Grains Åke Parmerud

A potentially bewildering multiplicity of elements is elevated beyond the cacophony of Babel to reveal shared needs, aspirations and desires that underlie wide-ranging cultural practices and preferences. The Wire, UK

Grains of Voice, originally released more than two decades ago, is still one of the most powerful and conceptually interesting pieces of this entire selection of music. Noise Not Music

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Grains

Åke Parmerud

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In the Press

  • Julian Cowley, The Wire, no. 419, January 1, 2019
    A potentially bewildering multiplicity of elements is elevated beyond the cacophony of Babel to reveal shared needs, aspirations and desires that underlie wide-ranging cultural practices and preferences.
  • jckmd, Noise Not Music, November 20, 2018
    Grains of Voice, originally released more than two decades ago, is still one of the most powerful and conceptually interesting pieces of this entire selection of music.
  • Roland Torres, SilenceAndSound, October 22, 2018
    Très fortement recommandé.
  • Kevin Press, Badd Press, October 5, 2018
    … it is a powerful work.

Review

Julian Cowley, The Wire, no. 419, January 1, 2019
A potentially bewildering multiplicity of elements is elevated beyond the cacophony of Babel to reveal shared needs, aspirations and desires that underlie wide-ranging cultural practices and preferences.

Review

jckmd, Noise Not Music, November 20, 2018

Grains of Voice, originally released more than two decades ago, is still one of the most powerful and conceptually interesting pieces of this entire selection of music. Parmerud’s own written summary of the work is fascinating, detailing his efforts to record different human voices from all over the world (the total duration of recordings Parmerud made during his journey approaches 20 hours!) and create a piece that ventures into several ideas, or ‘islands,’ amidst a continuous flow of sound. The composer’s treatment of the voices results in dark, sonorous waves, grounded by recognizable elements — for me, the most notable of these was an appearance of Ginsberg’s Howl. The other concepts are no less enthralling, what with the auditory riddles of Les objet obscurs and the philosophical musings of Alias.

Grains of Voice, originally released more than two decades ago, is still one of the most powerful and conceptually interesting pieces of this entire selection of music.

Critique

Roland Torres, SilenceAndSound, October 22, 2018

L’artiste multi-primé Åke Parmerud fait partie de ces personnes pour qui la musique est un outil de pensée, un vecteur de conscience et de réactivité. Depuis plus de 30 ans, il s’efforce de créer un univers qui allie tensions et beauté futuriste.

C’est une mini-anthologie que nous propose l’excellent label empreintes DIGITALes, véritable défricheur de pépites électro-acoustiques surgies du passé. Grains tente, en quelques titres, d’offrir un aperçu du travail phénoménal d’Åke Parmerud, avec le regroupement les œuvres suivantes: Grains Of Voices, Jeux imaginaires, Les objets obscurs et Alias.

Ces titres survolent avec justesse la diversité de son travail, mais aussi de sa personnalité, très portée par les nouvelles technologies et l’emploi de vocaux samplés, créant des ambiances cinématographiques aux balancements étranges et déviants.

L’œuvre d’Åke Parmerud bien qu’abstraite et cérébrale, n’oublie pas de titiller les sens, bousculant sans cesse l’espace sonore dans lequel il se déploie, défiant constamment l’auditeur à prendre de la distance pour mieux se précipiter à l’intérieur de sa musique, aller-retour dans l’espace et le temps, les oreilles vissées du coté des artistes du GRM. Très fortement recommandé.

Très fortement recommandé.

Review

Kevin Press, Badd Press, October 5, 2018

Sweden’s Åke Parmerud has assembled four acousmatic works dating between 1990 and 1995 on a must-have collection of out-of-print recordings. (Acousmatic is an electroacoustic subgenre composed for presentation with speakers rather than live instruments.)

These powerful, sometimes disturbing recordings all date back to the mid-1990s. Thematically and artistically, each has maintained extraordinary relevance.

Grains of Voices came out of an invitation to produce a piece of music drama for Swedish Radio. “I decided to make a composition concerning the human voice, its symbolic implications and its musical applications,” writes Parmerud in the album’s notes. “The sound of the voice is a striking symbol of the unity of mankind.”

He recorded the voices in-person, inviting speakers and singers to share anything they wished. “This way I did not (with a few exceptions) control what went into the composition, only what came out.” Parmerud describes the 31-minute work as “a multilayered, cross-cultural hybrid piece of sonic art.”

Jeux imaginaires (or Imaginary Games) was inspired by the 1992 World Chess Championship match between Anatoli Karpov and Garry Kasparov. Aside from a middle section that sounds like a frenetic game of park chess, the work is a study of the parallels between the game and composing music.

“Every night after ending my composing session in the studio I played the game (or maybe only a few moves) on my portable chessboard. Apart from it being a nice way to turn my attention away from pure musical problems for a while, I found that playing the game made me more and more aware of the likeness between chess playing and composing. … [P]laying the game as a small ritual every night released new musical ideas and composing energy without necessarily creating detectable parallels between the music and the game itself.”

Les objets obscurs (Hidden Objects) is a musique concrète piece in four parts. Or more precisely, a meta-musique concrète piece.

We’re presented with riddles (in French) having to do with the source of the sounds used. The answers are offered musically. “In the end of the last movement the ‘solution’ of all the riddles is presented. These answers, however, set up a new ‘inner’ riddle, to which no answer is given.”

Finally, Alias explores “the duality of outer and inner existence, here interpreted through the life, music and destiny of the Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa (1560-1613).”

Gesualdo is a controversial 16th/17th century figure. As a composer, he’s considered to have been hundreds of years ahead of his time. As a human being on the other hand, he’s remembered for the gruesome double murder of his wife and her lover.

Alias is not, however, an attempt to illustrate the shifting identities of Gesualdo,” writes Parmerud, “but is rather, in a wider sense, inspired by thoughts on the relationship between the artist and the work of art.”

That being said, it’s difficult not to let the mind wander over the course of these two dramatic movements. Like the others on this important new compilation, it is a powerful work.

… it is a powerful work.

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