Peter Ablinger - An den Mond [Inexhaustible Editions - 2021]
An den Mond (To The Moon) is a recent release bringing together two compositions by Austrian composer Peter Ablinger. The first is for seven violins and is all about creating a feeling of searing/ pitch wavering intensity. And the second is for chanted female voices/ violin, and creates a feeling of witchy dread and fear. Together these pieces create a compelling, at points unsettling release- which uses two different tacks to unbalance the listener.
The release appears on Slovenian based Inexhaustible Editions. And is available as a CD, ltd vinyl in four gatefold sleeve, and digital version- I’m reviewing the initial format. The CD comes presented in a four-panel monochrome digipak- on its inside we find a handwritten score, a write-up about the compositions from Ablinger, and a write-up from Belin based violinist Biliana Voutchkova who performed both pieces here. We also get full texts for the second track too. So, a nicely presented and informative bit of packaging. At the time of writing both physical editions are still available, though the vinyl is only ltd to sixty copies.
So first up we have "Augmented Study – for 7 violins", which was composed in 2012. The track runs at dead on the twenty-four minutes mark, and is all about building and intensifying tension. The overlapping layers of violin are centred around a close set of seemingly climbing pitches. These create this feeling of constant acceleration/ rising searing, and at any moment one feels the pitch will even disappear off from human hearing level, or maybe your ears will pop from the rising sonic pressure. This feeling of rising and building tense is amazingly maintained throughout the track, and I must say it’s quite an experience- it would certainly be amazing to hear this piece on huge pro speakers.
Next and finally, we have “An den Mond – for 1-31 chanting violinists magic spells for a healthier life”- this is from this year, and rolls in four seconds over the twenty-four-minute mark. And this as its title suggests is a piece all about layered and chanted vocals, which are sometimes underfed by a droning-to-sawing violin. We begin with a fairly set and disciplined series of chants, but as the track goes on it becomes more episodic, as we shift from whispers and waving sting dwells. On to blends of vocalising and hisses with a more sawing backdrop, through to layered and building chants underfed by buzzing ‘n’ hover string tone, onto simmering cascading picks topped with spiting-to-hissing summoning’s. It's a wonderful eventful track, and at points, it does get damn intense and terrifying.
An den Mond is a great example of sonic unbalancing and audio unease in modern classical form- with both pieces having their standalone worth, but together they make for a most compelling and affecting release. To find out more, and pick up a copy for yourself head to here. Roger Batty