Roland Kayn 

REQUIEM POUR PATRICE LUMUMBA / INTERATIONS / COMPOSIZIONE AD / PRISMES REFLECTES (RRR)

ETOILE DU NORD / GHYRESS FOR ILSE-EMILY KAYN (RRR)

The fascination emanating from Roland Kayn’s music derives from a series of intangible factors, these two double CD sets being the most recent example of his (and our) never-ending quest for a still unknown explanation. If Requiem Pour Patrice Lumumba starts out in the nightmarish calm typical of many of the German composer’s masterpieces, moving through specular nocturnal surfaces and resinoid outpourings to recurring sequences, Interations is an extravagant experiment where Kayn manipulates electronic sound and treated voices to create furious contrasts and scabby dissonance in an almost sci-fi atmosphere. The four movements of Composizione AD shake the basics of harmonic certainty with pitiless intensity, letting pitches, tapes and sibilant malformations coagulate in a morass of scary desolation, as, eyes closed, we pray for damned night to be driven away by the early sunshine. The impressive mass of voices and sounds pushes the air to the limit of acoustic tolerance (my woofers cry mercy), but with the beginning of the third movement the noise tails away in a breathtaking vision of the meanders of silence, the emotional highpoint of the work. Prismes Reflectes is a sharp game of cut ‘n’ paste where Kayn’s cybernetic vision exploits dynamics to the full in an all-out attack against predictability, a patchwork quilt of short, shocking fragments of white light and vocal manifestations.

The same warring forces are at work at the beginning of Etoile Du Nord, where Kayn explores chromatic tensions by alternating profound contemplation and ear-piercing distortion whose searing high-frequencies defy description. The constant struggle between peaceful (if slightly disturbed) introspection and the blinding light of grim dissonant reality is the underlying principle of the second movement, which starts with a slow reiteration curiously similar to Nurse With Wound’s Salt Marie Celeste (and continues to warp its angular sonic entities into proportionless rubber monstrosities.. Angry Eelectric Finger Vol.4, anyone?). Out of the blue, recordings of old orchestral albums appear, but in the darkness the crackling vinyl violins are eaten alive by what sounds like a bell tower crossed with a huge engine. The “audio world of the future” definition present on all RRR CD booklets is reductive, to say the least. Finally Ghyress, dedicated to Kayn’s daughter, is one of his most mysteriously enigmatic works, a recipe whose ingredients include nebulous drones, guitar feedback (apparently from some dissonant rock set) and touching fragments of an unknown adagio whose melancholy counterbalances the anarchic engineering of the whole structure. Outbursts of drumming and strange Star Trek choirs keep the curiosity level high as Kayn’s electroacoustic sorcery shuttles us back once more into our own cryptic inadequacy.

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