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About the Artists

Music for Chamber Organ & Contra Bass Clarinet

Thanos Chrysakis, Chris Cundy

Duration 51.45 | Released November 2015

Recorded on the 28th of June 2014 at the Chapel —

Francis Close Hall Campus — Cheltenham

Edited & Mastered by


Between December 2014 – July 2015

at Meridian Studio.

About the Artists

Thanos Chrysakis is a Greek composer, musician, producer and sound-artist. He is best known for his work in electronic and contemporary music, free improvisation, and electro-acoustic music.

With several albums to his name his work has appeared in festivals and events in numerous countries, including CYNETart Festival, Festspielhaus Hellerau - Dresden, Artus Contemporary Arts Studio – Budapest, CRUCE Gallery – Madrid, Fylkingen – Stockholm, Relative (Cross) Hearings festival – Budapest, Festival Futura – Crest - Drôme, FACT Centre – Liverpool, Association Ryoanji – Ahun - Creuse, The Center for Advanced Musical Studies at Chosen Vale — Hanover - New Hampshire, Areté Gallery — Brooklyn - New York, UC San Diego – California - San Diego, Berner Münster – Bern, Fabbrica del Vapore – Milan, Grünewaldsalen – Svensk Musikvår — Stockholm, Splendor – Amsterdam, Logos Foundation – Ghent, Palacio de Bellas Artes – Mexico City, Műcsarnok Kunsthalle – Budapest, Spektrum – Berlin, Susikirtimai X – Vilnius, Festival del Bosque GERMINAL – Mexico City, ДОМ – Moscow, Oosterkerk – Amsterdam, KLANG ! – Montpellier, Nádor Terem – Budapest, Utzon Centre – Aalborg, Center for New Music – San Francisco, Västerås Konstmuseum – Västerås, Störung festival – Barcelona, BMIC Cutting Edge concert series at The Warehouse – London.

His music was among the selected works at the International Competition de Musique et d'Art Sonore Electroacoustiques de Bourges 2005, in the category oeuvre d'art sonore électroacoustique, while received an honorary mention in 2006 at the 7th International Electroacoustic Competition Musica Viva in Lisbon (the jury was constituted by Morton Subotnick (USA), François Bayle (France), and Miguel Azguime (Portugal).


He operates the Aural Terrains record label since 2007 where he has released part of his work until now, alongside releases by Kim Cascone, Franscisco López, Tomas Phillips, Dan Warburton, Szilárd Mezei, Michael Edwards, Wade Matthews, Dganit Elyakim, Edith Alonso, Luis Tabuenca, Jeff Gburek, Philippe Petit, Steve Noble, Milo Fine and David Ryan among others.


He has written music for musicians of the Hyperion Ensemble, the Stockholm Saxophone Quartet, the Hermes Ensemble, the Nemø Ensemble, the Konus Saxophone Quartett, and the Shadanga Duo among others. Close collaborations with Tim Hodgkinson, Vincent Royer, Chris Cundy, Yoni Silver, Lori Freedman, Jason Alder, Julie Kjaer, Henriette Jensen, William Lang, Wilfrido Terrazas, Philippe Brunet, Wade Matthews, Ernesto Rodrigues, Ove Volquartz to name but a few.

Picture of Thanos Chrysakis

“swirling around the songs was bass clarinet player Chris Cundy, like a birdsong interrupting an argument” -  Los Angeles Times                                                                                                                         

Playing bass clarinet and rarified woodwind instruments Chris Cundy is a composer and performer with a practice rooted in experimental and improvised settings. His work also crosses over into popular music and he has worked with a variety of songwriters and groups including Timber Timbre, Cold Specks (aka Ladan Hussein), Thor & Friends, Baby Dee & Little Annie, and Guillemots.

Growing up in the Medway towns Chris became friends with artist and punk musician Billy Childish who introduced him to the exploits of homemade music-making at an early age. This led to a lasting DIY attitude and by the time he was 12 Chris had already started out as a street performer and busker. After hearing Eric Dolphy's music he took up the bass clarinet. He remains self-taught.

Also a visual artist, Chris studied painting at Cheltenham where he discovered a synergy between drawing practices and improvised music. This led to self-developed playing techniques using multi-phonics, circular breathing, exploring micro tonality and generally speaking a more tactile approach to the instrument. Chris also performs contemporary classical music and has premiered works by Greek composer Thanos Chrysakis. He performs as a soloist and as a member of The Set Ensemble.

He is also involved with theatre music, and recently contributed to an original soundtrack for Florian Zeller's stage play The Mother starring Gina McKee. Chris has performed at Shakespeare's Globe and toured with circus companies NoFit State, and Imagineer.

One off sessions have seen Chris performing alongside Moby, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Lol Coxhill, Vieux Farka Touré, Fatoumata Diawara, Alexander Hawkins, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Lisa Hannigan.

He has released three solo albums, Gustav Lost in 2016 (FMR Records), The Disruptive Forest in 2017 (Confront), and the mini-album Crude Attempt in 2020 (Pressing Records). A further album of acoustic bass clarinet compositions is expected in 2021 titled Of All The Common Flowers.

Picture of Chris Cundy


Massimo Ricci — The Squid's Ear — 15.01.2016

By formally naming this album simply by its instrumentation, Chrysakis and Cundy declare their intention not to provide the listener with clues linking this music to definitions or labels. Even after having glanced at the musicians’ curricula — which include several surprising collaborations — determining a so-called stylistic context for these five tracks remains one of those exercises that render a reviewer’s life a little tougher. At any rate, there are certainties: no pseudo-tunes (or hints thereof), no lines to memorize, no easy concessions. And there’s so much to learn when we finally decide to abandon the “necessity of classification” mental mode, just immersing ourselves in the very sounds. As always, the real teachings are not given by words.

On paper, this timbral pairing might appear a bit problematic. But when an improviser’s inclination respects both the partner(s) and the silence from which everything is born, conflicts vanish, notwithstanding dissonant clusters and clashing harmonics. The introvert character of these pieces is at the same time unambiguous, in that Chrysakis and Cundy know from the beginning where they’re meeting: a place where room exists for a clarinet to express its potential via quivering tones, contingent fragments and jarring metaphrases; where an organ can certainly generate a discordant drone lasting full minutes (“Part III”) while completely erasing the possible liturgical references through the utilization of infrastructural micro-repetitions and hidden patterns. There are no visible handles to grip, and the pages of this imaginary score are turned in the less expected moments. In all cases, when a track ends we feel more puzzled than before.

This uncompromising work grabs the listener's attention through unsuspicious subtleties, spurious vibrations and atypical resonances. In a way, it stimulates a reflection about its bare essence rather than the overall aesthetic value; the latter, however, is also a factor to take into serious consideration. I have properly listened to it a number of times, and the reason of my attraction still can’t be found in the closet of logical constructions.

Jan Faix — His Master Voice — 4.01.2016


Toto je záznam z velice půvabné improvizační session v Chapel - Francis Close Hall Campus v britském Cheltenhamu. V létě nyní již loňského roku se zde sešli dva improvizátoři. Angličan Chris Cundy s kontrabasovým klarinetem a z nynějšího domova v běloruském Minsku přijel a zasedl za varhany světem protřelý řecký rodák Thanos Chrysakis. A tuto akci se jim povedlo výjimečně dobře nahrát.

Varhany zde často fungují jako zdroj táhlých zvuků vysokých i šumivě hlubokých. V danou chvíli volné Chrysakisovy končetiny přitom komunikují s Cundyho kontrabasovým klarinetem pohybujícím se častěji v perkusivnějších zvucích a kratších rytmických hodnotách. Témbrově i dynamicky je vše neustále velmi variabilní. Varhanní zvukové bloky se dějí spíše ve dřevěných rejstřících, monofonní téměř sinusoidové variace na nejvyšších rejstřících tu samozřejmě nechybějí také. Vývoje každého z pěti kusů na CD probíhají různě, někdy více v souladu s moderně vážnohudebním kontextem a s jistou chorálností s maessiaenovskými vlivy, jindy více freejazzově spontánněji a divočeji.

Varhany i kontrabasový klarinet jsou nástroje, které oplývají škálami rejstříků dosti extrémních barev v rámci akustické hudby. Neidiomatické improvizační koncepty sice během nejméně posledních dvou dekád našly a ukázaly podobně všestranné zvukové možnosti u většiny klasických hudebních nástrojů, avšak zrovna tyto dva zde hrající nástroje jsou vnímány jako výjimečné již jaksi tradičně, přestože kontrabasový basklarinet má okolo sebe vybudovaný o něco menší kult. Všech možných extrémních přístupů k těmto nástrojům je tu ovšem zaznamenán dostatek. Je radost poslouchat tyto šťavnaté zvuky od takto skvělých instrumentalistů.

Je také radost slyšet po mnoha nahrávkách na Aural Terrains Thana Chrysakise také konečně akusticky. I při poslechu jeho elektronických kompozic či live-processingů jsem si ho představoval častěji jako takto citlivého varhaníka. Zjevně je mu jedno, zda má před sebou varhany či počítač. A vždy má okolo sebe i špičkové spolupracovníky. Opět skvělá deska z tohoto pozoruhodného labelu.


Eyal Hareuveni — Free Jazz Blog — 15.06.2016

A collaboration between label founder Chrysakis and British experimental composer, reeds, woodwinds player, and painter Chris Cundy (whose artwork used for the cover). The duo was recorded at the chapel Francis Close Hall Campus in Cheltenham on June 2014. Cundy has worked before with master improvisers as pianist John Tilbury and double bass player Dominic Lash and has performed with eclectic musicians as the DJ Moby and guitarist-songwriter Vieux Farka Touré.

The two offer a five-part minimalist sound-poem where the deep-toned voicing of the bass clarinet assimilates with the sonic spectrum of the pipe organ, and vice versa, until both instruments transform into some kind of abstract sound generators. The distinct timbral colors of the bass clarinet sound now as resonating, vibrating and extending the suspended, meditative playing of the organ. This kind of focused, complementary interplay stresses the contemplative and subtle spirit of this recording, creating a coherent sonic unity.

Skug Magazine — 20.01.2016


Ich habe nichts gegen Instrumentalerkundungen, aber als Rezensent beschränke ich mich lieber auf Tonträger, die mir ein wenig mehr ans Herz gehen. Es gibt so viele Releases, da fehlt die Zeit, sich einer CD zu widmen, auf der zwei Herren, wir sprechen in diesem Fall von Thanos Chrysakis und Chris Cundy und ihr Werk »Music for Chamber Organ & Contra Bass Clarinet« (Aural Terrains), ziemlich gehörig ihre Instrumente malträtieren, um in erster Linie Klangräume zu erkunden und diese in quasi suchender Improvisation zum Überlappen, Interagieren, Exaltieren zu bringen. Wobei es in diesem Fall um die Kombination einer Kammerorgel mit einer Kontrabassklarinette geht. Das erzeugt durchaus großartige Momente, aber es ist trotzdem so, als würde man seine Hand erst durch ein dissonantes Erdloch wühlen, vorbei an einer Schlangengrube monoton stehender Sounds, bis schließlich doch unerwartetes Hörfutter abfällt. Das Problem an der Sache ist, dass es so viele einschlägige Releases auf diesem Sektor gibt, und ja, alle haben sich das Prädikat »kompromisslos« verdient, und ja, oft sind die Ausführenden nicht weniger kompetent wie Chrysakis und Cundy, beide fähige Komponisten und Improvisatoren zugleich übrigens, aber nein, nicht immer ist die gewählte Klangkombination so lohnend wie hier. Trotzdem ein eher magerer Lohn selbst für geneigte Fans der Experimentalmusik, aber weil es Thanos Chrysakis ist, und weil seine letzten beiden Werke kleine Meisterwerke zeitgenössischer Elektroakustik waren, darum ein »one more time for Thanos« an dieser Stelle.

Guillaume Belhomme © Le son du grisli - 18.01.2016


Le titre est clair, qui dit à quels instruments on trouve ici Thanos Chrysakis et Chris Cundy – auteurs, avec le guitariste James O’Sullivan, d’Asphodels Abide – sur ce disque enregistré à l’été 2014.

Un orgue de salon et une clarinette contrebasse, donc, au son desquels le duo tourne d’abord en rond – le reproche est le même que celui d’hier, et l’on craint un temps la rencontre informelle et le disque creux – avant que Chrysakis cesse de pianoter dans le vide et dépose un bourdon.

Peut-être pour ne plus avoir à faire acte de présence, le voilà travaillant à autre chose : deux ou trois notes qu’il répète, un accord qu’il étouffe et puis étoffe aussi dans le secret. De seconde en minutes, la discrétion le gagne. Cundy, lui, se laisse aller à une improvisation qui vrille et dérape souvent. Bientôt, les idées qu’il remue ont donc raison de l’orgue.