(Cold Blue)

Dutch composer Michael Fahres presents three gorgeous examples of his compositional skill, alimented by a responsive ear which allows him to translate a simple idea – or a few of them – into music that makes us dream at first, then also think hard about the gifts provided by a life that, more often than not, gets wasted by running after stupid things. Armenian singer Parik Nazarian lends her voice in “Sevan”, a haunting piece somehow reminiscent of Akira Rabelais’ “Spellewauerynsherde”, in which she sang through huge metal pipes that once were meant to be used in a water-recycling project but, on the contrary, had fallen in disuse. Mazarian’s voice evokes ghosts of lost memories, blurring our visual with limpid tones that Fahres modifies for us to get lost in hypnotic haze. The long title track is mostly based on the breathing quality of the ocean water pressed in the underground caves of El Hierro (Canary Islands); the roaring hiss and the wash of the waters are complemented by didjeridoo and trumpet – by Mark Atkins and Jon Hassell – adding further hues of impressive power to a piece that runs miles and miles away from any hypothesizeable new age canon, instead putting us in touch with an essential force of nature that owns probably the most beautiful voice on the earth. “Coimbra 4, Mundi Theatre” takes its name from an event organized by Carlos Alberto Augusto and R. Murray Schafer in the Portuguese city, but doesn’t use sources from that occasion. It’s a splendid specimen of modern acousmatics, a proximity of field recordings, crying children, sacred choirs and what sounds like a funeral held in an underwater cathedral – possibly the very best moment of an already excellent album that establishes Fahres among the elects in the contemporary electroacoustic field.

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