CD Reviews

Monday 5th September

September 5, 2011

A brief review post tonight as I have to be up again for work in a little over five hours. Part of me says I don’t really have to review this CD much now because I wrote a paragraph on it, privately for the label a few months or so back, a fraction of which appeared in the press blurb for the CD, so I kind of reviewed it in advance. Now, before I get pulled up for writing reviews of CDs I might be connected to- let me explain what happened with tonight’s CD. A few months back, Simon Reynell of the Another Timbre label sent me a disc blind, as he has done before from time to time, to ask my opinion on it. The Cdr contained the two pieces of music by a composer/musician I had not heard of before, Anett Németh, though when I received the disc I didn’t know who had produced the music. I liked it a lot immediately, and tried to encourage Simon to release it, which he did, but as this was to be a release by an otherwise unheard of name he asked myself and the composer Michael Pisaro to write a few lines on it in advance that could be used to help advertise the release. So, yes, my words appear in the press release for this one, but they do so to help push a CD that I just really liked and wanted to see reach a wider audience. I have personally gained nothing at all from the release.

The line of mine that Simon used is as follows:

“If anything, this is as perfect a CD to fit my natural, unthinking tastes as could be found. It is very very beautiful indeed.”

and that in many ways sums up this release for me. It is a disc containing two pieces, the first named A Pauper’s Guide to John Cage, and the second Early Morning Melancholia. Both tracks are quiet, brooding works, the first made up of combinations of sparsely played instrumentation, (piano and clarinet) field recordings and domestic electronics, the second similar but without any conventional instruments. When I first heard the music I immediately thought of the work of Michael Pisaro. While I didn’t think the recordings were his, there are a number of similar traits in there, the slowly unfolding of field recordings behind gently played instruments, the use of sidetone-like elements and an overwhelming sense of sad, forlorn beauty. The resulting release, a Cdr on the Another Timbre Byways sublabel also carries eight lines from a poem on the rear of the sleeve, a feature also not unlike Pisaro’s work.

It would be wrong to say that this album is in direct debt to Pisaro’s composition however, and in a short interview at the AT website, Németh seeks to distance herself from any direct influence from his work, along with the other Wandelweiser composers, so I suspect that this music developed at a parallel to it all in some way, but the similarities are impossible to ignore. The sheer melancholic beauty of these pieces, and in particular the aptly titled Early Morning Melancholia is, to me at least, incredibly enticing. There is a colourless, muted feel to them, a music that sounds not unlike the sun trying to break through a morning mist might metaphorically sound, an intense sensation of slowness, of hands pressing down on shoulders, the need to sink down into a bed and be enveloped somehow…

For me, this disc is just very beautiful, a near spotless balance of the recognisable and the abstract. As music goes, it isn’t a challenge, it doesn’t make you think as such, there are no great concepts to get your head around, no sudden surprises sprung, but it is instead achingly gorgeous, if perhaps from a somewhat mournful, bleak perspective. For those readers that know my taste in music, this would indeed provide a natural fit with it. As simply beautiful a CD as I have heard in a while, and a fantastic start for a new name.

Comment (1)

  • Dan Warburton

    September 6, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Nice. It’s definitely still my favourite of the latest batch – though Simon’s been hard-selling me on the Saunders, which I’m still grappling with.

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