Jacaszek & Kwartludium - Catalogue des Arbres

Digifile* - 8 tracks - 46:06 "… and the trees, like earth's wistful sighs to the sky." K. Janiszewska Track listing: 1. Sigh (Les peupliers) 2. Green hour 3. A book of lake (Roselière) 4. Garden (Les sureaux) 5. From a seashell 6. Circling (Le pré) 7. Anthem (La forêt) 8. Kingdom (Les chênes, les bouleaux) For the past decade or so, Polish musician Michal Jacaszek has been exploring a new, resolutely modern chapter in Eastern Europe’s long, storied love affair with classical music. His creations are painstakingly crafted collages of electronic textures and baroque instrumentation, harpsichords being swarmed by woolly static one minute and pulled apart by billowing wind the next. A push-and-pull tension runs deep and constant throughout. Ambient music is rarely so sonically challenging. Jacaszek has recorded for Ghostly International, Miasmah, Gusstaff Records and Experimedia and other labels. This is his first release for Touch. Michał Jacaszek writes: "When poets and writers declare their enchantment for the forms of nature, they often use musical terms as methaphors. Visual artists' creations often resemble graphic partitas, when recapturing the rhythms of landscapes.Confirming, in a way, these musical intuitions, composers write great music deeply inspired by birdsongs, wind rustlings, waves repetitions etc. Making "Cataloguge des Arbres”, my ambition was to join this broad artistic movement devoted to natural phenomena and find my own way to describe trees: their forms, atmosphere and mystery. I have started with "open air" recordings, capturing mainly leaves'' rustlings - from different distances, in different locations and weather conditions. This collection of nature recordings was transformed into a kind of "organic drone" and becomes a main background for instrumental and voice improvisations. My initial inspiration here was Olivier Messiaen's' bird songs transcriptions for piano – the composer's work title "Catalogue d'Oiseaux" I have paraphrased on my album . A piano, clarinets, violin and percussion parts, performed by the Kwartludium ensemble, were electronically processed, and afterwards all this electro-acoustic material was turned into a collection of 8 soundscapes - forgotten songs performed secretly by my beloved trees." composed, recorded and produced by Michał Jacaszek | additional composing and all instrumental parts performed by Kwartludium | Voice parts (tracks 1, 8) performed by 441 Hz chamber choir | Additional clarinet parts (tracks 2, 3) performed by Andrzej Wojciechowski Grand piano recorded by Cezary Joczyn at Gdańsk Academy of Music Kwartludium are Dagna Sadkowska: violin | Michał Górczyński: clarinet, bass clarinet | Paweł Nowicki: percussion | Piotr Nowicki: grand piano Biography: Michał Jacaszek lives in Gdansk, Poland. Author and producer of electroacoustic music, composer of soundtracks and theatre music, and sound artist. He is a curator of C3 Festival /Club Contemporary Classical/. Member of Polish Society for Electro-acoustic Music. Michał Jacaszek lives in Gdansk, Poland. Jacaszek gained Grand Prix at "Dwa Teatry" Festival for music composed for the play "Golgota Wrocławska" directed by Jan Komasa. "Walking underwater" a documentary by E. Kubarska with music by Jacaszek has recently been awarded The Special Jury Prize at Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto. He has performed in USA (Unsound New York, Communikey, Hopscotch), in Canada (Mutek ), in Great Britain (Fertilizer Festival, Apha Ville Festival), in Nederlands (Urbanexplorer Festival), in Belgium (Fereejen Festival), Portugal, Sweden (Volt Festival), Slovakia, Germany, Ukraine and Russia (Electro-Mechanica Festival); as well as in Poland at the most important festivals: Heineken Opener Festival, Off Festival, Unsound Festival, Astigmatic. *The DigiFile is another variation on the standard card wallet with one or more additional panels or flaps. The discs can be held in place with either a die cut slit or a sponge button. The Digifiles can also incorporate booklets with a booklet slit or pocket. Reviews: Norman Records (UK): I have some great stuff on this week. Last week was a little underwhelming but a new Touch release is always gonna to have this old pooch wagging his eager tail. I won't harp on too much about this guy's work. I have a huge place in my heart for the astonishing 'Treny' and also the 'Glimmer' album he delivered for Ghostly was pretty awe-inspiring too. Michał Jacaszek's material is a passionate fusion of electronic textural manipulation, smoky chamber jazz and abstract classical rushes. Much like fellow visionaries Deaf Center, this talented Pole fuses his worlds into magical ambient soundscapes that are as engrossing and otherworldly as you could care for. Unfortunately I cannot quite make out who the significant other featured here, Kwartludium, actually is. I have discovered though that the effortless glory of rustling tress and the majestic weather-beaten landscape make up the main body of inspiration here. He's been out in all conditions apparently gathering sonic detritus with which to embellish his occasionally unsettling experiments in lushness. This is like a musical interpretation of a Tarkovsky film. Lots of rustling and watery effects. You have no idea what's gonna come at you next from out the shadows! Once again I find myself drifting off to perfectly poised and almost cinematic music with wonderful jazzy flourishes, organic ephemera and a tender layer of processed field recordings. A lovely way to spend a Friday lunchtime! Graceful, windswept, mysterious and gorgeously rendered, this is another sublime entry into the eventual fine legacy of Mr. Jacaszek. [Brian] pop music (Poland): Sakralny charakter swojej muzyki, Michał Jacaszek prezentuje już od płyty Treny. O ile tamten album pozwolił wypłynąć mu i sprawił, że rozpoznawalność jego nazwiska się zwiększyła, o tyle na tle jego późniejszych albumów wydaje się stosunkowo najłatwiejszym i najbardziej przystępnym materiałem. „Pentral” zaowocował w analizę akustyki wnętrz kościelnych, próbę połączenia możliwości nagrań terenowych i wybrzmiewających w gotyckich budowlach instrumentów oraz wokaliz. „Catalogue des Arbres” ten kierunek pogłębia – to rozbudowana i wieloetapowa współpraca z trójmiejskim zespołem Kwartludium, poruszającym się na co dzień po obszarze muzyki współczesnej. Jacaszek wykorzystuje ich cytaty, edytuje nawiązania do Catalogue de Oisseaux Oliviera Messiaena, przetwarza, aby potem nałożyć kolejne ścieżki improwizacji kwartetu, który oszczędnie sączy brzmienia klarnetu, fortepianiu, perkusjonaliów, marimby czy wiolonczeli. Wspólny obraz budują z nim równolegle nagrania terenowe natury, tytułowy szum drzew, daleki od oryginału, funkcjonujący jednocześnie jako tło i baza drugoplanowej ścieżki dźwiękowej. To subtelny dron, kontrapunktowany przez dźwięki instrumentów. Album wydany przez Touch to muzyka ciszy, tak jak pozamiejski krajobraz – interwencje w audiosferę są ledwo słyszalne, delikatne, rzadko kiedy dźwięki przyjmują formy złożone. To proste elementy, które razem budują barwny, dźwiękowy kolaż. Zajmujący się ekologią akustyczną R Murray Shaffer wyróżnił audiosferę miast i obszarów wiejskich, kategoryzując ją na lo-fi – średniej jakości hałas miejski – i hi-fi – złożony, o wiele łatwiejszy do rozłożenia na czynnki pierwsze, obraz dźwiękowy wsi i krajobrazów naturalnych. Catalogue des Arbres odwołują się do tej drugiej kategorii – wielowarstwowość i nacisk na detale to jedna z największych zalet tego materiału. Drugą jest ich oszczędność, skrupulatne ułożenie i improwizacja Kwartludium, która w ten pocięty materiał wprowadza pierwiastek ludzki. Catalogue des Arbres wydaje się najdojrzalszym albumem Jacaszka – jest najmniej oczywisty, nie tak dramatyczny i prosty jak Treny, z wyraźnie wyklarowaną wizją muzyki i wykorzystaniem nagrań terenowych. Nie jest to płyta łatwa, trzeba się w nią wsłuchać, także na dobrej jakości sprzęcie. Muzyczny katalog jest bogaty w dźwięki, odwołując się w naturalny sposób do cyklu i formy dźwięków, słyszalnych w naturze. Błyskotliwie i szalenie inteligentnie zrealizowany materiał. [Jakub Knera] kindazmuzik (Netherlands): Liedjes van de bomen; het klinkt wat knullig wellicht maar dat is wat de Pool Michael Jacaszek op Catalogue des Arbres zegt te presenteren, met medewerking van het ensemble Kwartludium. Deels is dat letterlijk te nemen, want de componist maakt veelvuldig gebruik van natuuropnamen. Een nog veel groter part van zijn werk wordt ingenomen door op de natuur geënte, gecomponeerde muziek. Op dit album gaan die twee samen om zo niet zozeer een ode aan de boom te brengen, maar om je ernaar te laten luisteren. Wanneer dichters of schrijvers verrukt zijn van de natuur, gebruiken ze nogal eens muzikale metaforen. Ook beeldend kunstenaars vangen landschappen in vormen die lijken op grafische partituren. Componisten op hun beurt - en zeker Jacaszek - schrijven fantastische muziek met vogelgezang, wind, geritsel van bladeren en herhalende golfslag als inspiratie. Jacaszek voegt daar zijn loot aan toe door bomen onderwerp van zijn composities te maken. Als basis dienen natuuropnamen in de open lucht. Hij pikte geritsel en geruis op, op verschillende afstanden, met diverse weersomstandigheden. Daarvan maakte hij thuis in de studio een organische drone als fundament en achtergrond. Daarop en daarvoor liet Jacaszek alle ruimte voor instrumentale en vocale improvisatie. De natuur neemt dus nooit de voorgrond, zoals bijvoorbeeld bij Chris Watson. Partijen gespeeld door piano, klarinetten, viool en percussie werden door Jacaszek elektronisch bewerkt. Samen met het natuurgeluid gaan ze op in acht soundscapes. Die zijn schatplichtig aan Messiaens Catalogue d'Oisseaux al probeert Jacaszek geen transcriptie voor instrument te maken van natuurlijke geluiden. De originele klankenrijkdom krijgt op een briljant organische manier gezelschap van de instrumentatie en andersom. Zo inspireren de bomen hun eigen gezang via Jacaszek. De kans is groot dat je bij een volgende park- of boswandeling zijn vloeiende instrumentatie al vanzelf denkt te horen bij het ruisen van de wind door de taken. [Sven Schlijper] VITAL (Netherlands): From the outside it may seem that Touch always works with the same artists and to some extent that's probably true. What's wrong with that? They act as a proper record label, not working on a project-to-project basis, but push a limited number of artists. But sometimes an entirely new name pops up, such as Michal Jacaszek from Poland, who is a composer of soundtracks and theatre music, as well as a curator for various festivals. His previous work was released by Ghostly International Miasmah, Gustaff Records and Experimedia, although I must say I didn't hear any of that. Here he works with a quartet called Kwartludium: Dagna Sadkowska on violin, Michal Gorczynski on clarinet and bass clarinet, Pawel Nowicki on percussion and Piotr Nowicki on grand piano. Much like composers have tried to describe animals through instruments (Messiaen, Saint-Saens), Jacaszek wanted to describe trees, 'their forms, atmosphere and mystery'. He started with the recording of leaves rustling and wrote the notes out for the quartet and then, in the final stage, treated everything in a way that is owed to the world of electro-acoustic music. The 441 Hz Chmaber Choir performed some voice parts. Great story, fine music, which carefully balances on the modern classical on one side and electro-acoustic music on the other side. Jacaszek really makes his sounds - whatever source - to have a rustling character, such as in 'Garden (Les Sureaux)' - which rustles all around - the field recordings, the percussion instruments, but also the other instruments making similar gestures. Most of the time this is played introspectively, but not dark, doomy. It's airy music, open, like a mild summer breeze (and with today's sunny weather I can exactly know how that feels), meandering through space, without getting weightless or new age inspired. Jacaszek knows how to create music that is partly gritty, a bit dirty, just off the beaten track. I'm never too fond of anything that is even remotely modern classical, but I must say: this is great! [FdeW] Fluid Radio (UK): The dark trunks are as grey as bleached stone. Their dull, shaded leaves perform a slow, almost balletic routine in the pitch-black of the night, absent of white stars. It’s done in private, with only a couple of nocturnal eyes glinting from beyond. Natural rhythms sway in time with their slender arms, a hundred trees participating in an ancient ritual. Their rhythm is true, tried and tested. Their trunks are thick bodies that populate the planet. Instruments are bodies, too. With clarinets, violins and piano performed by the Kwartludium ensemble, the sublime beings house the music before it’s released into the wild. Trees have been around much longer than we have and are considered sacred the world over, minus the brutal deforestation that we see today, a sad reminder that all is not well. Oaks were once worshiped by European druids, and Redwoods were an integral part of American Indian ritual. They are stony, monolithic, breathing life into the world. And polish musician Michal Jacaszek breathes life into his music. It takes on a new, ashen form. The percussive shaking sounds like a quivering branch; leaves rustle in the dead of night. In the natural, wooded house of leaves, birds nest and nestle, taking refuge. They harbor life and oxygen. A leafy tree in its prime will produce as much oxygen in a season as ten people inhale in a year. Creaking timbres and dissonant piano notes drip with a grey, murky mystery. Recurring chords cloud the music, and low, ominous bursts of piano rumble like tropical thunder. The strings seep tears of discontent. Jacaszek has chosen to explore the natural beauty of trees – ‘their form, atmosphere and mystery’. Their beauty has been much admired and, as a result, is often taken for granted. Jacaszek concentrates on the darker, twisted roots underneath the surface – something that we don’t normally see – and the well hidden secrets they keep. The music is detailed; close up shavings that scrape against the trunk of the tree. The trees are alive, mixing in with the sound of steady rainfall and the chirp of the birds. Percussion patters down, filling up empty cans with a light, tinny sound. A sung chorus comes out of nowhere, but it’s a leafy language. Catalogue des Arbres is a tonal forest, a dense jungle rooted with slithering shrubbery and vines that snake their way through the undergrowth. The notes seem to know their way around this place. The clarinet isn’t as bright as it once was, the tone becoming noxious, falling under a dreamy enchantment after a chance meeting with Maleficent. Wooden carvings litter the side of the trunk, signs of cherished teenage love. I <3 u 4eva. Jacaszek recorded the leaves at various locations, distances and in different weather conditions. This adds a chilling authenticity to the mystery currently developing in the brooding glow of the dark room, where Jacaszek’s photographs find their form. Strange black shapes appear beside the trees, apparitions that hone in on their victim. The trees intend to keep their secrets; you need to be on your guard in Jacaszek's neck of the woods.



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Jacaszek & Kwartludium - Catalogue des Arbres


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Track 1:  Catalogue des Arbres mix






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