The Squid's Ear Magazine


Taylor / Serries: Obsidian (Creative Sources)

Their familiarity honed from work together in the Impetus Group and in Tonus, viola improviser Benedict Taylor and archtop guitarist Dirk Serries (Vidna Obmana) are heard in seven free improvisations recorded in 2023 at the Kapel Oude Klooster in Brecht, Belgium, their strings in plucked, bowed and curious consonance through unusual technique and expression.
 

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Personnel:



Benedict Taylor-viola

Dirk Serries-archtop guitar


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UPC: 5609063408065

Label: Creative Sources
Catalog ID: cs806
Squidco Product Code: 34431

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2024
Country: Portugal
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at the Kapel Oude Klooster, in Brecht, Belgium, on August 11th, 2023, by Dirk Serries.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"My usual questions about the releases of improvised music come up again when I play this new CD by Benedict Taylor (viola) and Dirk Serries (archtop guitar). They recorded their duet on 11 August last year in a chapel in Belgium. Serries get credit for the mixing, and that's the first question: what's there to be mixed? To what extent does mixing alter the music? Does it still compare with what the audience heard that day? My best guess is that it does.

The concert is divided into seven pieces of music, and maybe it covers pretty much the whole concert; the CD lasts almost an hour (perhaps they played multiple sets?). And then, was this a tour or a one-off and if it was from a tour, can we assume this is the best concert, so it got onto a CD? It's not the first time I have addressed such matters, partly because this world of improvisation remains a bit mysterious in that respect, and I wonder why things are as they are.

Perhaps it's a spoiler, but I enjoyed the music, but I found the whole hour a bit much (and yes, also something I wrote more than once; I know, one doesn't have to play the entire CD in one session; I always do). What I like about the music is the intimate setting of the sounds. While Taylor and Serries may use superficially chaotic sounds, they keep it small and sparse. Not necessarily quiet; that's something else; they don't play with the notion of silence that much. But most of the time, they keep playing 'small' and 'together'. And odd as it may sound, together doesn't mean there is much of a call and respond thing going on here; each man is an island here, it seems, but together, it creates an exciting myriad of sounds, and it's not always possible to find your way in there.

Still, it's nevertheless great as it is. Their approach to the instruments is not very traditional, even when Taylor more than Serries, I think; the latter plays the strings without plucking or bowing, it seems, more stroking and stretching, whereas Taylor bows and plucks away but tries to make it sound less like a violin. And then a forty-five-minute release would have been great; that's the amount of time I can muster to concentrate on this kind of demanding music (at home, that is, as in concert, probably even a lot less). Otherwise, it is one fine work of improvised music."-Frans da Waard, Vital Weekly


Get additional information at Vital Weekly

Artist Biographies

"Benedict Taylor is an award winning composer & solo violist specialising in contemporary music and improvisation. He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music & Goldsmiths College, and is a leading figure within the area of contemporary composition & string performance, at the forefront of the British & European new and improvised music scene.

He composes, performs & records internationally, in many leading venues and festivals including: Royal Court Theatre, Rambert Dance Company, BBC Arts Online, Berlinale, Venice International Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Festival, London Contemporary Music Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, Cantiere D'Arte di Montepulciano, Edinburgh Festival, CRAM Festival, Cafe Oto, The Barbican, Royal Albert Hall, Southbank Centre, The Vortex, Ronnie Scott's, ICA, BBC Radio 3 & 2, Radio Libertaire Paris, Resonance FM London.

Through his work he is involved with a number of higher education institutions, giving composition, improvisation & performance lectures at the Royal College of Music, City University and Goldsmiths College amongst others. He is the founder and artistic director of CRAM, a music collective and independent record label dedicated to new music."

-Benedict Taylor Blogspot (http://benedict-taylor.blogspot.com/p/benedict-taylor-is-award-winning_2.html)
4/22/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Since his first releases in the early 80s, uncompromising Belgian artist Dirk Serries has garnered respect from and invitations to collaborate with recognised musicians like Steven Wilson, Steve Von Till, Justin Broadrick, Cult Of Luna and Alan Sparhawk of Low. He has been commisioned to write works for Dutch national television broadcaster VPRO, the Antwerp Zoo as well as architectural festival Biënnale Rotterdam and worked on stage with the Holland Symfonia orchestra. His discography encompasses stylistically diverse releases on labels like Relapse, Projekt, Conspiracy as well as his current creative partner Tonefloat, an outfit with years of experience in vinyl editions for acts like Porcupine Tree, Robert Fripp, Theo Travis and Anja Garbarek. Over the past thirty years, he has toured extensively through Europe and the USA and performed at some of experimental music's major venues and concert spaces, as headliner or in support of Low, Mono, My Bloody Valentine, Jesu and others.

Dirk Serries never shied away from collaborations with Justin Broadrick, Steve Roach, Sam Rosenthal, Alio Die, Theo Travis, David Lee Myers, Asmus Tietchens, Stratosphere, Serge Devadder, Willem Tanke or under seperate entities like The Sleep Of Reason (with Jon Attwood), Continuum (with Steven Wilson), Principle Of Silence (with Joris De Backer), The Eightfold Model (with Michael Beckett), Akhet (with Marc Verhaeghen, Paul Van Den Berg), 3 Seconds Of Air (with Martina Verhoeven, Paul Van Den Berg) and The Black Fire (with Robert MacManus).

After bringing his projects vidnaObmana (1984-2005) and Fear Falls Burning (2005-2012) to a satisfying conclusion, Serries no longer considers it necessary to hide behind alter egos. Confident enough to operate under his own name, he is continuing his ongoing search for uncharted territory while keeping in mind the essence which made him want to work with sound in the first place. Fascinated by the power of purity, he has built a reputation for building a personal galaxy of harmony and dissonance through dense caleidoscopes of slowly unfolding motives. His upcoming second microphonics-album is a further refinement of this approach. Eschewing stereotypical genre exercises, Serries refuses to be labeled as a guitarist, weilding his instrument in a way which never denies its original tonal colours while bringing out the unique intimacy of his music.

Released in 2008, Serries's debut studio album under his own name was all about analog warmth and natural acoustics. For his second full-length and in a bid of creating the perfect sonic space, he has now taken on the challenge of engaging in a dialogue with digital processing. Lyricaly titled 'microphonics xxi - xxv - mounting among the the wings, there's a light in vein. the burden of hope across thousands of rivers', the album was released to critical acclaim in March 2013 on renowned Dutch label Tonefloat as a CD and double 10″ vinyl.

The sobriety of his studio work is mirrored by Serries's philosophy to performing live, based on the concept that music should be heard, not seen. Focussed like a monk immersed in prayer, he is performing his music almost in complete darkness and entirely in real-time, making use of both electric amplification and the natural resonance of the room and taking the particular characteristics of each venue into consideration. This way, not a single gig sounds the same as the night before.

While writing the follow-up to his second microphonics solo album, his ongoing fascination for jazz for more than 15 years solidified in 2011 when he was invited by improv and jazz musicians Kristoffer Lo and Tomas Järmyr to form YODOK III. Recording their debut album, completely performed real-time, at the legendary Athletic Sound Studio in Halden (Norway), brought projects in a rapid stream and on the right track. Teaming up with both musicians, in their trio format and with Tomas Järmyr on drums as duo THE VOID OF EXPANSION, Serries collaborates as well with Belgian jazzdrummer Teun Verbruggen as ART OF COSMIC MUSINGS and goes into a duel with Dead Neanderthals, Cactus Truck's American sax player John Dikeman and Dutch drummer Onno Govaert, UK saxophonist Colin Websters, UK drummers Andrew Lisle and Steve Noble. Born was Tonefloat's New Wave Of Jazz and the future foresees no boundaries, 30 years and onwards."

-Dirk Serries Website (http://www.dirkserries.com/)
4/22/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. Obsidian I 7:22

2. Obsidian II 5:14

3. Obsidian III 11:28

4. Obsidian IV 11:28

5. Obsidian V 6:40

6. Obsidian VI 8:44

7. Obsidian VII 7:42

Related Categories of Interest:


Creative Sources
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Stringed Instruments
Guitarists, &c.
Duo Recordings
New in Improvised Music
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