afarOne – Lucen
Stefan Ruggeri is a classically trained pianist “with a core of teenage rebellion, and a love for rock’n’roll.”
“I was used to going to the conservatory with Pearl Jam on the headphones and, a few seconds later, trying to climb to an impervious prelude of Rachmaninov”.
As afarOne, he has been working for three years on his debut release “Lucen“, recently released by German label Karl Records.
“Lucen“ is one of those albums that immediately stand out on the very first listen – the kind that get stuck on ‘repeat’ almost automatically.
The piano is Stefan‘s main instrument, and the way the notes are embedded in the subtle electronic background is somewhat reminiscent of the music of Murcof .
Some of the bright piano sounds (on “Gordon” for instance) feel like if they have been taken directly from Arvo Pärt‘s “Für Alina” yet placed in an entirely different context.
But Ruggeri is not “just copying” these styles, he definitely creates his own here, using his musical education to create subtle moods and compositions, combining the acoustic piano with layered string sounds and glitchy rhythm tracks.
Although the cover image suggests a rather dark mood, whether you perceive this music as ‘dark’ of ‘light’ will probably depend on how you feel yourself. The tracks manage to be ‘dark’ and ‘somewhat threatening’ while at the same time ‘light-hearted’ and ‘optimistic’.
Some artists stand out from the crowd; some albums just jump out from the pile –“Lucen“ is definitely one of those albums.
AfarOne – Gordon
Murcof – Cosmos
2005’s Remembranza was a remarkable release, partly because the warm organic sound that made the music feel quite different. Cosmos has the same sound detail, but it sounds less melancholic and more dark and threatening.
Of course, with a theme and title like this it’s no wonder it sounds like some retro-futuristic science-fiction movie soundtrack. Murcof sets himself a high standard, partly referring to to the great modern composers such as Pärt and Ligeti. The heavy crescendo’s will not appeal to everyone I guess: this is NOT ‘drone’ ambient – No chance to softly dream away.
Still, he’s living up to his reputation easily, settling himself firmly between the great artists of this genre.
BTW – Murcof will be headlining the Interzone Ambient Festival in Utrecht on September, 26.
Interzone Ambient Festival + Cluster concert
It’s been quite some time since my latest post to this weblog. Holiday time, the obligatory holiday trips …I obviously had a hard time…
But the new season has a promising start:
If you live near Utrecht, Holland you should keep an eye on the following events
(and if you don’t live in Holland but are interested still, keep an ear on the FOLIO webstream as linked below):
- Interzone Ambient Festival – 29 / 30 september, Theater Kikker, Utrecht
This is a 2 day festival that has a promising line-up. Murcof will be there, probably to promote his new release: Cosmos. Other performers on saturday are Jessica Bailiff, Klimek and Shuttle 358.
Sunday will bring us a Ahornfelder showcase, with performances by Sinebag, Semuin, F.S. Blumm, Marcel Turkowsky.
Radio 6′ Folio will preview this festival on september, 4
- Tivoli De Helling programs a performance by Cluster (Dieter Moebius / Hans-Joachim Roedelius) on November, 7
Don’t know what to expect on this concert, but both Moebius and Roedelius were there to define ‘ambient’ in the time their music was called ‘Krautrock’. They partnered with Brian Eno, worked with legendary producer Conny Plank, and their 30+ years of musical output is quite difficult to survey. Again, the night before this concert, Folio will present a musical preview.
Sounds promising, doesn’t it?