Thanos Chrysakis, Jason Alder
Duration 53.37 | Released May 2022
Jason Alder : Clarinet | Bass Clarinet | Contra Bass Clarinet
Thanos Chrysakis : Compositions
Recorded at Alder Music And Audio Studio in London between June 2020 - April 2022
Mastered at Meridian Studio between January-April 2022 by Thanos Chrysakis
Fáessa  11'21" for clarinet
Milieu Interieur I  16'23" for bass clarinet
Milieu Interieur II  8'41" for contra bass clarinet
Noctilucent Clouds  8'16" for two bass clarinets
Μαύρο Φως/Dark Light  8'55" for contra bass clarinet
About the Artists
Thanos Chrysakis is a Greek composer, musician, producer and sound-artist. He is best known for his work in electronic and contemporary music, free improvisation, and electro-acoustic music.
With several albums to his name his work has appeared in festivals and events in numerous countries, including CYNETart Festival, Festspielhaus Hellerau - Dresden, Artus Contemporary Arts Studio – Budapest, CRUCE Gallery – Madrid, Fylkingen – Stockholm, Relative (Cross) Hearings festival – Budapest, Festival Futura – Crest - Drôme, FACT Centre – Liverpool, Association Ryoanji – Ahun - Creuse, The Center for Advanced Musical Studies at Chosen Vale — Hanover - New Hampshire, Areté Gallery — Brooklyn - New York, UC San Diego – California - San Diego, Berner Münster – Bern, Fabbrica del Vapore – Milan, Grünewaldsalen – Svensk Musikvår — Stockholm, Splendor – Amsterdam, Logos Foundation – Ghent, Palacio de Bellas Artes – Mexico City, Műcsarnok Kunsthalle – Budapest, Spektrum – Berlin, Susikirtimai X – Vilnius, Festival del Bosque GERMINAL – Mexico City, ДОМ – Moscow, Oosterkerk – Amsterdam, KLANG ! – Montpellier, Nádor Terem – Budapest, Utzon Centre – Aalborg, Center for New Music – San Francisco, Västerås Konstmuseum – Västerås, Störung festival – Barcelona, BMIC Cutting Edge concert series at The Warehouse – London.
His music was among the selected works at the International Competition de Musique et d'Art Sonore Electroacoustiques de Bourges 2005, in the category oeuvre d'art sonore électroacoustique, while received an honorary mention in 2006 at the 7th International Electroacoustic Competition Musica Viva in Lisbon (the jury was constituted by Morton Subotnick (USA), François Bayle (France), and Miguel Azguime (Portugal).
He operates the Aural Terrains record label since 2007 where he has released part of his work until now, alongside releases by Kim Cascone, Franscisco López, Tomas Phillips, Dan Warburton, Szilárd Mezei, Michael Edwards, Wade Matthews, Dganit Elyakim, Edith Alonso, Christian Skjødt, Luis Tabuenca, Christian Kobi, Jeff Gburek, Steve Noble, Milo Fine and David Ryan.
He has written music for musicians of the Hyperion Ensemble, the Stockholm Saxophone Quartet, the Konus Saxophone Quartett, and the Shadanga Duo among others. Close collaborations with Tim Hodgkinson, Vincent Royer, Chris Cundy, Yoni Silver, Lori Freedman, Jason Alder, William Lang, Wilfrido Terrazas, Philippe Brunet, Wade Matthews, Ernesto Rodrigues, Abdul Moimême, Ove Volquartz to name but a few.
Jason Alder is a low clarinet specialist and holds degrees in clarinet performance (Michigan State University- US), bass clarinet performance (Conservatorium van Amsterdam- NL), creative improvisation (Artez Conservatorium- NL), as well as post-graduate study in the application of the advanced rhythmic principles of South Indian Karnatic music to contemporary Western classical and jazz music (Contemporary Music and Improvisation through Non-Western Techniques). He is currently conducting PhD research on the sonic possibilities on the contrabass clarinet (Royal Northern College of Music- UK). He is well-established as a performer of contemporary music and frequently works with composers to develop and premiere new works either as a soloist, with his flute-clarinet Shadanga Duo, the Four New Brothers Bass Clarinet Quartet, or in a variety of other formations. As well as composed music, Jason regularly performs internationally as an improviser, electroacoustic musician, and in world music and jazz bands. He is often found performing, lecturing, or on panel discussion at festivals around the world, including the International ClarinetFests, European Clarinet Festivals, Istanbul Woodwind Festival, American Single Reed Summit, Netherlands Gaudeamus New Music Festival, Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival, Havana Festival of Contemporary Music, and Leeds International Festival of Artistic Innovation. He is also sought after as a recording engineer for many classical and jazz musicians around Europe. Originally from metro-Detroit, Jason has lived in Europe since 2006 and is an endorsing Artist for Selmer clarinets, D'Addario reeds, Behn mouthpieces, and Silverstein ligatures.
Julian Cowley — THE WIRE — #463 — September 2022
The works of Greek born composer Thanos Chrysakis, performed by clarinettist Jason Alder, offer a dramatic illustration of a genuinely synergetic musical relationship, nurtured through close collaboration. The Greek root of the word synergy means working together. English usage brings out the sense of additional value gained from such cooperation. Alder is an intrepid navigator of those streams of microtonal phenomena that form the inner life of sound, especially adept when immersed within the wildly vibrating lower depths of bass and contrabass instruments.
Technically and temperamentally uncompromising in his interpretation of Chrysakis’s structural designs, Alder remains sure-footed amid turbulence and threats of instability that arise in that process. A sonic adventure for mind and body from a partnership that consistently transcends standard expectations.
Massimo Ricci — The Squid's Ear — 22.06.2022
The phenomenology inherent in microtonal fluctuation, multiphonics and unorthodox melodic design constitutes an intriguing field of exploration in these scores by Thanos Chrysakis, incorporating pieces for regular, bass and contrabass clarinets. Privileging a general sense of continuity as opposed to the rigid consistency of a metrical strategy, Chrysakis' compositional clairvoyance found the ideal translator in Jason Alder, a frequent presence on Aural Terrains since 2019.
As a low clarinet connoisseur probing the depths of the instrument's physical properties, Alder's control of pitch and responsiveness to vibration are exemplary. It is essential to understand the huge effort expended to produce sonic matter that might appear deceptively simple to an inattentive addressee. Intense quivering, ineffable glissandos and timbral mutability reflect years of research in a quest for getting one with the sound (and the cosmos at large, if you will). Alder is equally keen on making us discern, from every angle of hearing, the diversified shades engendered by sheer oscillation. Such ghosts — especially when bass and contrabass are involved — sway through frequencies acknowledged by the auricular membranes but also felt in the nape of the neck, and all around the head. Impressively, this occurs even at a lower listening volume, thus substantiating the skill at play.
The recording quality brings out more crucial details. The variable inhalations needed to emit altered notes; the circular breathing necessary to keep extended flows spinning; the clattering keys complementing the gracefulness of the braided pitches. And of course, the instants, however ephemeral, of charged silence. Overall, Milieu Interieur is completely unencumbered by sly attempts to beguile an audience via cheap tricks. Endowed with exquisite formal elegance, at the same time it's pregnant with physicality. An evident freedom from predigested "contemporary" schemes could induce someone to hypothesize improvised spots in the music, which — on the contrary — is entirely notated. Ultimately, the outstanding trait is perhaps the sensation of "harmonic non-belonging" conveyed by the drifting melodic trajectories, of which Chrysakis conceived a veritable multitude. Still-intelligible signals wavering across counterpointed figments, they retain an underlying purposefulness, facilitating the mind's adjustment process as soon as they're integrated in our receptive systems.
Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg — Orynx — 02.08.2022
Compositeur contemporain Grec installé à Minsk, Thanos Chrysakis publie ses compositions et ses réalisations où interviennent d’autres compositeurs et plusieurs interprètes ou improvisateurs, particulièrement des clarinettistes (Chris Cundy, Ove Volquartz, Tim Hodgkinson, Yoni Silver, Jason Adler). Parmi les compositeurs, John Cage, Ton De Leeuw, George Aperghis, Iancu Dumitrescu, Christian Wolff. Avec Milieu Intérieur, il resserre le cercle. Un clarinettiste complet, Jason Adler, qui, outre la clarinette « alto », joue aussi de la grave clarinette basse et de la monstrueuse clarinette contrebasse, et cinq remarquables compositions de Thanos pour l’instrument qu’il affectionne particulièrement, tant il apparaît dans ses œuvres et les albums qu’il produit avec beaucoup de soin et de passion sur son propre label Aural Terrains. Fàessa est écrite pour une clarinette translucide et subtile avec une belle dynamique, aérienne et secrète. Milieu Intérieur I exprime une forme introvertie dans le registre médium de la clarinette basse avec des sons retenus, graveleux ou expressifs mettant en valeur la dynamique possible et les couleurs disponibles dans ce tube à clés malaisé à contrôler sur une durée de plus de 16 minutes. Milieu Intérieur II, d’une taille plus modeste, (8’41’’) met en scène la clarinette contrebasse, une machinerie à air redoutable à manier, avec laquelle il se répand dans l’espace auditif avec une aisance et une candeur sans appel avec des vocalisations subtiles et les plus belles nuances . La qualité de jeu et d’enregistrement est un véritable délice et ouvre la sensibilité de l’auditeur quand le souffleur part à la recherche de sonorités dont il découvre les substances et les fréquences secrètes. Admirable. Cette pièce semble durer dans un infini intangible car elle est dans la trajectoire affective du Milieu Intérieur I. Atteindre de telles sonorités avec un instrument aussi grave est la vocation de toute une vie et quand le souffleur qui semble somnoler fait éclater son énergie contenue, tout semble chavirer. Fabuleux. Noctilucent Clouds est conçue pour deux clarinettes basses et débute au bord du silence avec un filet de son qui s’insère dans son alter-ego chatoyant dans les aigus flûtés. Le registre très aigu de la clarinette basse vibre comme dans un rêve en notes tenues et glissandi infimes, fantômes de l’air projeté dans les tubes. La magie du multipiste offre ici de belles congruences sensibles, savantes, une connivence diaphane ou ombrée qui s’éteint dans un silence organique et renaît dans entre léger suraigu, éraillement d’harmoniques ou graves songeurs ou éclatants. Ces 8’16’’ semblent suspendus comme des nimbus hiératiques dans un ciel bleu par-dessus un chemin de crête ligne invisible de partage des eaux par temp sec. Avec la pièce terminale Mavro Phôs / Dark Light pour clarinette contrebasse livrée en conclusion , nous tenons là un chef d’oeuvre incontestable échappant aux plans de carrière et aux agoras néo-académiques.
Minsk-based Contemporary Greek composer Thanos Chrysakis publishes his compositions and performances with the participation of other composers and numerous performers or improvisers, particularly clarinetists (Chris Cundy, Ove Volquartz, Tim Hodgkinson, Yoni Silver, Jason Adler). Among the composers are John Cage, Ton De Leeuw, George Aperghis, Iancu Dumitrescu and Christian Wolff. With Milieu Intérieur he tightens the circle. Multifaceted clarinetist Jason Adler plays not only the "alto" clarinet, but also the deeper bass clarinet and the monstrous contrabass clarinet in five remarkable compositions by Thanos, whose fondness for this instrument is evident in the frequency with which it appears in his works and on the albums he so carefully and passionately produces for his own Aural Terrains label. Fàessa is written for a translucent, subtle clarinet with beautiful airy and secret dynamics. Milieu Intérieur I unfolds in an introverted manner in the middle register of the bass clarinet. With held-back, gritty or expressive sounds it brings out the possible dynamics and colors offered by this keyed but not easily tamed tube for over 16 minutes. More modest in its proportions (8' 41"), Milieu Intérieur II brings to the fore a contrabass clarinet whose aeolean mechanics are truly formidable, filling the sound space with unquestionable ease and candor rich in subtle vocalizations and the most beautiful nuances. The playing quality and the recording itself are equally delightful, broadening the listener's sensibilities when Adler's quest for sounds reveals their most secret substance and frequencies. Admirable. This piece seems to inhabit an intangible infinity defined by the emotional trajectory of Milieu Intérieur I. Producing these sounds with such a deep instrument is a life's calling, and when the apparently somnolent player explodes with previously withheld energy, everything turns upside down. Fabulous. Written for two bass clarinets, Noctilucent Clouds begins on the edge of silence with a tiny thread of sound tickling its alter-ego in the fluted highs. The altissimo register of the bass clarinet vibrates as if in a dream with held notes and evanescent glissandi, ghosts of the air projected through the tubes. The magic of multitracking offers beautifully sensitive and sage combinations here, a diaphanous or shadowy coexistence that fades into organic silence, reborn in the lightest of high notes, hoarse harmonics and dreamy or explosive lows. Its 8' 16" hang like hieratic clouds in a blue sky over a high mountain path, an invisible line of shared waters in times of drought. The album concludes with Mavro Phôs/Dark Light for contrabass clarinet, an unquestionable masterpiece that escapes any hint of careerism or neo-academic forums.
Michael Rosenstein — Dusted Magazine — 28.06.2022
Composer, musician, producer and sound-artist Thanos Chrysakis has been putting out a slew of recordings over the past 15 years, many on his label Aural Terrains. Some, like Music for Two Organs & Two Bass Clarinets, reviewed here, feature Chrysakis in improvisational settings. But he also has released a number of recordings presenting his compositions in company with like-minded composers, usually focusing in on specific instruments. He clearly has a fondness for clarinets, working with musicians like Chris Cundy, Jason Alder, Heather Roche and Yoni Silver so Milieu Interieur is a logical deep dive, with five of his own compositions covering a range of the clarinet family, from Bb to bass clarinet to the contrabass instrument, all performed by Alder.
Things kick off with “Fáessa,” for solo clarinet, moving with patient resolve through a series of microtonal glissandos, bent notes and quavering overtones. Alder’s command of the tone and timbre of the full range of the instrument is striking throughout. “Milieu Interieur I” and “Milieu Interieur II,” for solo bass clarinet and solo contrabass clarinet follow, zeroing in on low-end oscillations of the respective instruments while effortlessly leaping to their upper reaches. The deep sonorities of the instruments are probed with formidable control, from the resonant, dusky, bottom registers of the horns to vibrant high-pitched cries, particularly on the rarely heard contrabass clarinet.
“Noctilucent Clouds,” for two bass clarinets plies the pulsations of two overdubbed instruments, often voiced in dyads with a keen ear for the resulting harmonic interactions. Here, Chrysakis deploys sections of more active playing against pools of slowly morphing tonalities with decisive deliberation. The final “Μαύρο Φως / Dark Light” returns to solo contrabass clarinet, starting with stabbing notes that resolve into richly nuanced overtones. The score jumps across the registers of the instrument, impeccably performed by Alder. He never falters, deploying a potent facility across the sliding leaps to the apex registers and dark dives to the rumbling depths. With Alder, Chrysakis has found a fruitful collaborator and interpreter of his scores and Alder clearly revels in the structures that the composer has created for him.