, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Vieux Farka Touré and Lisa Hannigan.Other projects and collaborations have included appearing on several albums with electronica outfit Longstone and performing music with Nofit State Circus for a number of their award winning shows under the artistic direction of the Italian choreographer Firenza Guidi."-Aural Terrains
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Label: Aural Terrains
Catalog ID: TRRN0930
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Recorded at the Chapel on Francis Close Hall Campus in Cheltenham, University of Gloucestershire, UK, on June 28th, 2014.
Thanos Chrysakis-chamber organ
Chris Cundy-contrabass clarinet
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1. Part I 10:58
2. Part II 13:06
3. Part III 8:23
4. Part IV 7:54
5. Part V 11:27