Soriah + Roedelius / Westberg *
Roedelius & Arnold Kasar



Even though he has released music since 2006, and some of the albums on the Projekt label, I had not heard anything from Soriah before. Obviously, a collaboration with experimental legends like Hans-Joachim Roedelius (Cluster) and Norman Westberg (Swans) is a good way to get into the spotlight!

Soriah is the ‘stage persona’ for Enrique Ugalde, born in California but now based in Oregon as well as in the Tuvan Republic (Russia). He practices the traditional Khöömei (Tuvan throat singing), but blends it with ‘his own visceral voice’, and with playing the igil (a two-stringed instrument of the Tuvan steppes).

On the two 12-minute tracks on Lumina, his throat singing blends beautifully with the pipe organ played by Roedelius (on Alba Via, which means White Road) and with Westberg’s drone guitar (on Mirrored in Amber).
Some of the music sounds rather dark, and (to my ears) throat-singing is always somewhat haunting, but still ‘this work intends on bringing peace to lost souls of those who have recently passed. Not to bring the dead back into the corporeal, but to help them achieve their proper plane of existence through a series of humming pathways. A sonic cleansing of the soul.’

Lumina is available on a clear white vinyl 10″, and also as a digital download (offered at a tempting low price).

(note: the Bandcamp page and the label pages offer no previews, so I created a short edit with a fragment from both tracks)




Zensibility, the second collaboration album of Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Arnold Kasar, has a completely different atmosphere. The music here is more light-hearted, sunny, and full of life.
The eight tracks are ‘call-and-response pieces’, with Roedelius playing the grand piano and Kasar (who is a pianist himself, too) contributing the electronic elements.

Collaborative ‘call-and-response’ composing is not new, of course, especially since the COVID crisis years (these pieces were created just before the first lockdown in 2020, by the way). But Roedelius and Kasar did not work apart from each other, but together in the studio carefully listening to each other. The pieces were created over a period of three days in 30 short studio sessions, where the duo would dedicate itself to one track per session.
‘Often it would be Hans-Joachim Roedelius who would begin, or, “speak” with his aphoristic piano miniatures, to which Arnold Kasar would then “respond” with utmost reduced, minimalistic counter melodies made from sensitively balanced, electronic soundscapes. Only through the interplay the work is completed in its entirety.’

The music feels like spontaneous creations, almost live – and, in a way, it is: ‘the only intervention was that almost all tracks in the “original” were much longer than the versions that can be heard on Zensibility: in most cases, a few minutes were cut away at the beginning and the end. […] The only guideline there has been for this album was a series of terms that Joachim wrote down on a piece of paper: warmth, rest, relaxation,
well-being, love, proximity, affection, compassion, happiness, understanding, and mindfulness.’

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