The New & Avant-garde Music Store

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors Rainer Wiens

Un album inspiré. Revue & Corrigée, France

The most powerful work on the CD is also the longest. Musicworks, Canada

This is an album of solos and duets. Drawing inspiration from his research on African rhythms, Rainer Wiens has written complex pieces that have been magnificently performed by seasoned musicians from the Montréal new music scene.

”Over the years I had composed music that didn’t fit any of the groups I had. Instead of forcing them, I made small changes that would allow them to be played as solos.I also wrote several new pieces suited to the musical friends I wanted to record with, working with some new ideas for improvisational structures, non repeating scales and (apologies Mr. Messiaen) melodies bases on bird song. I also wanted to create something that people could come back to for nourishment of the spirit. My thanks again to Dino and the musicians for making the project a pleasure to realize.”Rainer Wiens, July 2009

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors

Rainer Wiens

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In the press

  • Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no. 85, September 1, 2010
    Un album inspiré.
  • Vincenzo Giorgio, Wonderous Stories, no. 17, April 1, 2010
  • Stuart Broomer, Musicworks, no. 106, March 1, 2010
    The most powerful work on the CD is also the longest.
  • Seth Watter, Signal to Noise, no. 57, March 1, 2010
    Wiens’ touchstones are not just the 20th-century’s avant-garde movements, but the language of the griot, of birds, of human breath — always moving backwards in search of origins.
  • Dionisio Capuano, Blow Up, no. 141, February 1, 2010
  • Henryk Palczewski, Informator “Ars” 2, no. 50, January 1, 2010
  • Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 708, December 7, 2009
  • Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, October 30, 2009
    If I didn’t know better, I would’ve thought that this disc was a soundtrack to a native American psychedelic ceremony.
  • François Couture, Monsieur Délire, September 25, 2009
    It’s pretty, dark, elegy-like in times. The man has a knack for composing graceful yet unique not-quite-contemporary-music-sounding pieces.
  • Gordon M Allen, Montreal Mirror, September 24, 2009
    A strong statement on beauty and aloneness, rendered with care and integrity.

Critique

Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no. 85, September 1, 2010

D’origine germanique, Rainer Wiens s’est fait connaître, principalement via ses productions chez l’éditeur montréalais AM – auxquelles il convient de rajouter “Bonunca Dream Music” (nunca 01, 1995) – souvent en compagnie d’autres instrumentistes, par sa pratique de la guitare, plus précisément la guitare préparée. “Shadows of forgotten ancestors” a donc de quoi surprendre l’auditeur. Mis à part la pièce d’ouverture, “The Valley of Green Ghost”, le court “Kawthoolie”), et “The Taste of Pomegranate” qui clôture le recueil, Rainer Wiens n’en est pas l’interprète. Mais ces pièces donnent le ton et son sens à cet enregistrement dont il est le compositeur. Il y joue de la kalimba, de ce piano à pouces propre à l’Afrique. L’album entier est une déclinaison de travaux inspirés à la fois par les rythmes africains et par la filmographie de Sergei Paradjanov, lui-même adepte d’une réflexion sur les héritages du passé et d’une approche shamanique. La réalisation en est principalement confiée à d’autres instrumentistes de la scène canadienne, en solos ou en duos: les violonistes Josuah Zubot et Malcolm Goldstein, Jean Derome à la flûte, Frank Lozano au saxophone, Jean René à l’alto. Ainsi “Shh… Whisper to the Wind”, une des deux plus longues pièces du recueil, est une parfaite illustration d’une communion entre le jeu des cordes du violon et le souffle, soutenu par quelques murmures. Un album inspiré.

Un album inspiré.

La “terra del nudo suono”

Vincenzo Giorgio, Wonderous Stories, no. 17, April 1, 2010

Se Ganesh Anandan e Hans Reichel, con Self Made, attraverso sottili intarsi percussionistici ci spingono in un mondo dove il profondo oriente si sposa ad una raffinata propensione improvvisativa (Amphibian, Primate Marathon), Charity Chan (in Somewhere the Sea and Salt) ci guida nel Regno della Dissonanza attraverso l’acustica deformata di un piano preparato ed “oggetti vari”. Ma è ancora il femminile ad ammaliare in Amy Horvey (Interview) dove la trentenne trombettista canadese si cimenta in quattro brani di compositori contemporanei tra cui spicca l’asciutto lirismo di Quattro pezzi per tromba sola, opera del grande Giacinto Scelsi (musicista ligure ultimamente molto rivalutato) e il radicalismo della conclusiva Overture to the Queen of Music Boxes. L’attenzione alla “classica contemporanea” è mantenuta alta anche da Quasar, che con Miroir des vents ci regalano un vivido affresco fiatistico dove la solitudine del vento (leggi i sax di Marie-Chantal Leclair, Mathieu Leclair, André Leroux e Jean-Marc Bouchard) viene declinata attraverso otto composizioni che trovano ne Le chant de l’inaudible di Jean-François Laporte la sublimazione ultima.

Con Rainer Wiens (Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors) la faccenda si fa davvero intrigante: il percussionista (sic) di origini tedesche organizza undici performances in forma di solo e duo dove si alternano il flauto di Jean Derome, i violini di Malcolm Goldstein e Joshua Zubot nonché il sax di Frank Lozano. Il risultato - profondo e suggestivo - trova la sua sublimazione estrema nella traccia omonima: oltre dieci minuti splendidamente giocati dal duo Derome-Zubot, attraverso un zigzagare materico nel silenzio incombente…

Review

Stuart Broomer, Musicworks, no. 106, March 1, 2010
The most powerful work on the CD is also the longest.

Review

Seth Watter, Signal to Noise, no. 57, March 1, 2010
Wiens’ touchstones are not just the 20th-century’s avant-garde movements, but the language of the griot, of birds, of human breath — always moving backwards in search of origins.

Recensione

Dionisio Capuano, Blow Up, no. 141, February 1, 2010

Rainer Wiens, chitarrista tedesco naturalizzato canadese, ha un altro album al suo attivo Bonunca Dream Music, la membership nei PO insieme a Sam Shalabi, John Heward, Alexandre St-Onge e varie collaborazioni (Malcolm Goldstein, Jean Derome e via così). Questo titolo, lo stesso di un libro di Carl Sagan e del film di Sergei Parajanov, è un florilegio di sue composizioni interpretate in solo e duo. Rainer Wiens, che si produce alla kalimba (The Valley of Green Ghost, Kawthoolie, The Taste of Pomegranate) imbastisce il discorso, sono gli amici-interpreti (Frank Lozano, Jean René, Joshua Zubot, Jean Derome e Malcolm Goldstein) a dare spessore alla arcaica atmosfera del disco. Già il violone di Joshua Zubot e il flauto di Jean Derome sviluppando il tema di Shadow of Forgotten Ancestors, ramificano la livida melodia post-impressionista fin fuori il pentagramma con una tensione drammatica che lascia attoniti. Ma a prender le budella è Shh… Whisper to the Wind, con i breathing sounds di vento malato e lo stridere delle corde fino alla visione di contorte arborescenze. Il resto, - sia la brillante viola di Jean René in Double Up, o l’archetto malinconico per Lipari-Stromboli, o i vibrati e trilli del flauto (Bird of Jade) – senza che ne venga meno la dignità artistica - sembra semplicemente disporsi intorno a quei due quadri sonori, come le formelle d’un polittico.

Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 708, December 7, 2009

Three new releases from Ambiances Magnétiques, all of them with a German connection. We met guitarist Rainer Wiens, from Germany but now living in Montréal, earlier on trio recordings with Malcom Goldstein and John Heward, and another one with Ganesh Anandan and Malcolm Goldstein. Shadow of Forgotten Ancestors is in fact his first solo album where we learn more about Wiens as a composer, and as a player of the kalimba. Over the years Wiens composed several pieces that we now find on this CD. The title track of this CD, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, as well as title The Taste Pomegranate indicate that filmmaker Sergei Paradjanov was a special source for inspiration for Wiens. The CD opens with The Valley of Green Ghosts with Wiens solo on kalimba, creating inevitably an african climate. Most pieces however are duets that have not Wiens, but Jean Derome (flute), Malcolm Goldstein (violin), Frank Lozano (saxophone), Jean René (viola) and Joshua Zubot (violin) as performers. In the title track flute and violin play - almost and almost continuously - uni sono. Shh… Whisper to the Wind is a delicate between violin and breathing sounds. Bird of Jade with Derome on flute, and If a Bird sings in the Forest (sax), as well as other pieces seem to be inspired on the whistling of birds. All pieces are mature and thoughtfully composed moving between traditional (african) musical forms and new composed music. And all players play very inspired and dedicated. The result is a very strong and convincing album, where everything is on its place.

The cover of Self Made has a nice photo of Hans Reichel and Ganesh Anandan portrayed as two proud ‘self made’ men. Even more the title refers to both artists as designers and builders of their instruments. Hans Reichel, guitarist from origin, is known for his daxophone. Anandan built the shruti stick and a metallophone. The ‘daxophone’ is a single wooden blade fixed in a block containing a contact microphone, which is played mostly with a bow. Reichel draws many colourful sounds from this instrument - sometimes sounding like birdcalls, animal sounds, flutes, human voice and breath, etc. Very impressive and absolutely an amazing instrument. The shruti stick is a 12-string cither. Anandan presented it on another duo-cd, Shruti Project, which he worked with John Gzowski who played self-designed micro_tonal guitars. For Self Made Reichel and Anandan concentrate on creating sounds and textures. Structure is not their main interest. Although Anandan often lays down complex rhythmic patterns, and Reichel plays his solos over it, it is not always clear where they want to go. They create nice atmospheres, and specially the daxophone sounds very direct and very near to the human (language of) body and voice. Several of their improvisations are very worthwhile like Drunkeness. It is very subtile, virtuoso and soulful. Others however don’t bring me anywhere. The playing of Anandan I enjoyed most in the solo piece In the Stillness that develops like an indonesian gamelan-like piece of music. Pure beauty! For this and other qualities these improvisations deserve your attention.

Live • 33 • 45 • 78 by Berlin-based Ignaz Schick and Martin Tétreault is the most far out of these three CDs. Two avant garde turntable-masters who collaborate since 2004. “Our music is made with raw materials that have nothing to do with the passive uses of the turntable. We quickly and sharply use our set of home-made sonic tools to produce dialogues of varying speed, volume level, and duration. Recorded live, our music offers lively exchanges where tone arms are playing a sonic sport! These exchanges will get you ears moving…” Within the parameters of their musical games they make truly fascinating music using concrete sounds only. Records are abandoned, instead they use various objects and manipulations to produce their micro soundworld. The CD contains two series of seven pieces listening to poetic names like 1-p45 un and cave12part1.The music itself has more effect on my phantasy. It sounds like the recording of some never-heard-of primitive life-form deep down in the ocean or earth.

Review

Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, October 30, 2009

This is Rainer Wiens third appearance on the AM label, both previous ones have involved new music violinist Malcolm Goldstein. I can’t think of many other discs which have featured the kalimba or thumb piano in a new music setting except for Richard Crandell who has two discs on Tzadik. The Valley of Green Ghosts opens with a sublime, earthy kalimba solo, delicate and enchanting. If a Bird Sings in the Forest is a fine solo for soprano sax, rich and slightly twisted. Blood Fever is violin solo by Mr. Goldstein and it is stark and a bit eerie. The title track features violin (Joshua Zubot) and flute shadowing each other in a most mysterious way playing some bent (written) harmonies. Since Mr. Wiens only plays on a few of these pieces, it sounds as if he has written or at least directed the other solo & duo pieces. All of these pieces do fit together and seem to evoke an ancient ritualistic vibe, hence the CD’s title. Jean Derome plays some superb flute on Bird of Jade, an instrument which he doesn’t get to play often enough. Shh… Whisper to the Wind features some more strange, bent violin and breath-like vocal sounds or whispers. If I didn’t know better, I would’ve thought that this disc was a soundtrack to a native American psychedelic ceremony. Does anyone still do peyote or magic mushrooms? I wouldn’t know.

If I didn’t know better, I would’ve thought that this disc was a soundtrack to a native American psychedelic ceremony.

Review

François Couture, Monsieur Délire, September 25, 2009

Guitarist Rainer Wiens has been diversifying his art in the past few years. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors features his work as a composer. Eleven pieces, some short, some less short, written for other performers. Wiens himself only plays kalimbas on one track. The other tracks feature Jean Derome, Frank Lozano, Jean René, Joshua Zubot and Malcolm Goldstein, together or on their own. It’s pretty, dark, elegy-like in times. The man has a knack for composing graceful yet unique not-quite-contemporary-music-sounding pieces.

It’s pretty, dark, elegy-like in times. The man has a knack for composing graceful yet unique not-quite-contemporary-music-sounding pieces.

Review

Gordon M Allen, Montreal Mirror, September 24, 2009

Guitarist Wiens exists quietly in the heart of Montréal’s creative music community. When he makes a move, it’s thoughtful and new. Wiens’s writing in this collection of 11 solos and duos gives his five interpreters intriguing direction and just enough open air to shape things their own way. A strong statement on beauty and aloneness, rendered with care and integrity.

8/10

A strong statement on beauty and aloneness, rendered with care and integrity.

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