Press BSO 027

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Dave Sumner on Bird is the Worm

Berlin Soundpainting Orchestra enters music states that approximate chamber jazz, free improv, minimalism, classical, psych-rock and even an updated spiritual jazz choir project, but, ultimately, the large ensemble keeps things sufficiently in avant-garde territory that, really, there’s no adequate way to encapsulate the sonic experience with a genre tag, no matter how specific it may be tailored to a particular sonic expression. This is music that is constantly in flux. Tracks like “Encounter With a Mollusk” and “Organic Matter” firm up that position with pieces that transition between focused and fuzzy, dissonance and dissolve.

Some tracks express a more cohesive vision. The driven intensity of “Submarine Volcano” balances a volatile instability with a simple melodicism. And the way that the bare elements of a melody are given dynamic textures one layer after the next reveals the depth at the heart of “Sölid Particles.” And the bursts of rhythm and choir on “Supercritical Mass” are compelling for their individuality and their unity.

Definitely something different here, and all of it is fascinating.

Your album personnel: Hada Benedito (artistic direction, composition, soundpainting), Charlotte Barnett (voice), Bianca G. (voice), Makiho Yoshida (violin), Penelope Gkika (violin), Davide Lorenzon (alto sax, bass clarinet), Federico Eterno (alto sax, clarinet), Jonathan Lindhorst (tenor sax), Dominic Sell (electric guitar), Bob Meanza (electronics), Kriton Beyer (harmonium, objects), Rieko Okuda (piano), Adam Goodwin (double bass), Antti Virtaranta (double bass) and Adrian David Krok (drums).

A. Bertinetto on Kathodik

La musica qui proposta è stata prodotta usando il sistema compositivo del soundpainting – una sorta di composizione/improvvisazione live mediante segnali visivi – inventato negli anni ‘70 dal compositore americano Walther Thompson. Il progetto ‘Holothuria’ (per la cronaca, gli Holothuria sono un genere di animali echinodermi, con la pelle a riccio, che include i cetrioli di mare) comprende due parti: Holothuria Suite (To Diego Gymmers (4 brani) e Kalte Stücke (6 brani). Mentre la prima parte sembra dipingere la vivacità misteriosa – e relativamente ‘calda’ – di un ambiente sottomarino (caratterizzante è, all’inizio, il timbro, appunto caldo, del clarinetto), la seconda parte è, fedelmente al titolo della suite, progressivamente più fredda e affidata maggiormente ai timbri alti degli archi e del piano e poi (segnatamente nel brano finale, dedicato alla rappresentazione sonora dell’animale originario, Ur-Tier) all’elettronica (anche se in Supercritical Mass sono le percussioni a offrire, inizialmente, un po’ di calore, imbastendo un tessuto ritmico su cui si staglieranno poi i gesti sonori dell’orchestra). Un ottimo lavoro sperimentale d’improvvisazione collettiva coordinata, che, anche per la capacità di rendere, mediante l’interazione improvvisativa, l’immagine sonora e liquida della vita organica, testimonia ancora una volta la vivacità della scena della Echtzeitmusik berlinese.

John Book on This is Book’s Music

Aut Records described this album by the Berlin Soundpainting Orchestra this way:
“Led by soundpainter and pianist Hada Benedito, the Berlin Soundpainting Orchestra consists of 16 experimental musicians, improvisers and composers, all coming from different backgrounds and nationalities. Their live composed works could be described as a trip of obscure and colourful images, an expansive way of traveling among improvisation and avant-garde music beyond contemporary jazz..”

What does that exactly all mean? It’s improvisational, it’s spontaneous and like a good amount of music, it is unpredictable. The first thing I thought of was John Zorn, when he had his Cobra project and all of the musicians involved play what they had to be played by looking at cue cards with anything from numbers to symbols and gibberish, each describing what they are to do. In a way, you could say the Berlin Soundpainting Orchestra are creating their own language by what they’re seeing, or what they’re saying, or what they’re feeling. It’s fun to hear too because while it may sound like some kind of Ornette Coleman jam session, it is going somewhere if you pay attention. It is neither jazz or classical, it could easily be Pink Floyd in Atom Heart Mother mode but fans of avant-garde classical or jazz may consider that comparison an insult. Nonetheless, it is what I hear and I could only image what this would sound like in a live setting. There are two people who contribute dialogie to this album, somewhat helping the listener out from point A to point B, imagine if Laurie Anderson came into a room and decided to split herself in two. Parts of this reminded if of Andrew Poppy’s wonderful album The Beating Of Wings, as I could hear a few similarities here and there. I hope the “Orchestra” will do more albums in the years, decades, and perhaps centuries to come.

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