steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Hannes Löschel

"Messages" CD


Genres: chamber pieces, contemporary classical, experimental

visit artist's website

Feb 17 - 23 2003

The basis for Messages is simple - the tracks seek to convey the world of the answering machine - for which there is an entire life of hang-ups and telephone clicks surrounding the few actual messages.  This theme is expressed through four chamber pieces, three of them over ten minutes long and the fourth at eight and a half.  The atmosphere shared by the compositions is very mysterious and eerie, yet intensely compelling.

"No Message" is a dark, haunting composition that makes use of minimal piano keys and dense, strong walls of strings.  The sound is a beautiful one, with a sense of sorrow and loneliness prevalent in the deep music.  Hidden in the mix are the occasional beeps and tones of a telephone - a sound of a hang- up here, a brooding dialtone there; it's a very moody mix.  The piece ends with a slow, dark, bass clarinet signaling the finish.

"Canada ham," then, is still dark, but a bit more lively.  The ambience of the sounds of a background to a message are heard in some parts of the piece; the effect is fantastically mysterious.  The joint melodies of the bass clarinet and violin are beautiful - clearly this was composed with thought and care.  As time progressed, things become more and more chaotic, with a climactic mess of instruments exploding wildly, only to be brought back into context with a stark contrast by a calm piano part.

"Unbehannt" seems even more experimental than the other pieces.  With sporadic outbursts of bass clarinet - sometimes strident - in the foreground, the piece is mysterious and a bit creepy.

"Rückruf," which closes the album off, is a bit faster.  Though it still has a mysterious sound, it's also got a strong rhythm and a sense of velocity that carries it along.  This rhythm is eventually replaced by the bass clarinet, which takes over and drones along for awhile, only to be then replaced by the return of the rhythm section and some fantastic violin-playing courtesy of Joanna Lewis.  The album finally ends on a swift, sudden note.  Fantastic.

Fans of experimental music and contemporary chamber pieces will find a lot to enjoy in Messages.  Recommended.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 4 songs, distributed by the label, released 1999]