Thursday, September 07, 2006

ADRIAN KLUMPES: Be Still (The Leaf Label)

ADRIAN KLUMPES
Be Still
BAY56CD
The Leaf Label 2006
09 Tracks. 51mins05secs




Buy it: CD
Adrian Klumpes | The Leaf Label

Adrian Klumpes usually officiates as part of Australian formation Triosk, with whom he has released two albums, including the recent The Headlight Serenade, and collaborated with experimental sound artist Jan Jelinek. Be Still is his first foray into solo work.

Built from recordings made during a single five-hour long improvisation session, Be Still originally intended to capture part of the creative process behind his music, yet the subsequent processing revealed a much more complex and somewhat abstract tone. While the recording context certainly influences the nature of this record, the nine tracks collated here appear especially suspended in both time and space. Although the scope of these tracks varies greatly, from the dreamy introspection of the piano-lead Cornered, Be Still or Passing Pain and the gleaming cinematic Unrest to the darker and more minimal Weave In And Out or Alone and the oppressive Why, Klumpes creates here a surprisingly captivating work. Melodies are delivered either in voluptuous swathes or rarified dry splinters and indifferently placed in various places throughout these compositions, sometimes forming the main body of a piece, at others hopelessly left drowning in clouds of sounds.

Moody and dense, Be Still appears at times unsettling, especially when Klumpes manipulates the original piano source sounds into thick structures, as on the stern Why, or to a lesser extend on the compulsive monotone Exhale. At its most experimental and treated, this album becomes almost entirely textural and atmospheric, yet, when he returns to more clearly charted territories, Klumpes crafts highly contrasted emotional landscapes on which this album ultimately relies on to express its narrative in full.

There is a similar scintillating aspect to this as to Triosk’s recent The Headlight Serenade. The way Klumpes approaches music through cascading sheets of pianos, and processes his sound sources into tiny particles that often hang in the air long after he has finished with them, give his work a pleasing gloss and contributes to his music being somewhat more accessible than one would initially expect from such a dry creative process. While he sometimes deals with darker concepts, and he certainly does here on a few occasions, he still relies on lighter elements to lift up his experimentations and bring them to life.

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