Kit Downes: Obsidian

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Avant Jazz / Free Improvisation / Avant-Garde
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opakowanie: plastikowe etui

Opis wydawcy:
Wydany w 2015 roku, debiutancki album kolektywu Time Is A Blind Guide był zarazem debiutem pianisty Kita Downesa w szeregach ECM.

Krążek ten sprawił, że młody pianista został okrzyknięty jednym z największych jazzowych talentów przez krytyków na całym świecie.

Choć jego album ma raczej mało wspólnego z tradycyjnie pojmowanym jazzem, nie ulega wątpliwości, iż muzykę tę mógł nagrać jedynie improwizator o bardzo wyrafinowanej wrażliwości. Wrażliwość tą kształtowały rozmaite muzyczne doświadczenia - Downes próbował swoich sił między innymi jako organista kościelny.

Ostatnio, zainteresowany eksplorowaniem ich możliwości brzmieniowych, artysta powrócił do gry na organach. W listopadzie ubiegłego roku producent Sun Chung wybrał się z Downesem do trzech angielskich kościołów – Jana Chrzciciela i św. Edmunda w Suffolk oraz Union Chapel Church w londyńskim Islington.

Wszystkie trzy posiadają diametralnie różną akustykę, a przede wszystkim – organy o zupełnie odmiennej charakterystyce brzmieniowej. Downes w niezwykle kreatywny sposób bada każdy z tych wspaniałych instrumentów. Choć Obsidian to solowe dzieło Kita Downesa, w jednym z utworów dołącza do niego saksofonista tenorowy Tom Challenger.

Editor's Info:
Kit Downes’s previous ECM appearance was as pianist on the debut recording of Time Is A Blind Guide in 2015 and he’s critically-regarded as one of the UK’s outstanding young jazz talents. This recording however has little to do with “jazz”, although it could only have been made by an improviser of subtle sensibilities. Some of Downes’s earliest musical experiences were as a church organist and in recent years he has been revisiting the instrument, exploring its sonic possibilities and idiosyncrasies, in improvisations both melodic and textural. In November 2016 producer Sun Chung followed Downes to three English churches – the Snape Church of John the Baptist and Bromeswell St Edmund Church – both in Suffolk – and Union Chapel Church in Islington, London. These are very different acoustic spaces housing organs of very different characters which Downes investigates creatively. Alone for most of the album he is joined on one piece (“Modern Gods”) by frequent improvising partner Tom Challenger (tenor sax).
In 2013, pianist/organist Kit Downes, along with saxophonist Tomas Challenger, released Wedding Music (Loop Records) featuring Downes on the B-3 organ at Huddersfield University's St Paul's Church. That recording was moored in an ethereal setting that gave it an ambient, but stately quality and the duo reunited under similar conditions for Vyamanikal (Slip Imprint, 2016). In both cases the music focused more on the transparency of resonance rather than the structure of the pieces. Downes' ECM debut, Obsidian, returns him to the church organ though the formations of the music are often more defined here.

On this solo recording (with the exception of a single track) Downes utilizes organs at three UK locations, London's Union Chapel, St. John's in Snape and St. Edmund's Church in Bromeswell. As explained in the liner notes, Downes long fascination with the organ extended to his transformational wish to play on these different instruments and find a way to have them communicate with each other. Certainly, each has individual characteristics and a unique voice that may be apparent when listening in the context that Downes has laid out.

Downes wrote eight of the ten pieces on Obsidian. "Kings," "Bone Gambler" and "The Gift" have a distinct hymnal qualities, the latter of the three with a dark Celtic quality as well. "The Gift"—which closes the album—is based on a composition by Downes' father. "Seeing Things" and "Flying Foxes" are freely improvised and lighter feeling pieces. "Modern Gods" is the only piece on which Challenger appears and it is an offbeat mix of long tenor lines and bubbling output from the organ, upbeat and ominous at the same time, it is oddly appealing. Challenger co-wrote the piece with Downes. Not surprisingly, given the dynamics of the church organ, "Ruth's Song for the Sea" and "Last Leviathan" emanate with a dignified sadness as does the traditional Scottish composition "Black Is the Colour."

Downes' creative approach on Obsidian ranges from singular spontaneous improvisations to multiple reassembled improvisations, to building on—and around—concepts. A key inspiration is French composer and organist Olivier Messiaen who Downes explains ..."blends the sounds of the instrument to give real form and colour to the performance. You can be both an improviser and an orchestrator in the moment." Messiaen, in fact, rejected much of the analytical terminology of music suggesting that there is only music with, or without, color. Downes has taken that to heart on this beautiful collection and he has plans to expand on his use of the organ in a future project. Obsidian is highly recommended.

Kit Downes: Organ [Pipe Organs]
Tom Challenger: Tenor Saxophone (tracks: 5)

1. Kings 06:15
2. Black is the colour 03:58
3. Rings of Saturn 06:09
4. Seeing things 02:13
5. Modern gods 04:30
6. The bone gambler 04:33
7. Flying foxes 03:11
8. Ruth's song for the sea 05:27
9. Last Leviathan 06:19
10. The gift 03:03

wydano: 2018-01-19
nagrano: Recorded November 2016, St John, Snape, Suffolk, St Edmund, Bromeswell, Suffolk, Union Chapel, London

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