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SYNEUMA

Thanos Chrysakis, James O' Sullivan, Jerry Wigens

Duration 44.23 | Released October 2012

SYNEUMA Trio | THANOS CHRYSAKIS : piano / inside piano + chimes + vibraphone | JAMES O'SULLIVAN : guitar | JERRY WIGENS : clarinets | EDITING AND MASTERING AT MERIDIAN STUDIO BY THANOS CHRYSAKIS | RECORDED AUGUST 2011 except track IV in AUGUST 2010 |

About the Artists

Thanos Chrysakis’ output consists of composition, performance, and installation. He was born in Athens in 1971, residing in the UK since 1998. With several albums to his name his work has also appeared in festivals and events in several countries; to name but a few : CYNETart Festival, Festspielhaus Hellerau – Dresden, Academy of Arts / M:AI (Museum für Architektur und Ingenieurkunst NRW)– Berlin, Diapason Gallery – New York, ohrenhoch - der Geräuschladen Gallery – Berlin Neukölln, XXII “Sound Ways” International New Music Festival – St Petersburg, Artus Contemporary Arts Studio – Budapest, CRUCE Gallery – Madrid, Fylkingen – Stockholm, Relative (Cross) Hearings festival – Budapest, ZEPPELIN festival – Barcelona, Futura 2013 Drôme, Festival de Música Contemporanea “Ramiro Guerra” – Monterrey, Störung festival – Barcelona, BMIC Cutting Edge concert series - The Warehouse – London . It has also received airplay -among others- by RAI radio 3, BBC radio 3, Radio Portugal Antenna 2, Radio Nacional de España, FM Brussel, Polskie Radio (Warsaw), Elektramusic (Strasbourg), Undae! Radio and Onda Sonora - Radio Circulo de Bellas Artes (CBA) (Madrid). He composes for electronics, acoustic instruments and environmental sounds, focusing on the structural, aesthetic and tranfigured capacity of sonic matter. His work was amongst the selected works at the International Competition de Musique et d'Art Sonore Electroacoustiques de Bourges 2005, in the category œuvre d'art sonore électroacoustique, while received an honorary mention in 2006 at the 7th International Electroacoustic Competition Musica Viva in Lisbon. Recent compositions include: ΕΚΝΗΨΙΣ (Aural Terrains 2012), ΜΑΓΜΑ (Monochrome Vision 2011), Milieu Interieur I/II (for Chris Cundy [solo bass and contra-bass clarinet] 2012), EIRMOS I / II (for Wilfrido Terrazas [solo flute/bass flute] 2011), ERRINA (for Alexander Bruck [solo viola] 2011). He has recorded/performed with a number of improvisers, among others : Wade Matthews, Dario Bernal-Villegas, Jerry Wigens, James O'Sullivan,  Chris Cundy, Zsolt Sőrés, Artur Vidal.

Current and upcoming projects for 2013-14 include a residency at Visby centre for composers in Sweden, a series of compositions for the Stockholm Saxophone Quartet, Wilfrido Terrazas (flutes),  Natalia Pérez Turner (cello), Tzenka Dianova (piano), Michael Pelzel (church organ), Ángel Soria (saxophones), and Dana Jessen (bassoon).

Picture of Thanos Chrysakis

James O'Sullivan is a London-based electric guitar player. He has performed in numerous groupings of musicians, many of whom he met through Eddie Prevost's weekly improvisational workshop. In addition, he is the founder, alongside longtime friend and collaborator David Hurn, of Four Seasons Television, which explores the relationship between improvisation, composition, recording and performance. His activities span the two poles from free improvisation to more 'composed' song forms, and he has collaborated with songwriters, improvisors, improvising songwriters and other permutations of these elements in an attempt to unpack ideas of terms such as 'free', 'composed', 'technique', 'melody', 'noise', 'rhythm' and 'improvise'.

Picture of James O' Sullivan

Jerry Wigens is an improviser and composer who plays guitar and clarinet. Most of his musical activity has taken place in London although he has also performed in Zurich, Geneva, Berlin and Athens. His interest in improvisation started at an early age and he attended John Stevens' workshops at the age of nineteen. Since then he has worked in various musical contexts including rock, jazz and contemporary classical and has performed with Eddie Prevost, George Lewis, Sylvia Hallett and Walter Cardew, among many others. He has also had work performed by guitarist Alan Thomas and contemporary ensemble Vamos. He has studied with Roger Redgate and participates in Eddie Prévost's workshop sessions which he has occasionally convened in Prévost's absence. He also plays guitar in prog/improv band Astrakan.

Picture of Jerry Wigens

Presspectives

Guillaume Belhomme © Le son du grisli - 19.9.2013

[FR]

Sur son propre Aural Terrains, Thanos Chrysakis a pris l'habitude de publier des paysages sépulcraux. A l'intérieur de son piano et sur chimes ou vibraphone, ceux qu'ils composent sont souvent saisissants. Sur SYNEUMA, enregistré avec James O'Sullivan (guitare électrique) et Jerry Wigens (clarinettes), il passe de valses hésitantes en flottements inspirants au son d'une électroacoustique déjà ingénieuse.

Jan Faix , His Voice magazine - 3.12.2012

Na této nahrávce můžeme poměrně výjimečně sledovat práci řeckého experimentátora Thana Chrysakise výhradně s akustickými nástroji, především s klavírem a dále s vibrafonem a zvony. Redukci svého instrumentáře tu provedli ale i oba jeho londýnští kolegové z tria Syneuma. James O'Sullivan odložil cello a držel se pouze hry na preparovanou kytaru a Jerry Wigens si tedy místo dalšího zahušťování kytarových partů zvolil klarinety.

Společná spontánní improvizace těchto hráčů se nese v poměrně komorním meditativním duchu, přináší ale mnoho osobitých kombinací. Dvěma nejdelším kusům (první téměř sedmnáct minut a třetí přes jedenáct) dominuje zpočátku klavír pohybující se v rychlých atonálních a rytmicky nervózních frázích, ostatní nástroje mu sekundují plošnějšími strukturami, ve střední části se hudba propadá do atmosférického pianissima, z něhož v závěru vyrůstá pokaždé jinými prostředky opět silnější finále. Jinými kvalitami se vyznačují ostatní tři kratší tracky. Ve druhém se Chrysakis postupně propracovává od hutné téměř ostinátní hry uvnitř klavíru s dlouho sešlápnutým pedálem až k závěrečné hutné ploše zvonů a kolegové mu v tomto procesu jen úsporně napomáhají. Čtvrtá improvizace tu zase naopak proběhla pouze v duu Wigens - O'Sullivan a několikaminutová pasáž, v níž se spojí táhlé tóny klarinetu s přepečlivě kontrolovanou a neustále proměnlivou kytarovou vazbou patří mezi nejsilnější momenty na celé kolekci. Tříminutová coda potom stojí na podstatně tonálnější Chrysakisově hře na vibrafon, kterou ostatní nástroje disciplinovaně obohacují o ruchovější vrstvy.

Tato kolekce umí posluchače snadno okouzlit perfektními neokázalými náladami, celkovou invencí a velmi příjemným zvukovým zpracováním. Alespoň já jsem tu žádný nedostatek neobjevil.

John Eyles,The Squid's Ear - 18.03.13

The trio of Thanos Chrysakis on piano and vibraphone, guitarist James O'Sullivan and Jerry Wigens on clarinets have considerable experience of playing together, first recording between 2007 and 2008 as part of the quintet that released Instant-Cascade-Distant (Aural Terrains, 2009) — on the label for which Chrysakis is artistic director and on which most of his music has been issued. The Athens-born pianist and composer is now resident in London, where O'Sullivan and Wigens have been active for some years as improvisers, notably as regular members of the weekly improvising Workshop run by AMM drummer Eddie Prevost. O'Sullivan attracted attention with the release of his fine solo album Feed Back Couple (Forwind, 2011) and his work in the innovative songs-plus-improv quartet Clang Sayne. In addition to clarinet, Wigens plays guitar in a range of settings, his experience dating back to the mid-seventies when he attended drummer John Stevens' Workshop.

Their trio album Syneuma was largely recorded in July 2011, with one track from 2010. It is an interesting companion to that 2009 album and to Magnetic River (Aural Terrains, 2012), the latter featuring Chrysakis, O'Sullivan and Wigens, joined in a sextet by the saxophones of Sebastien Branche, Tom Soloveitzik and Artur Vidal. Comparisons between the three albums reveal much about the ways in which improvisers play differently as the context changes. As a threesome, Chrysakis, O'Sullivan and Wigens are outgoing and fluent, interacting well with each other... but not always sounding like a trio of equals. On the first track, Chrysakis dominates, playing for the majority of the time; maybe his being in charge of the record label inhibited the other two? He is easy to listen to as he reels off a fluent piano solo with ease. But the results sound like a piano trio of soloist plus support, dominated by Chrysakis, with guitar and clarinet contributing accompanying sounds rather than getting their own solo spaces.

As the album proceeds, things become rather more equal with greater three-way interaction and sharing of the limelight. On the second track, O'Sullivan's distinctive percussive playing on the guitar features prominently, as does Wigens' wailing clarinet — welcome sounds alone or together. However, on the third track, the piano dominates again, crowding out the others; as before, it seems a waste not to afford the guitar and clarinet more space and time. Thankfully, next up is the 2010 track, a duo feature for O'Sullivan and Wigens. It is the track here which most typifies empathetic improvisation, with the pair locking onto each other's playing and revelling in their interplay as they share and trade sounds. Fittingly, the track ends with the sound of the musicians' laughter. All ends well on the brief final track as the three reunite, with Chrysakis on vibes not piano, meaning he is less dominant. It closes an intriguing album which demonstrates that fine balance between players which makes for good improvisation. Well worth hearing.