The experimental fringes of the modern classical arena are bursting with creativity these days. Musicians and labels explore new possibilities and modi operandi. This article gathers five outcomes worth diving into again and again.
Dag Rosenqvist :: elephant (Dronarivm)
It’s not easy to digest the six compositions Dag Rosenqvist crafted for elephant. They demand the listener’s full attention. They don’t obey any rules or follow any traditions. Each pulses, morphs, twists and strikes with the unique personality Rosenqvist gave it yet they are all connected in some mysterious way in order to assemble a fluent yet unpredictable heart-shattering and mind-boggling journey. Organic and synthetic collide and merge into finely controlled emotional outbursts. Brutal, granular and at times even offensive, but ethereal, dreamy and graceful for the most part, elephant acts as an emotional roller coaster sliding through a battlefield of shadow and light. An abstract, ritualistic dance with the composer’s own personal demons and angels. Out on the adventure-seeking boutique imprint, Dronarivm.
Ben Lukas Boysen :: Spells (Erased Tapes)
Versatile composer, producer and sound designer Ben Lukas Boysen continues what he started with Gravity (Ad Noiseam, 2013 / reissued in 2016), on the prolific Erased Tapes imprint. Piano patterns, meticulous programming, string instrumentation and live drumming effortlessly form a highly spacious and deeply moving affair. Each piece is a rich sonic swell, widening and pulsating slowly, suspensefully and intensely, until an electric climax. Cinematic, futuristic space chamber music in a spellbinding demonstration. A strong sequel that sharpens and deepens Boysen’s idiosyncratic sonic universe.
Jherek Bischoff :: Cistern (Leaf)
Although made completely from the magic of conventional instruments, there’s nothing conventional about the structures and movement of Jherek Bischoff‘s latest creation on the Leaf label, Cistern. A battery of skilled instrumentalists led by Bischoff elegantly and expressively weaves a cinematic voyage full of warm wistfulness, dark and uplifting shades. Nine compositions ebb and flow, burst and crash, expand and contract. Slowly but surely the album reveals more charm with each listening session. A powerful, vibrant and at times grandiose piece of sonic intimacy that doesn’t hold even a shred of pretentiousness.
Dead Light :: S/T (Village Green)
Dead Light‘s self-titled debut album on Village Green runs deep into the heart soft as the morning twilight dew on the grass, and ethereal and fragile as gossamer threads floating and stretching in the gentle wind after the rain. Moon Ate The Dark’s Anna Rose Carter joins forces with Ed Hamilton for a sound exploration inspired by a move from London to a quiet, remote space in the countryside. An old piano with a lot of character, string sorcery and a bunch of analog artifacts are operated in unique ways to create picturesque, fluid and intimate streams of passion. All is crafted with great attention to texture, shape and position. Peculiar, bold and full of nuance yet inviting, catchy and heartwarming. Utterly enchanting.
Christopher Tignor :: Along a Vanishing Plane (Western Vinyl)
Composer, violinist and programmer Christopher Tignor returns to Western Vinyl with his most adventurous, emotionally open and atmospherically charged work to date. Preferring a spacious hall, in what was once a psych ward and then a schoolhouse, over a recording studio for the creation of Along a Vanishing Plane was a suitable choice as during the recording Tignor’s used space as another instrument. It’s a key element in the album’s finely woven threads that deepens and widens the experience. With his own self- built software, an eccentric use of traditional instruments and a number of special artifacts he bravely and gracefully explores uncharted districts and fiercely defies categorization. A beautiful meeting between conventional and out of the box thinking. An arresting lesson in sonic shapeshifting.
Feature image by Erik Osvald (a.k.a. Keosz)