catching up {II}

BL!NDMAN quartet. i once had the privilege of seeing bl!ndman quartet performing live in the vooruit in gent. not just a regular concert, but they played (performed ?) the accompanying music to a silent movie, kurutta ippeji (something old and beautiful). i was blown away by their technique and the amazing soundscape they laid out. i think that afterwards, a cd of their performance was for sale in the lobby, and to this day i still regret not having bought it then (–of course i haven’t been able to get it since).

two cds i have been able to buy: bl!ndman plays bach (2000) and the recently released multiple voice (2002). they’re not available through amazon (at least i didn’t spot them), but i got them from the fnac (in gent) where they are readily available. you could also try via their website

music reduced to its essence. where reduction stands for minimalism, not loss in any way. the music as performed by bl!ndman is very broad and overwhelming indeed, with lots of colour and intonation. it’s where you can hear each individual note very clearly, but never do they sound isolated, or stuck.

from the notes from bl!ndman plays bach

Having just started as a saxophonist, I experienced a great shock when I was practising J.S. Bach’s flute sonatas on the soprano saxophone. The ‘open sound technique’ I used when playing the instrument […] gave these scores the stunning sound range of woodwind and brass, voices and organ sounds.


My choice was ettled by the Choralpartiten. In these little-known organ works I discovered a sparkling inventiveness and deep emotion. What is more, when the four saxophones unravelled the young Bach’s ingenious intertwining of the parts, the result was a disarming transparency.

This modest and broadly coloured, essentially religious work assumes a secular dimension of pure enjoyment and goes back to the source of all music: the breath.

from the notes from multiple voice

Contemporary works have always reflected age-old compositional techniques; the organum technique used by Leoninus and Perotinus, in which the continuous voices develop in parallel, the 13th-century hoquetus technique in which the meldoic line is divided between several instruments, and also the imitation canon repeating themes several times.


New music is played alongside early music and the two merge apparently seamlessly into one another. Centuries are made relative, and the consciousness of historical time fades.

Apart from Leoninus and Perotinus, multiple voice also features work by Thierry De Mey, John Cage, and Jonathan Harvey. (warning: the cd says copy protected; haven’t tried to import it to iTunes yet)