The most recent releases from 130701 have shown the label expanding on their roster with the recent additions of Clarice Jensen and Yair Elazar Glotman & Mats Erlandsson. All three artists have healthy back catalogues through labels such as Miasmah, Geographic North, Portals Editions, Deutsche Grammophon and Bedroom Community to name a few. All three artists represent some of the shift towards creating expansive sound pieces from either modern classical or electronica bases and pushing through to a more texturalised sound worlds.
“Brooklyn-based cellist Clarice Jensen’s gorgeous sophomore album and first for FatCat’s pioneering 130701 imprint, ‘The Experience Of Repetition As Death’, was recorded and mixed by Francesco Donadello at Vox-Ton studios in Berlin in late 2018 and mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri. Following up her hugely impressive 2018 debut, ‘For This From That Will Be Filled’ , which included collaborations with Jóhann Jóhannsson and Michael Harrison, all of the material on this new album was written and performed by Clarice alone and all of the sounds on it were created with a cello through a variety of effects and effects pedals.
Expanding her sound again, ‘The experience of repetition as death’ is a warm, deep and cyclical album that explores notions of repetition in both its conceptual underpinning and musical structure. Unlike the easily readable step builds and grid-locked looping of so many artists using the looper as a compositional tool, Clarice’s loops slide across one another in organically morphing structures; align and intersect at different moments, yielding a kind of aleatoric yet minimal counterpoint, with joins overlaid in ways that appear seamless and sophisticated.”
A few years ago you could probably count the number of noted Cellists on one (maybe two) hands. In recent times it feels like there is an explosion of highly creative people using the instrument and technology to create interesting pieces. No longer as just part of an Ensemble or Orchestra, the Cello has taken it’s place as a focal instrument that given the right people, can result in particularly rich music. One such artist is Clarice Jensen who was last covered in these pages with her Miasmah release “For This From That Will Be Filled”. Since that release she has had a cassette release “Drone Studies” quickly sell out through two pressing on the highly vaunted Geographic North label. She now finds herself on the other side of the world on FatCat’s 130701 imprint with the close to sold out “The Experience Of Repetition As Death”.
Mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri and Recording & Mixing by Francesco Donadello, you know you are going to be in for a musical treat. I am not sure what the “Drone Studies” release was like and how it worked within her oeuvre, but I sense a change between her two albums. The music on this particular album has a more refined character than “For This From…” and that is not meant to be a criticism, just an observation. A piece like “Holy Mother” has a similar raw tone to those on her debut (like Part A of the title track), while pieces on this album feel like a continuation and refinement of pieces like “BC”.
The opener “Daily” is for the most part a layered ambient styled piece concerning shifts in the sound and texture of the cello. Around the four minute mark the tone and indeed the feel or temperature of the piece noticeably changes to one that is less droning and warmer in feel. The switch is not a radical one and sneaks up on you nicely. On “Daily Tonight” Jensen takes the listener on a journey that would be covered on most other artists full albums. Mixing her experimental backgrounds with a filmic approach the piece is quite possibly the cost of admission. If there was a piece that you would play to a potential listener it would be this one. Jensen works in repetition with out it being boring and with an almost twelve minute length she demonstrates creating soundscapes with tension, texture and tone while also making the piece rather hypnotic.
“Metastable” is the correct choice to follow on from “Daily Tonight” as it continues her claim for a future score composer career in the future. Certainly finding itself in darker territories thanks to the low bass hums, the piece feels like it was recorded in a church such is the light being cast around through the music like a spot light searching through the darkness for someone or something. I wonder if this piece with it’s heavy use of repetition and loops directly inspired the album’s title on vice versa? I have mentioned before about the through line of “Holy Mother” and her debut album, but what I have yet to mention is that this particular track is the most physical of her pieces in which you can in your minds eye see her playing her instrument rather intensely. According to the notes it is a “towering piece that moves through all twelve chromatic pitches. The title refers to the Tibetan name for Mount Everest (Qomolangma) and through this piece Clarice has attempted to evoke a sense of that place and the obsession with its conquest – an extreme example of the feats people attempt in an effort to break from the monotonous repetition of everyday life.” It again shows the balance of experimental styles, sounds and orchestral ones and has a similar sort of sound also to the proceeding track. There are dark undertones that are given meaning when you read further into the notes to discover how personal the piece and indeed the whole album is to the artist as it was conceptualise towards the end and after the passing of Jensen’s mother from Leukaemia. The fact that her mother was going through repetitive treatments to keep her stable also could be an influence in the album’s title.
The album’s last track is “Final” which has a very mournful quality in it’s sounds, but also has the feeling that it is fading away such as the notes seem to disappear. The actual piece shares the loops that were part of the opener “Daily” but put through a process of degradation to change and deteriorate the sound acting almost like a reprise and bringing the album full cycle. It was only after listening to the album several times that I ventured deeper into the notes that are found on the Bandcamp page fo this release. I am glad I took this approach as I was able to take the album on face value, but once I read the notes and gleaned more information, the pieces took on mouch more meaning with repeated listens. What the notes show is the intense creativity to the compositions that Jensen possesses and how she is able to articulate the themes into her pieces. I recommend you try out the same approach as it is rather quite revealing once you know the full story.
“The Experience Of Repetition As Death” is sold out on LP, down to a handful of CD’s and available Digitally.
“Both prolific composers in their own right working within the field of modern composition/ new electronic music, Berlin-based Yair Elazar Glotman and Stockholm-based Mats Erlandsson have been collaborating since 2015. ‘Negative Chambers’, their first joint album together was released on Miasmah Recordings in 2017, and saw them exploring new approaches to the use of traditional acoustic instruments. Having recently signed to FatCat’s 130701 imprint, and following closely on from Deutsche Gramophon’s release of Jóhann Jóhannsson’s ‘Last and First Men’ project which Yair co-composed, the pair’s sophomore album ‘Emanate’ is a powerful and stunningly executed extended duration work that utilises a fantastic ensemble cast and continues to explore their ideas of a ‘displaced sound’ – combining electronic and acoustic sound sources through both analogue and digital means to create an ambiguous composite work, a music that sounds neither clearly electronic or acoustic, existing instead in some in-between space.”
Inspired by feelings that oppose the instantaneous gratification and continuous competing for attention streams from the digital age, Glotzman and Erlandsson sought to create long form pieces of music that was an antithesis to the ever present flood of information. You could take the album as both an act of rebellion to the present times and also a call to arms that encourages the listener and people in general, to slow down and not be so caught up in the need for stimuli. The title itself reflects this mood with the word being derived from the Latin word Emanat, meaning “To Flow”. The music on this album encompasses this nicely as although it is separated into nine different tracks, the idea is to listen to as a whole piece of work.
The two composers involved come from different backgrounds. Glotman, from Berlin is a classically trained orchestral contra-bass player as well as being trained in electroacoustic composition while Erlandsson, from Sweden holds a degree in Electronic music composition as works at the world famous Elektronmusikstudion (EMS) in Stockholm. The original compositions of these pieces were electronic ones which included instruments such as recordings of zithers and bowed strings which were electronically manipulated by both digital and analogue techniques and then were transcribed for a small chamber ensemble consisting of violin, cello, viola da gamba, trombone and double bass. According to the press notes “Using this electronic structure to trace out new parts to be played by the ensemble, the score ended up being in time-based notation with all pitches fixed and added another layer of complexity by allowing performers enough freedom to make their own musical decisions when reacting to the electronics and to other players. The resulting instrumental parts weave in and out of the electronics, sometimes blending in with them entirely and sometimes acting individually.” The initial recordings were made in Berlin at the start of 2019 with further overdubs being added in both Berlin and Sweden with additional instrumentation such as vocals, viola and organ being added.
This is not just a drone record. There is plenty of conceptual thought and classical training put into place with chordal or intervallic, contrapuntal/canonic and melodic tonalities and palindrones as well as parallel formal arches involved which to be fair, is over my non musically trained station. But, what I miss in the reasons for their choices or methods in the composition I can pick up in the feeling of the music. With an ear turned towards the concept of deep listening, Glotman and Erlandsson turn away from any notion of chilled or new age listening, instead they lock into the more “chromatic density and a tendency towards an edgy darkness” of artists such as Hildur Guðnadóttir’s ‘Chernobyl’ score or Jóhann Jóhannsson’s ‘The Miner’s Hymns’. Both artists are also influenced by the likes of the darker forms of orchestral music that has founds it’s way into cinema like György Ligeti’s 1967 piece ‘Lontano’ which is featured on the soundtrack to Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ and Scorcese’s ‘Shutter Island’. Indeed, this album has a cinematic feel with a brooding dark quality about it. Just one look at the cover art which in some ways hints at a film poster or even Jazz record from the 1960’s, but also has an air of mystery about it.
With an album that flows nicely from piece to piece you have to assess it as such and not break it down into individual pieces. Although that said there is a form of mirroring of sort with pieces being entitled like “From Light To Refraction”, “From Refraction to Light” as well as “From Refraction To Procession” and “From Procession To Refraction”. Naturally going with the ethos of the album the pieces are slow burning atmospheric ones which use long forms string based drones and electronics. At times the music is rather minimal with a glacial edge tinged with uncertainty and at others there is a hive of activity, whether it is more lyrical playing or a furious form. The four part “Interludes” add for more of a cinematic eerie soundscape where the music retreats to it’s more minimal fashion with static glitches and distant echoing pops and bangs. With each time the “Interlude” pieces appear, their environment increases with it’s more chaotic soundscapes.
There is something about the way in which the music intersects with the darker forms of instrumental/orchestral/dark ambient/drone music that manages to not make it like those pieces that feel bogged down in these particular styles. I have a feeling that it has something to with both the length and shapes of the sounds contained within the pieces. The music is forever in a form of movement, twisting and turning, highlighting a sound before weaving away and revealing, but also hiding something. Glotman and Erlandsson (along with their various collaborators) have created a rich piece of music that deserves to be utilised as a score, such is the impressive nature of the moods contained within. If you can find yourself with a spare fifty one minutes and a gap less playback, lie down, put your headphones on and visit their world.
“Emanate” is available from Friday Fifteenth of May on LP and Digital.