Else Marie Pade: Electronic Works 1958-1995 (Important Records, 2014) + Else Marie Pade + Jacob Kirkegaard: Svævninger (Important Records, 2013/CD issue 2014)

January 24, 2015 at 8:38 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Else Marie Pade: Electronic Works 1958-1995

Else Marie Pade: Electronic Works 1958-1995

2CD anthology of works by Danish musique concrete/electronic music pioneer Else Marie Pade, who is now 90 years old and still creating music. This collection compiles works dating back to the ’50s, and while many of them have been released on CD before, none have been released on vinyl until now (as far as I can tell), and definitely not all of them have been compiled in one place before. The first CD mostly consists of the “Faust Suite”, a 36-minute 6-part suite of crystalline echos and vibrations, which get noisiest during “Faust & Mefisto” and “Rejsen Til Bloksbjerg Og Valborgsnat”. “Margrethes Fordømmelse” features voices chanting “Dies Irae”, which seem to eventually disappear into a cave. “Rejsen…” is the longest part of the suite, and has kind of a trudging, decaying feel to it, and gets pretty harsh for its era, but not Merzbow harsh. The disc concludes with some standalone pieces, which seem to move around a bit more than the “Faust” suite, maybe because they’re not attached to a concept the way the suite is. “Lyd & Lys” definitely has a suspenseful horror-movie feel to it. “Syv Cirkler” is more playful, with bloopy synth patterns and plenty of playing around with pitch. “Etude” continues this playfulness with more decaying textures and primitive melodies punched out and consumed by echo, ending up a soggy mass of sound. Disc 2 starts with another suite, “Illustrationer”, which starts out sounding like raining ice pellets and freezing wind. “Kong Vinter” has the most acoustic sounds on the album, with thrashing, dismantled pianos joining the eerie electronics. Both of the “Glasperlespil” pieces which end the album (especially the first one) have some slightly sharp tones which aren’t really harsh or piercing, but they’re discordant enough that they function as alarms if you’re sleeping while listening. The second one is a lot sparser, lapsing into some uncomfortable moments of silence, only to be frightened awake by tones which erupt without warning. Overall, Pade’s music isn’t quite the type of abrasive, cut-up musique concrete you might expect from a composer like Stockhausen, but it’s graceful and ends up being frightening as often as it ends up being playful.

Else Marie Pade + Jacob Kirkegaard: Svævninger

Else Marie Pade + Jacob Kirkegaard: Svævninger

Also being released is Pade’s collaboration with fellow Danish sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard, which was originally released on vinyl in 2013 but is finally receiving a CD release now. All of the pieces here are named after types of clouds, so it’s easy to attach adjectives such as “drifting” and “vaporous” to these recordings. Some of them come close to being inaudible at times, especially “Stratus” and “Nimbostratus”. “Cirrocumulus” sounds most like precipitation, there’s just a constant dripping wetness to it. “Cumulonimbus” is the loudest and most active, with controlled feedback and what sounds like metallic percussion. “Bortdragende Regnskyer” is the CD-only bonus track, and it’s 15 minutes of shining, slowly descending space music.

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