Jan Bang – …And Poppies from Kandahar

Jan Bang

The Samadhisound label, founded and curated by David Sylvian, simultaneously released three impressive titles. Together they present a landmark of the current experimental/electronic/ improv scene.
Be prepared: none of these albums are ‘easy listening’ music – in fact, a lot of this music wouldn’t even be considered ‘ambient’.

Jan Bang‘s album “…And Poppies from Kandahar” is a good start, because it contains the most ‘accessible’ music of these titles.

Any album including contributions of Jon Hassell, Arve Henriksen and Nils Petter Molvaer would get my immediate and unreserved attention! It’s no real surprise that Bang can bring these names together: he has worked with them on their respective albums, as ‘samplist’ and/or as producer.

There are a few more impressive contributors here (such as Sidsel Endresen, Peter Freeman, Eivind Aarset and Lars Danielsson), as well as a range of credited samples, including Kammerflimmer KollektiefRichard Wagner and Robert Schumann.

Jan Bang has a distinct, very personal way of using these samples in his music. He is not afraid to stop/start them (in such a way that even the backgound hiss drops out for a second), and to combine them with alienating found sounds (‘exhaust fan‘) or cut-up vocal fragments (Sidsel Endresen).
The result is remarkably coherent, unearthly and alienated, but also warm and personal.

Bang seems to draw from thousands of sources, though all sources are hard to identify. But all fragments perfectly fit together and sound as if they were meant to fit this samplist’s puzzle.

And Poppies from Kandahar (David Sylvian is credited for the titles) is one of the more impressive albums I have heard in a long time.
It proves that there are alway new roads to travel, that there is still a lot of new music to explore.

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