Jos Zwaanenburg: Grist

review grist x1 cong

Nominally this is a “classical” album because it features a flute but it’s really an experimental album featuring flute and lots of electronic noise. It’s a whole album’s worth of sonic twiddling that sounds like a long section from a wacky krautrock band of the 70s.

Zwaanenburg graduated with distinction from the Sweelinck Conservatorium-Amsterdam in 1985 where he studied flute and composition. He was a prize-winner at the Gaudeamus International Interpreters Competition, receiving an honorary mention for performing his own compositions. He performs solo, as a member of different orchestras, as a soloist with orchestras and as a member of chamber music ensembles involved in classical as well as improvised music. He knows his way round a flute, in other words.

This album is a programme of new music for flute and electronics; in places there’s definite hints of melody, in others it’s just a sonic collage.

The album, a project of the sonic art research unit at Oxford Brookes University, features compositions by Efthymios Chatzigiannis, Stephen Cornford, Paul Dibley and Paul Whitty. The latter two have previously released an album called Wired — Works for Harpsichord and Electronics.

This is a pretty out there album. Chatzigiannis’s track features flute quite heavily and almost veers towards being music while Whitty’s sounds mostly like the sound of a shortwave radio when it’s not tuned in. Cornford’s piece is called Flute Feed and is the sound of a flute feeding back very quietly for some time.

But we’ve played it a lot more than we thought we would, way beyond what’s needed for a review, because it’s interesting. If you’re working it makes for a nice noise that’s kind of comforting.

Out now on Divine Art MSV28542.

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