Dawid Frydryk/Thanos Chrysakis/Adrian Northover/Sue Lynch/Edward Lucas

January 13, 2022

Five Shards
Aural Terrains TRRN 146

Ignaz Schick Electroacoustic Sextet
The Return of the Old School
Zarek 17

Combining the textures of programmed electronics and other instruments has become a commonplace strategy in this century. To do so properly though, demands a sophisticated understanding of acoustic and circuit-controlled properties. These sessions are archetypes of those qualities, though the organizer of each intersects with others om different circles. A pianist, laptop and synthesizer player, Thanos Chrysakis is a Greek-born, Belarus-based composer, whereas Berlin based Ignaz Schick is a sound and visual artist who usually plays turntables, sampler and live-electronics, though on this CD he returns to the saxophone and flute.

Electronics on The Return of the Old School are the purview of Toshi Nakamura’s no-input mixer, Matrta Zapporoli’s tapes and electronics plus Werner Dafeldecker’s tape delay and signal generators. Dafeldecker who also plays guitar here is joined by percussionist Paul Lovens, trombonist Matthias Müller and Schick. Five Shards consists of one fewer player than the other disc, but only Chrysakis and trumpeter Dawid Frydryk who uses a voice processor are plugged in. Acoustic textures come from Edward Lucas’ trombone, Sue Lynch’s tenor saxophone and flute and Adrian Northover’s soprano saxophone. Considering Chrysakis lived in the UK from 1998 to 2014 it’s no surprise the other players are British.

Schick who has worked with everyone from Charlemagne Palestine to Burkhard Beins, acquits himself quite well as a saxophonist, frequently blending soggy air and clarion smears with trombone croaks and gargles. Meanwhile Lovens’ rim snaps, intermittent cymbal clangs and irregular patterning sets up the acoustic part of the performance. Mostly in isolation however, since as intensity mounts, stop-start electronic drones, whooshes and glides insinuate themselves within the sound field. Reaching the second section, tape flanges accelerate along with voice samples and synthesized noises, adumbrating layered percussion pitter patter, saxophone split tones and brass blats that then arise from the swirling synthesis. After a pause, the concluding sequence divides the landscape between distant trombone and saxophone squeals and dial-twisting radio wave static, buzzes and burps. The program climaxing as a European police siren cuts through designated percussion popping.

Recorded six years later, Five Shards’ advanced and enhanced computer technology allows Chrysakis’ to alone create contrapuntal electronic motifs to blend with dynamic cries, puffs and peeps from the four horn players. As well the properties of the machines allow for synthesized percussion breaks to be added to the tracks with underlying cracks, pops, resounds and splatters. The introduction to “Shard II” in fact resembles a bizarre duet between Christmas bells and soprano saxophone trills. Although Lynch’s yearning flute creates a melodic sub theme throughout the suite. it’s Lucas’ blustery trombone which stands out. His circus music-like vibrations and tongue slurs are a constant among fading in-and-out-of-aural focus programmed drones on that track. Similarly his low-pitched lowing combines with reed sucking and bites to define “Shard III”. With Chrysakis creating both a synthesized ostinato and processional piano comping, the horns line a spectrum of sounds to intersect with the keyboard output as that track become louder and more atonal half way through.

Although the program is conclusively defined by a brief coda that blends ring modulator gonging plus aviary reed and brass peeps, the defining and longest track is “Shard IV”, Overcoming computer rumbles as raw air is pushed through the gurgling horns, a lyrical interlude is set up between Lynch and Frydryk, only to be swiftly dissolved as no-valve brass affiliated multiphonic puffs, honks and yodels give way to a conclusive timbral blend that is simultaneously acoustic and processed.

Closely following the electro-acoustic program through from beginning to end on these sessions is ultimately more rewarding than expecting to find spectacular highlights.

–Ken Waxman

Track Listing: Return: 1. Old School Part 1 2. Old School Part 2

Personnel: Return: Matthias Müller (trombone); Ignaz Schick (alto saxophone, flute); Werner Dafeldecker (guitar, tape delay, signal generators); Paul Lovens (drums, percussion): Toshi Nakamura (no-input mixer); Matrta Zapparoli (tapes, electronics)

Track Listing: Shards: 1. Shard I 2. Shard II 3. Shard III 4. Shard IV 5. Shard V

Personnel: Shards: Dawid Frydryk (trumpet, TC helicon voicelive 2); Edward Lucas (trombone); Adrian Northover (soprano saxophone); Sue Lynch (tenor saxophone, flute); Thanos Chrysakis (laptop computer, synthesizers, piano)