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Profile of Another Timbre by Adrian Democ, May 2017
From the Slovakian magazine Hudobny Zivot, with thanks
“The Another Timbre label was founded in the UK in 2007 by Simon Reynell. In its early years it predominantly released post-reductionist improvised music, while in more recent times it has mainly published impressive CDs of composed chamber music. A link between the two can be found in the wide range of verbal or graphic scores that have been released. The work of the Wandelweiser composers’ collective is particularly well-represented on the label, operating often almost on the limits of (non)musical action and silence. The diversity of attitudes contained within the group is documented on the six CD compilation Wandelweiser und so weiter from 2012. The compilation contains pieces not only by founding members of the group (Antoine Beuger, Jürg Frey, Manfred Werder, Michael Pisaro), but also younger composers who are less well-known, and some of the scores were recorded more than once with suprisingly different results (Sam Sfirri).
In general the Another Timbre catalogue features both music by ‘star’ names who are well-known to experimental music lovers (Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff, John Cage, Michael Pisaro, Jürg Frey and others) but also many less-known artists such as Giuliano d’Angiolini, d’incise or Marek Poliks.
The sound quality of the recordings is consistently great, and the quality of performance is superb. The label’s regular collaborators are established performers of experimental and new music such as Anton Lukoszevieze and his ensemble Apartment House, the Quatuor Bozzini and the JACK Quartet, pianists Philip Thomas and John Tilbury, flautist Manuel Zurria, guitarist Cristian Alvear, and improvisers such as Angharad Davies and Alfredo Costa Monteiro.
The design of Another Timbre CDs is consistent and compact, and you can also find lots of interviews, additional information and on-line projects on the label’s website, as well as links to extracts from the catalogue on Soundcloud and the label’s own YouTube channel.
Another Timbre began 2017 with a great project: ten releases of portrait CD’s of Canadian composers under the title Canadian Composers Series. The series recognises the great potential of the outstanding, but for the moment little-known, Canadian contemporary music scene. An integral part of the series is a book which includes a great essay by Nick Storring called Undercurrents of Experimental Composition in Canada, reflecting on the particularities and points of departure of Canadian music and culture. The book also includes interviews with the composers whose work is represented in the series. So far the book and the first five composer portrait CD’s have been released (Linda Catlin Smith, Isaiah Ceccarelli, Martin Arnold, Chiyoko Szlavnics, Marc Sabat), and the remaining five discs should be released at the end of 2017.
As Simon Reynell himself states, the Canadian Composers Series does not attempt to offer an encyclopedic overview of the broadest spectrum of Canadian music, nor any “best of”. The music of the presented artists fits well within (and enriches) the aesthetic frame of Another Timbre – which is often lower in dynamics, moderate in expression, “monolithical”, avoiding sharp contrasts, and focused on the details of a work.
However, each of the individual composers employs their own different poetics. Martin Arnold’s pieces somehow evoke the early “gamut” music of John Cage, while Marc Sabat creates music that observes the intervals of just intonation, and Chiyoko Szlavnics explores the “corners” of interferences and sustained tones/pitches. Isaiah Ceccarelli, who is for me a great discovery with his euphonies and consonances, gently evokes Renaissance music in “delayed time”, and the music of Linda Catlin Smith is also very delicate and beautiful.
The music of Chiyoko Szlavnics and Cassandra Miller has appeared at previous Ostrava Days festivals, and Marc Sabat will be featured there this year, when his 2012 composition Lying in the Grass, River and Clouds is performed on 28th August.
We will also have the opportunity to listen to some other of the Another Timbre Canadian composers: the music of Martin Arnold and Linda Catlin Smith will be featured at a concert called ODKAZ RUDOLFA KOMOROUSE: Kanadské západní pobřeží. At this concert we will also have the opportunity to appreciate the music of Christopher Butterfield (lector of OD 2017 Institute and curator the the “Canadian concert”) as well as the music of the Czech Rudolf Komorous, who has inspired and educated many of today’s Canadian composers.”
Adrian Democ, Hudobny Zivot, Slovakia, May 2017