Click here to [close]

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Point4 - Panopticon (Sofa, 2008) ****

The line-up of two pianists, Kenneth Karlsson and Jon Balke, and two percussionists Bjørn Rabben and Ingar Zach, is highly unusual, and at first sight you would expect interfering keyboards and relentless percussion, but you get the exact opposite : minimalist soundscapes built around silence. What they bring is very fragile, open and totally unexpected music, adding sounds to sounds in a very coherent and focused way. The tracks are short - the CD consists of no less than 19 tracks - which forces the musicians to be concise in their explorations while still being able to create something of interest. You hardly ever have the impressions of four musicians playing together, yet they play single notes, single beats, some electronic sounds that last a little bit longer, but which all together manage to create eery and unreal music.

A Panopticon is a prison concept in which the inmates can be watched without them knowing it, creating to the observer "the sentiment of invisible omniscience". This feeling of dread is clear in the music, but then rather in empty space than in a crowded prison, but the overall effect is there.

The total absence of any sequence of sounds, the perfect sense of pace, the restrained and careful discipline of the musicians make this something special. Only on the last track does the intensity build up to a kind of paroxysm of noise, only to fade away into almost non-existent vibrations in the air.

Listen and buy from eMusic.

© stef