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Kuijken, Jan: Vertigo

Kuijken is a 'New Music' composer published by Brussels-based Carbon-7, home to Aka Moon, Slang, and a host of other obscure rock, avant jazz and modern classical artists. A cellist and pianist, Kuijken penned the ten compositions found here for three separate dance performance showcases; these have henceforth been retooled for this package. Kuijken is joined by a quintet of conservatory-trained players who add violins, clarinets, flutes, viola, and French horn to the mix. Sans percussion, a sense of space permeates throughout; the resultant beauty of milder pieces like "Slow Theme" and "Con Moto" unfolds, to be displaced by the impulsive discharge of notes from piano, clarinet and horn in "Dual" and "Vertigo." A minor movement, "Capture," interjects many a rest from various instruments, letting piano, flute or violin — or any combination of two — explore the microcosmic vastness before the other sessioners resume. Vertigo is an acquired taste, but it may prove to be a surprising listen when you're in the mood for something a little more avant, a little more classical. Listeners of Ceux Du Dehors-era Univers Zero and Rule 29 may even find something to like here.

Track Listing:

01. Ouverture 5:06
02. Primitiv 6:55
03. Slow Theme 1:44
04. Con Moto 4:08
05. Tips 3:08
06. Dual 7:56
07. Obsession 3:36
08. Vertigo 4:45
09. A Romance 5:57
10. Capture 14:38

Total time: 58:30

Added: April 30th 2007
Reviewer: Elias Granillo
Related Link: Carbon-7 Records Dot Com
Hits: 3090
Language: english

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Kuijken, Jan: Vertigo
Posted by Kerry Leimer, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-04-30 15:59:38
My Score:

For those who remain drawn, in ways both immediate and abstract, to the pure sounds of acoustic instruments played in their less predictable, more abstract interactions, will find much to appreciate on Vertigo. The ensemble includes composer Jan Kuijken, piano; George Van Dam, violins; Paul De Clerck, viola; Dirk Descheemaeker, clarinet and bass clarinet; Pierre Bernard, flutes; and André Pichal, French horn and they orbit the gravitational center of 20th Century art music – some of these pieces were composed for dance – and occasionally land on a Bartók slap or a Cage screw while spinning out pieces that would be at home as a part of any number of sets performed by the Kronos Quartet.

The music rarely settles into a predictable flow, favoring to prowl the outskirts of sonic interactions and their accompanying emotional or intellectual charges. This demonstrates a predilection for the sound vs. music aspects of music – with sound usually forcing a tie – and, as would be demanded by wide open ears, there is nothing typical about the way in which this ensemble is put to work. The music favors gaps over textures, with very little that could be described as legato playing. The pieces then cycle through the available instruments in differing combinations rather than singular, ensemble-style presentations, adding to the sense of progression and difference. This practice entrains a sort of suite quality to the set, evolving from voice to voice while relying on the compositional discipline to provide the main point of consistency. In this sustained field of abstraction listening takes on a few interesting characteristics: the search of correspondences, when one is only now and again given the glimpse of an interleaved pattern or traditionally defined theme and, again, when what seems only juxtaposition suddenly emerges as something still more concrete. As such, Vertigo seeks to place itself in some pretty rarified air but is more often than not found to be "inspired by" than flat-out inspiring.

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