Thanos Chrysakis, Christian Kobi, Christian Skjødt, Zsolt Sőrés a.k.a Ahad
Duration 50.44 | Released September 2016
Thanos Chrysakis – laptop computer, live electronics
Christian Kobi – soprano saxophone
Christian Skjødt – live electronics and objects
Zsolt Sőrés – 5 string viola, contact microphone, effects,
dissecting tools, sonic objects, voice.
Concert recorded by László Kocsis of the A. E. Produkció (www.aeprodukcio.hu) on the 17th of October 2014 at the Műcsarnok – Kunsthalle in Budapest as part of the Sound Art exhibition ‘On the Edge of Perceptibility’.
Edited & Mastered by CHRISTIAN SKJØDT
Between November – December 2015 at Tonometer Studio, Copenhagen.
About the Artists
Thanos Chrysakis’ output consists of composition, performance, and installation. He was born in Athens in 1971. After residing in the UK between 1998–2014 he moved in 2015 to Belarus.
With several albums to his name his work has appeared in festivals and events in several countries, including CYNETart Festival, Festspielhaus Hellerau – Dresden, Diapason Gallery – New York, XXII “Sound Ways” International New Music Festival – St Petersburg, Spektrum – Berlin, Artus Contemporary Arts Studio – Budapest, CRUCE Gallery – Madrid, Fylkingen – Stockholm, Relative (Cross) Hearings festival – Budapest, ZEPPELIN festival – Barcelona, Festival Futura 2013 – Crest-Drôme, XIII Festival Internacional de Música Nueva – Monterrey, Areté Gallery – Brooklyn-New York, Nádor Terem – Budapest, Utzon Centre – Aalborg, Oosterkerk – Amsterdam, Störung festival – Barcelona, Fabricca del Vapore – Milan, Center for New Music – San Francisco, Västerås Konstmuseum –Västerås, BMIC Cutting Edge concert series - The Warehouse – London.
His music has been also frequently aired by RAI Radio 3, BBC Radio 3, Radio Portugal Antenna 2, Radio Nacional de España, FM Brussel, Polskie Radio (Warsaw), Elektramusic (Strasbourg), Undae! Radio and Onda Sonora - Radio Circulo de Bellas Artes (CBA) (Madrid). He composes for electronic and acoustic instruments as well environmental sounds, focusing on the structural, aesthetic and transfigured capacity of sonic matter.
His work was amongst the selected works at the International Competition de Musique et d'Art Sonore Electroacoustiques de Bourges 2005, in the category œuvre d'art sonore électroacoustique, while received an honorary mention in 2006 at the 7th International Electroacoustic Competition Musica Viva in Lisbon.
Christian Kobi was born in Berne (Switzerland). Studied classical music at the Hochschule für Musik in Basel with further studies undertook in Paris (Cité Internationale des Arts), Lucerne (postgraduate degree) and Zurich (Master of Music in Performance) in the fields of improvisation and contemporary composition.
Numerous appearances at home and abroad, solo and together with various improvising music ensembles in Australia, USA, Japan, UK, Lebanon etc.
2004 Founder and artistic director of »zoom in«, a festival for improvised music at Berne Minster.
2006 Co-founder of the new music label «CUBUS RECORDS».
2012/13 Artistic director of Szofa Budapest (supported by Pro Helvetia)
His music is available on several recordings. His latest is the 2013 album r a w l i n e s (bdta Poland) .
Christian Skjødt (b.1980) is a Danish artist and composer who explores the temporal and spatial aspects, as well the physicality of sound and aesthetics of noise.
His installatory works are often site-specific and deal with enhancement of the unheard and hidden. With a frequent use of repetition and seriality he creates immersive and responsive environments exploring translations of chosen physical phenomena into sound. In a live performance setting he currently employs self-built electronic and electro-acoustic instruments with nonlinear capabilities and/or amplified object-based performance, where he investigates the sonic possibilities of various materials.
Besides his solo career he has taken part in numerous collaborations, working interdisciplinary in the fields of composition, installation, theatre, dance and performance. He is also the founder and curator of the vinyl imprint Tonometer, objectifying exploratory sounds and music.
Christian Skjødt currently lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark, and holds a Master's degree from the Royal Academy of Music in Denmark. He has done exhibitions at Overgaden - Institute of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen (2016); A plus A Gallery, Venice (2015); Museum of Contemporary Art, Denmark (2015); Műcsarnok Kunsthalle Budapest (2014); Cruce Contemporáneo, Madrid (2014); 68 Square Metres, Copenhagen (2013), and participated in sound art festivals like Spor, Aarhus (2016), Üle Heli, Tallinn (2015); Sound Reasons, New Delhi (2015); Skan II / Skanu Mežs, Riga (2014); Verona Risuona (2012); GAS, Göteborg (2012); Ostrava Days, Czech Republic (2011).
Zsolt Sőrés is an improviser, electroacoustic, experimental and noise musician and composer, sound artist, editor and curator. His music is characterized by formation strategies, immediate transitions and the use of unstable acoustic sources which can develop towards a sound economy. He is interested in the dramaturgy of the specific and a sense of suspension in sound perception and production.
Current projects: duo with Jean-Hervé Péron Art-Errorist (Faust), Inconsolable Ghost (w/ Hilary Jeffery, Gideon Kiers and others), Ahad & ChrS (w/ Christian Skjødt), collaborations w/ Franz Hautzinger (since 2000), I Belong to the Band (w/ Adam Bohman, Oli Mayne, Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg), ZSB (w/ Richard Barrett, Milana Zarić), duo with Christian Kobi (and a trio w/ him and Tim Hodgkinson), Sonic Mountain (w/ Christian Kobi, Klaus Filip, Franz Hautzinger, Tomas Korber, Hans Koch, Thomas Peter, Taku Sugimoto).
Since 2015 he is a member of the HYPERION International Ensemble (Artistic Directors : Ana-Maria Avram, Iancu Dumitrescu).
In 2012 he was the Hungarian curator of the Sound Exchange – Experimental Music Cultures in Central and Eastern Europe project while in 2014 Sőrés curated the first collective international sound installation exhibition in Hungary called On the Edge of Perceptibility – Sound Art at Kunsthalle, Budapest.
Exclaim! magazine — Glenn Hall — 30 September 2016
The process of composing music, generally, is autocratic: "This is what I want; play these notes." But the burgeoning free improvisation scene has put the emphasis on "distributed creativity." Each member of an ensemble composes her/his own part, in real time. In jazz improvisation, musicians know the melodies, harmonies and rhythms in advance and use them as the basis of the performance, but free improvisers engage in a process of discovery; they feel their way, exploring sounds and textures by real-time experimentation.
The four musicians who created the two extended tracks on Carved Water have left instrumental virtuosity behind. Instead, they engage something like what the late Pauline Oliveros termed "Deep Listening." Each musician uses his listening sensitivity to meld with or differentiate from the others, to increase or decrease dynamics and densities, to make textures smooth or coarse, to extend tones or create rhythmic or arrhythmic patterns.
The music was created for the Sound Art exhibition "On the Edge of Perceptibility" in Budapest. Thanos Chrysakis (laptop, live electronics), Christian Kobi (soprano saxophone), Christian Skjødt (objects, live electronics) and Zsolt Sőrés (five-string viola, contact mic, tools) weave ever-changing complexities that are mysterious and ineffable.
Drama yields to quiescence and reverses. Sources of sounds are inscrutable. Whispers, scrapes, rumbles, clicks, drones, screeches, taps, clouds of noise — all this draws the listener in. One's rapt attention is richly rewarded.
Darren Bergstein — The Squid's Ear — 01.08.2017
Thanos Chrysakis and the musically empathic souls that populate his esteemed Aural Terrains imprint might be considered renegades in their respective field, spread across a vast landscape of improvisers mining a virtually infinite gulf of electroacoustic sound design. Many play in this field, and with varying degrees of artistic and aesthetic success; Chrysakis at this point has built up a body of work that can quite rightly assume the same venerated mantle as forebears AMM/Keith Rowe, MEV, Evan Parker, et al. He finds common coin in electroacoustic improv's recognized syntax, but an unabashed passion and zeal for experimentation never ceases to immerse, amaze, and simultaneously filibuster any specific categorical identity.
Recorded live in Budapest in 2014, this particular quartet of players Chrysakis has assembled for Carved Water are no less impressive, their skills bent massive as they tease out the opening ideas from "Part 1"s near-forty minute sprawl. As with the finer electroacoustic exercises, sonic attributes blur, instrument characteristics are rendered indistinct, and the parts become wholly subservient to the greater whole. Christian Kobi's saxophonic discharges are nearly indistinguishable from the galvanizing effects realized by cohorts Chrysakis, Zsolt Sorés, and Christian Skjødt, but within such minutiae resides the crux of the dynamic systems at play here. Might there be a randomness to the soundscape as it develops? Or is there an essential logic providing the impetus? Paradoxically, perhaps incongruously, both — it's to the improviser's credit that the slowly gestating textures are birthed instantly from the ether yet command our attention so bracingly. There's a surety of purpose here, a dedication towards a 'goal' of sorts, to realizing an aural sculpture from but pigment into a tactile form. This is a work that convulses, breathes, and literally cries out at points in an almost retaliatory manner. Diminutive electronic tones aerate the stereofield like spent fireworks' dying embers; computerized particles splash vividly across landscapes dotted with hairpin viola strikes and the course of air interrupted by valve and spittle. Unsettling and alien, the endlessly shifting structure remains so indefinable that it attains a different luster each time it is experienced.
"Part II" can only feel like postscript after its predecessor's absolute intent. But this is hardly the case. The quartet aren't finished ripping open the heavens to circumnavigate their wealth of approaches and concepts, building upon the earlier piece in a way that doesn't render this second chapter anticlimactic. Kobi's saxophone gets quite the workout, broadly augmented by Skjødt and Sorés's palpable handstrikes across objects found and confounded. Behind it all, Chrysakis wrestles savage glee from both touchpad and circuitry, glitches scattered through a labyrinth of reflective silicon that oozes a near-tangible, preening menace. Consider this fab four interlocutors of process, singing the body electric.
Orynx— Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg —11.12.2016
Aural Terrains est le label du compositeur, improvisateur et artiste sonore Thanos Chrysakis. Carved Water rassemble les efforts conjugués de Thanos Chrysakis, ici au laptop computer et live electronics, du Suisse Christian Kobi au sax soprano, du Danois Christian Skjødt aux live electronics and objects et du Hongrois Zsolt Sörés qui truste l’alto à cinq cordes, contact microphone, effects, dissecting tools, sonic objects et voix. Tour à tour dense, complexe, détaillé, minimaliste, contrasté ou hyperactif, ce quartet soudé explore les extrêmes des sons électroniques/ électroacoustiques provenant de techniques et de sources diversifiées élaborant un véritable voyage au travers de paysages sonores d’une grande richesse au niveau des textures, des timbres, des fréquences, des dynamiques. Kobi altère la voix du saxophone soprano pour le transformer en objet sonore s’intégrant parfaitement avec la nature des sons du groupe en utilisant des techniques alternatives cohérentes. Un nombre de plus en plus grand de musiciens se consacrent à cette démarche électronique bruitiste et Carved Water en est une superbe démonstration. Certains albums représentatifs servent souvent de documentation/ carte de visite dans le but de convaincre un éventuel organisateur de concerts. Vu la production pléthorique d’enregistrements (cfr le Creative Sources), on aurait tendance à ranger ce cd dans la pile des « écoutés une fois ». Mais la qualité, la variété des sons, leurs occurrences et transformations au fil de la performance (Opening Concert at the international sound installation exhibition ‘On the Edge of Perceptibility – Sound Art’ 1. Part 1 39:04 2. 11:40 Kunsthalle Budapest) font de ce disque une manière de manifeste. Un sens de la dérive et de la construction simultanées. Remarquable !!
[published also in the Improjazz magazine 243]
Robert Muis — Gonzo Magazine — 26.03.2017
Bij Aural Terrains is recent de cd ‘Carved Water’ van Thanos Chrysakis, Christian Kobi, Christian Skjødt en Zsolt Sőres verschenen. Het betreft de opname van een optreden dat dit internationale gezelschap ruim twee jaar geleden gaf in Boedapest, in het kader van de geluidskunstexpositie ‘On The Edge Of Perceptibility’. Het kwartet trad aan met nogal een arsenaal aan geluidsbronnen, dat – afgaande op de registratie - ten volle is benut. Chrysakis (laptop, live elektronica), Kobi (sopraansaxofoon),Skjødt (objecten, live elektronica) en Sőres (altviool, contactmicrofoon, objecten, gereedschappen) horen we hier in ruim vijftig minuten abstracte klanklandschappen bouwen, verdeeld over twee stukken. Het zijn volledig vrije improvisaties, zonder (vooraf vastgelegde) structuren. Ritmische patronen zijn zeldzaam, melodieen hoeft de luisteraar zeker niet op te wachten. Wat het viertal hier doet, is naar elkaar luisteren en op elkaar reageren, meegaan in een idee of juist er iets tegenover stellen en zo een dynamiek creëren die het gezelschap voortdrijft. Zwaar overstuurde ratelende en ritselende klanken volgen op de met veel lucht bespeelde sax, een stotterend akoestisch geluid wordt overgenomen door hortende elektronica. En zoals vaak bij dergelijke collectieve, vrije improvisaties: volle en chaotische klinkende passages wisselen af met kalme, haast peinzende momenten. De twee stukken van respectievelijk circa veertig en elf minuten bieden een rijke en gedetailleerde klankkwereld. De luisteraar die zich met open geest laat meeslepen langs de auditieve rotsen en velden, bergwanden en dalen zal veel moois ontdekken.
Aural Terrains recently released the CD Carved Water by Thanos Chrysakis, Christian Kobi, Christian Skjødt and Zsolt Sőres. It is the recording of a performance two years ago, when this international ensemble played in Budapest, on the occasion of the sound art exhibition ‘On the edge of Perceptibility.’ The quartet used a huge variety of sound sources, that were used in full, if you consider the recording. We hear Chrysakis (laptop, live electronics), Kobi (sopran, saxophone),Skjødt (objects, live electronics) en Sőres (alt violin, contact microphones, objects, tools) built fifty minutes of abstract soundscapes, divided over two pieces. These are fully free improvisations, without (pre-conditioned) structures. Rhythmic patterns are scarce; the listener shouldn’t wait for melodies. The foursome are listening and reacting to each other. They go with an idea, or put something that opposes it. In this way they create a dynamics that pushes the ensemble. Heavily distorted rattling and rustling sounds follow up to a sax played with a lot of air; a stammering acoustic sound gets taken over by faltering electronics. And as is often the case with these collective free improvisations: full and chaotic sounding episodes are followed by calm, almost reflective moments. The two pieces of forty and eleven minutes offer a rich and detailed sound world. The listener who, with open mind, lets himself lead through a landscape of auditory rocks and fields, mountainsides and valleys will discover a lot of beauty.
[translated by Rinus van Alebeek]
Todd McComb — Jazz Thoughts — 11.01.2017
I've been mentioning water in this space regularly of late, and so discussing Carved Water, the new quartet album from Thanos Chrysakis & Aural Terrains (designed by Carlos Santos, who does most of the graphic design for Creative Sources), seems like a great way to (perhaps obliquely) continue exploring such ideas. It was recorded in Budapest in October 2014, and besides Chrysakis on laptop & electronics, features Swiss soprano sax player Christian Kobi, also recently featured on the soprano sax quartet album Cold Duck with John Butcher et al. (as discussed here last January), Danish drummer & lighting artist Christian Skjødt(b.1980), and Hungarian violist Zsolt Sörés (b.1969).
I had speculated that Kobi had initiated Cold Duck, and his soprano articulations — with some tonguing "ostinati" particularly standing out — often form the raw material for the electronics artists in the improvising quartet on Carved Water. According to his site, Skjødt's work involves relations of memory, becoming imperceptible, autonomous systems, physics, etc. Sörés writes of "formation strategies and immediate transitions," & about developing a "sound economy" — language that resonates with me — the temporality of which is explored e.g. via simultaneously looping slower & faster. This is a sophisticated quartet of improvisers, then, taking up many of the broad themes of contemporary art & life: In part, they say they're seeking to bring social interaction back into music, to make composing less autocratic. The latter, of course, is another persistent theme, and Carved Water is an admirably coherent essay in these ideas. In fact, it derives from a sound installation exhibit (otherwise featuring Hans Koch & Jon Rose, among others) called "On the Edge of Perceptibility," which would seem to suggest exactly the sorts of interrogations of audibility that have sometimes frustrated me in this space. However, although Carved Water does reward close attention & active listening, particularly as sounds move across the sound stage, I don't feel the frustration of things going inaudible. (That's not to say it doesn't happen, but the frustration isn't there. It's an enjoyable album to hear throughout.) Perhaps this reflects Skjødt's priority that it be "impossible to stand at a distance" (or indeed his work in lighting), but it must also reflect Chrysakis's keen sense of form & balance. I most recently discussed his music in this space (in September 2015) in connection with Exaíphnes, a brief string quintet (in the same sense that Boule-spiele is a string trio) album on Creative Sources with Ernesto & Guilherme Rodrigues: Exaíphnes, whose evocations of suddenness might be said to reflect concerns different from a sound installation, often presents ringing tones amid a classical sense of form. It was actually recorded three months after Carved Water, countering the latter's emphasis not so much on clear tones, but on static itself as a building block — an emphasis that is likewise being explored by many musicians around the world today. Such an emphasis on static, albeit often highly attenuated (i.e. as it blurs into repeated tonguing), plus the various creaking & fluttering, often makes for a stormy piece — perhaps itself a gross invocation of water. The sound combinations consequently vary, are sometimes quite assertive, but aren't overwhelming (at least in my opinion), i.e. they retain a sense of balance that seems to characterize Chrysakis's music more broadly. Invoking water thus suggests not only the "clouds" of some other recent (especially Portuguese) music, but how that water might move otherwise, whether through the scarcity of Drought, or e.g. the temporal geological formations of Carlo Costa's work on Sediment or Strata. Indeed, aren't the latter often carved? Here we might consider less the "artifacts" of the action of water than the act of sculpting itself, a kind of liquid sculpting that crystallizes into a sound installation (or onto a CD!): Moreover, the sound installation concept attempts (per the Budapest show in general) to interrogate "applications of the medium of sound in visual arts." I might reframe this priority (as I have previously) as an interrogation of presence, and so one might ask, how does an album such as this problematize the border between attention & background listening? Do sound installations suggest background listening? It seems to me that problematizing foreground attention brings, as a consequence, an ability to query the relations of "use" in such a setting: I've asked before, but is this music useful? What does that mean? One thing a sound installation might be said to do is reconfigure one's perceptions of a physical space, and this is how I met it in architecture: Something like the massive triple album — and RIP to inimitable icon Pauline Oliveros — Phase/transitions arises out of these concerns (and in that case, moves on to concerns of forging space over considerable distance, among other things), and one might even note its very stormy, similar sense of drone to that on Carved Water. Particularly given the many previous collaborations between Chrysakis & Wade Matthews, perhaps the most similar album to my ear is Primary Envelopment, an album that might also be said to invoke water at times (at least now that I'm listening for that theme): Carved Water doesn't have so much in the way of (piercing?) extremes, confining itself (one might say) to the actual space of an installation & not its enclosure or modes of escape... despite arising from investigations on the edge of perceptibility — and does physical inaudibility become a sort of proxy for "difficulty" in music in such a setting? — and might be said to have a more concrete (even creaturely, immanent to the industrial sounds) presence in this sense, whereas Primary Envelopment becomes about finding oneself amid various external sources & forces. (One can also compare to Matthews' installation-tinged album with Israeli sound artists, Growing carrots in a concrete floor, again with its interrogation of pitch & boundaries: In other words, one might note that the high pitches initiating the album tend to blur location, and so enable the installation to escape its own space.) Finally, another clear sonic comparison for me isWhitewashed with lines, both for its similar mix of ensemble timbre & its invocation of "process:" Carving water, at least in its liquid state, would seem to be quite a process, whether electronic or not. (Sounds flow, perhaps in more than one direction.) There are many recent albums that might be described in some combination of terms similar to what I've used here (i.e. process, static, sound art, etc.), so perhaps what stands out most for me is the elegance of Carved Water, the extent to which an improvising quartet using such far-flung (yet in some ways very ordinary) elements can achieve such a "perfectly" balanced — yet thoroughly questioning — result. And so a final pair of questions: How does a sound installation, of all things, become sufficiently dissociated from its own space such that it can become a successful "installation" somewhere else, many places else via recording? What does perfection mean in such a (liquid) context? Perhaps it's a matter of using static to blur specificity (of place, in effect to defocus the background), i.e. perfect vagueness. And perhaps invoking (vague) elegance makes little sense when the second (shorter) track is dominated by what might be described as an extended raspberry, but such is the economy of attention forged in transition between larger- & smaller-scale elements by this surprisingly satisfying album. (Or maybe after all this water, I'm just wet.)
Martin Lauer — His Voice Magazine — 27.02.2017
Album je rozetnuté na dvě asymetrické části. Stopáž prvního improvizovaného pásma dosahuje úctyhodných 39 minut, v nichž se stáváme účastníky her bez hranic s témbrem: broušení, vrzání, chrčení, foukání, hvízdání a spousty dalších zvukových projevů si razí cestu tichem a důmyslně ho zaplňují hudebním obsahem. Již od začátku nejsme ničeho ušetřeni, do podkladu tvořeného vibrujícími předměty proniká vrzání pětistrunné violy Sörése, glitchové a noisové projevy Skjødta a Chrysakise a přiškrcené zvuky preparovaného soprán saxofonu Christiana Kobiho. Po krátkém odmlčení začíná vše znovu, jen s větší razancí. A poté, zhruba ve 25. minutě nahrávky se tento postup opět zopakuje. Jenže tentokrát se po odmlčení rozpoutává ještě divočejší zvuková alchymie. Přefuky a pokvikávání saxofonu tu doplňuje nahodilé skřípání strun a jízlivé vlny elektroniky, které nás v zápětí hodí do dosti tísnivého ambientního rauše. První track alba poté zakončuje kerbajovské pobublávání Kobiho sopránsaxofonu.Album Carved Water, které vyšlo loni na značce Aural Terrains nabízí záznam z koncertu kvartetu k příležitosti soundartové výstavy „On the Edge of Perceptibility“ uspořádané v budapeštském Paláci umění v roce 2014. Už svým názvem tento počin naznačuje amorfnost, neforemnost a proměnlivost a jeho následné hudební provedení představuje jakousi primitivní zvukovou matérii, která ovšem při poslechu nabývá neslýchané sofistikovanosti.
Druhý track na CD se nese na poměrně podobné vlně, jen je na něm vše v nahuštěnější podobě, což je dáno jeho podstatně kratší délkou necelých dvanácti minut. Sörésovy výboje na pětistrunnou violu začínají být divočejší a více prodchnuté elektronikou a Kobiho saxofon zase kvílivější a průraznější. Ty doplňuje chvění a chroupání různých zvukových objektů, jakož i elektronické zvukové manipulace s nečekanými dunivými údery.
Kvartetu se daří pohybovat v úctyhodném dynamickém rozpětí, zejména co se týče spodní hranice hlasitosti, a místy se dostává až na samotnou úroveň slyšitelnosti, kdy musíme vážně dost napínat uši nebo otáčet volume doprava. Hutné prolínání elektronických i instrumentálních hudebních projevů je dovedeno až na úroveň, kdy jedna rovina nejde od druhé rozeznat. Co jiného by však mělo být kýženým cílem takovéto elektroakustické formace? Oslava společného zvukového souznění zavrhující puntíčkářskou diskriminaci a kategorizaci.
Eyal Hareuveni — Free Jazz Blog — 16.02.2018