VA: Advent
[ parvoart ] recordings

Leave it to Duncan Ó Ceallaigh to find a way to squeeze nine transporting soundscapes into only twenty-four minutes, as he does on this latest three-inch installment in his Wismar-based [ parvoart ] recordings label. Though the label's second compilation, Advent, is thematically a “meditation and celebration of all things wintry,” one needn't conclude that it's cold in feeling. Not surprisingly, all of the pieces are in the two- to three-minute range and get to the heart of the matter with dispatch.

Stephen Spera “Other Places To Be” opens the collection with a calming meditation of environmental clicks and processed sounds. In a new solo work, “Nr. 4, Melting Underfoot,” Celer member Will Long takes his dog for a walk through fresh snow (the dog's panting and the shuffling footsteps clearly audible), and the piece takes on a bittersweet aura when one realizes that the pet also belonged to Will's late wife Dani. French artist Neve opts for a bolder atmospheric evocation in “Morgan” that seems to inhabit the heights of the Jura mountains in eastern France where he lives. A live improv recorded in Schwerin, John R. Carlson's melancholy “No Time, No Place” sprinkles elegant piano playing over a wavering strings backing. “Frozen Feet,” Porzellan's graceful marriage of violin chill and sparse piano, proves affecting despite its brevity, and Ó Ceallaigh likewise provides a serene vignette of gentle piano and dust-speckled ambiance in “Sa Geimhreadh.” Analog synths and Fripp-like guitar in Alpe's “Te ^ Te Nord Des Fours” quietly echoes the style of Another Green World's guitar-based settings, and in M. Ostermeier's “Sagewood,” the combination of shuddering organ and chiming guitar shadings recalls Labradford's and Klimek's (pre-Anticipate) output. All of it's worth your time, but perhaps Advent 's loveliest piece is “Siskiyou” by [ parvoart ] newcomer R. Kitch, which blends two plaintive guitar lines into a soothing, tremolo-laden pas de deux. Certainly one of the things that most stands out is how well the pieces, despite some key differences between them, blend together to form a unified whole. Each seems to flow into the next, and Advent comes to be heard as a multi-part suite as opposed to separate, unrelated pieces.

April 2010