Drone Records
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Format: do-LP
Label & Cat.Number: Autofact FACT12 / Touch Tone 28
Release Year: 2008
Note: third in the SPIRE LIVE-series with experimental organ works performed live throughout Europe; contains recordings by PHILIP JECK (May 2006, Brussels), CHARLES MATTHEWS (May 2006, Brussels, performing a piece by GIACINTO SCELSI), MARENS DAVIDSON (Oct. 2005, Gteborg), BJ NILSEN (Oct. 2005, Gteborg), and FENNESZ (May 2006 Brussels). Vinyl-only edition, gatefold-cover, art by JON WOZENCROFT
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €18.50

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Der dritte Teil in der SPIRE LIVE-Serie, lange Stcke mit "modernem" Orgelbezug & -einsatz von PHILIP JECK, CHARLES MATTHEWS, MARCUS DAVIDSON, BJ NILSEN und FENNESZ, - Aufnahmen von den zwei SPIRE - Konzerten auas Gteborg und Brssel. Ganz wunderbar tnen wieder BJ NILSEN und FENNESZ, der eine lst die Orgel-Tne in rostig-rauhen Resonanzen auf, der andere klingt ("rein ORGANisch") hchst melancholisch und polyphon... aber auch die anderen Stcke (u.a. eine Version eines SCELSI-Stckes) sind die Anschaffung wert.

"Spire Live - Fundamentalis is a double LP-only collection of exclusive live tracks recorded at various Spire events held throughout 2005 and 2006. Released in association with U.S. label, Autofact, Touch presents a selection of tracks performed by the main performers of Spire: Fennesz, Philip Jeck, BJNilsen, Charles Matthews and Marcus Davidson. Improvised pieces from Fennesz, BJNilsen and Philip Jeck contrast with a performance by Charles Matthews of a scored composition by Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi, "In Nomine Lucis," and Marcus Davidson's self-penned "Standing Wave," which ends side two with a locked groove. Cut to preserve and enhance the bottom end frequencies, Fundamentalis is not merely a document; the tension between and within the individual pieces is palpable. As the Touch label places it, Fennesz's set "...evokes the rolling centuries in all their pain and beauty, leaving us at once becalmed and energized, but never oppressed under the weight of time." Electronics breathe new life not only into the organ, but also into the setting. But a new technological successor does not mean replacement. Ultimately, it's the majestic sound of the organ, so steeped in centuries of tradition that one remembers above all else. Spire is one of the most innovative projects around, drawing on the full canon of organ works, from the very first annotation in the Robertsbridge Codex from the 14th century, to Max MSP patches and software sampling. With two CD releases and nine performances in cathedrals and churches throughout Europe, Spire remains a potent live force in harnessing the sounds of the ages. Art direction and design by Jon Wozencroft." [label info]

".... Jeck's side is everything we could hope for, long lazy loops, slathered in record static, hiss, crack and pop, dreamy melodies skipped into haunting rhythms, everything washed out and blurred, a worn weary sonic drift, organs and voices, soaring and whirring, very mechanical and machinelike, but simultaneously, warm and emotional.
Serene, hypnotic, mesmerizing, what else can we say about the magic of Jeck's music that we haven't said before??
Matthews' half of side two is super minimal and hushed, mostly organs, allowed to wheeze and whir, slightly dissonant, but dense and layered, the tones hovering in a suspension of rumbles and shimmers, very dramatic and cinematic, understated and reverent, almost like some strange religious musical ritual. The second half, ostensibly Davidson's, although he is credited with a locked groove, is a dark
drone-y flow, keyboards blurred into warm streaks, also slightly atonal, ominous, intense, the muted rumble builds to an almost cacophonous organ-ic frenzy, that heard at full volume must have stirred the soul for sure.
The second disc is split evenly between Nilsen and Fennesz. Nilsen's side, recorded in a church in Sweden, is a dark, harrowing,
rumbling, post industrial dronescape, the tones rough around the edges, the melodies lugubrious and caustic, building up into a serious din, metallic washes of sound, thick shards of pulsing buzz, very brittle and sharp, before slipping into something a little more serene, but no less intense, more muted metallic tones, drifting in a churning sea of hissing static and electronic grit, a barely noticeable rhythm, more of a pulse or swell, finishing off in a deep grinding low end blur, like a much more minimal 20th century SUNNO))).
The Fennesz track is all organ, the root of all of these pieces, but here, the organ is unaltered, barely unadulterated, allowed to warmly wheeze, strange tangled melodies, glistening and glimmering, the tones beginning to change shape, the melodies allowed to elongate and blur slightly until they're swallowed up by a warm cloud of static and hiss before fading out completely. The second half of Fennesz' side is a more murky underwater reading of the first half, not as much grit and gristle as we usually expect, instead, the sound is whirling and muted, reminding us of Oval, but with the glitching skips smoother out, leaving just warm shimmering sonic swells, sun dappled melodies, and rich layered high end drones, drifting serenely, pastorally.
Gorgeously packaged, super thick full color gatefold sleeve, super striking Wozencroft photos, pressed on thick vinyl. And as if you even need to be told, quite limited indeed." [Aquarius Records review]