- the field Jakub Fiser, Szymon Marciniak, Wolfgang Fischer 12:52
- as we rise up Stepan Jezek, Szymon Marciniak, Tobias Fischer 7:56
- threads of prayer Sandro Ivo Bartoli 7:45
Voix des Arts | Joseph A. Newsome – July 2017
RECORDING OF THE MONTH
“When pressing ‘Play’ in order to hear a recording of music by Jeffrey Roden for the first time, the only certainty is that the sounds that emerge will be incomparably original, provocative, and utterly unfeigned. […] Spurning the elitism that now oppresses the composition, performance, recording, and hearing of Classical Music, this is music of the people, by the people, and for the people—people willing to listen with both their ears and their souls.”
MusicWeb International | Dominy Clements – June 2017
“I can imagine people listening to this and asking, ‘where’s the music? – there’s nothing here…’ If you are not prepared to give this recording time and become immersed then yes, it will pass you by. These are works that, like all good art, demand of us that we raise our game to meet them at least half way. This expectation and our response to it is our gain, our evolution towards new realms of beauty, and as with its partner volume I feel privileged to have been allowed access to its special qualities.”
With the far shorter, yet even denser threads of a prayer volume 2, Jeffrey Roden follows up the epic, 2-hour long first installment of the series. Marking his debut as a composer after decades as a session musician, electro-jazz-experiments and solo bass music, that release presented an artist rooted in deeply felt spirituality and intimate sound worlds. The monolithic dimensions of the album – with a piece like “twelve prayers” clocking in at just under three quarters of an hour – combined with the tender sound of a small cast of musicians, turned out to be challenging for some. For many, however, it proved to be a revelation. volume 2 now takes the listener even deeper into Roden’s mind – towards a space he refers to as ‘the other place’.
Despite the addition of new instruments, including an electric organ performed by Solaire Records’s Tobias Fischer, the music sounds even more ‘as one’, the four compositions almost seamlessly flowing in- and out of each other to create a sustained field. Taken from the same sessions as volume 1, the same mood of introspection, fragility and immediacy also prevails here. Although comparisons to Pärt and Feldman are still valid, a far more personal style is emerging underneath, shaped as much by Roden’s past as a bassist as well as the many ‘silent’ years during which he withdrew from recording to focus on re-thinking his approach and emerging as a classical composer. What appeared to be an issue at first – his lack of education in the eyes of academia – may now turn out to be a benefit, because it provided him with “an awareness of how little material could carry a moment and convey a range of expression.”
If this music is ever confrontational, it is so in the sense of confronting the listener with herself by manipulating our common sense of time. “Time is of monumental importance in my work and I spend quite a bit of energy and focus on the amount of time that elapses between sounds and in the decay of a chord or note”, Roden agrees, “Time is the thread which must be managed to carry the listener from beginning to concluding note. I am always conscious of how long a piece feels.” On threads of a prayer volume 2, the tracks remarkably feel both monumentally long and almost outside of time – clear signs that Roden is edging closer and closer towards attaining his goal.