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WICKHAM-SMITH, SIMON - Love & Lamentation

Format: CD
Label & Cat.Number: Pogus Productions POGUS P21048-2
Release Year: 2008
Note: three pieces with quite unusual & fascinating re-workings of vocal (spoken, sung) material, with unexpected emotional results...
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €13.00


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Eine kaum zu beschreibende, faszinierende Klangwelt (basierend auf Bearbeitungen von vokalem Material) betritt man auf der neuen CD von SIMON WICKHAM-SMITH. Ob er ein buddhistisches Gebet verfremdet, einen poetischen Text von mehreren Personen gelesen multipel übereinanderlegt, oder Klagegesänge von Psalmen mit dem Sazspiel & der Stimme des türkischen "Troubadours" ASIK VEYSEL SIRSOGLU auf seltsamste Weise verbindet: stets schafft er so ungewöhnliche Ergebnisse dass man das Gefühl hat, etwas derartiges garantiert noch nie vorher gehört zu haben - auch die emotionale Wirkung beim Hören hat etwas ungeahntes, noch nicht eindeutiges...

"... Its not easy to describe the music of Wickham-Smith, both from how it was made and how it sounds. Perhaps he uses a computer to alter his sounds, but I tend to believe that's only in the final stage of the process. I envisage his music as generated with lo-fi means: worn out cassettes, cheap samplers, reel-to-reel tape loops. There are three pieces on this album, all of which seem to be dealing with voices, altered and otherwise. Wickham-Smith takes these, makes loops out of them and crafts a minimalist changing pattern with them. Through the various techniques, which I hope to be lo-fi as outlined before, the sounds are a bit hissy, static, crumbled, warped, folded and of a lower resolution. Chanting like in 'Sandokai' or the three parts of the title piece, or more poetry spoken word in 'The Kin-Kindness Of Beforehand', this is all excellent stuff, bringing back the good memories of his older work (which, if Vital Weekly wouldn't consume so much of my ear-time, I would grab out and play again). Wickham-Smith's music is like an anthropologic quest for voices connected of rituals, all over the world, from Tibet to Egypt, but he manages to give things a twist of his own, while maintaining a zen-like character to them. Great one." [FdW / Vital Weekly]

"... The "Sandokai" ("The Harmony of Difference and Equality") is a prayer written by the eighth century Japanese Zen teacher Sekito Kisen. The basis for this piece was a tape given to Wickham-Smith by a nun of a recital at her monastery. He wanted to create of this sample a prayer without borders, a follow-up to an earlier work, Ave Regina Caelorum (2000, released on Extreme Bukake [VHF65]), in which he used the Latin plainsong of a prayer to the Virgin Mary in much the same way. The organ sample at the end is from a piece by Erik Satie, whose spirituality was equally strange and eclectic. All the samples have been stretched and pitch-shifted beyond (immediate) recognition; to the ears they have melded into something that seems at once both ethereal and solid.
"The Kin-kindness of Beforehand" grew out of his "Multiple Tongues" project, a series of pieces in which Wickham-Smith exposed the spoken word in many different languages to a series of digital manipulations. The Kin-kindness of Beforehand is divided up into several distinct sections, each of which took on a particular persona during its creation. For the composer, this was the most complex of all the "Multiple Tongues" works, because he wanted to use specific strings of words and the quality of writer Rachel Becker¹s voice somehow to comment on each another.
"love & lamentation" started life as a setting for voice and electronics of part of the biblical Book of Lamentation, but it quickly became clear that the literal setting of words was not going to convey the melancholic intimacy that needed to be expressed. As a teenager Wickham-Smith had heard Alain Gheerbrant¹s wonderful ethnomusicological recordings of a blind Turkish troubador and had fallen hopelessly in love with his voice and exquisite playing of the saz. About the same time, through his friend Richard Youngs, he had discovered also the ex tempore psalm singing of the Scottish Isle of Lewis. Fifteen years later, he decided that these two could be made somehow to work together to show the love and lamentation which he felt they both held in their deeper recesses, and which he wanted to present in this new piece. The result is a strange melée of feelings, repetitions and textures. From time to time we hear a somewhat bizarre percussion sample, which he had first worked on in 2000. Part 3 opens with an offcut from an unreleased (and now never-to-be-released) piece from 1999 called Deaf Piano. Veysel¹s voice starts the piece and revolves through Part 2 in a kind of hippy trance love-in fashion. The congregation from Lewis sing their melancholy in a sparser and maybe wilder ways and die slowly away into the distance at the close." [label info]



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