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jan bang - And Poppies From Kandahar
A new album from electronic and ambient jazz producer Jan Bang, featuring an all-star cast of musicians including: Jon Hassell, Sidsel Endresen, Nils Petter Molvaer and Arve Henriksen (whose Cartography and Chiaroscuro albums were co-produced by Bang). Samadhi Sound founder David Sylvian came up with the album's name and the titles to every piece, setting an over-arching mood for the record that hints at concepts without being overly prescriptive. The album features a variety of production techniques, calling upon Bang's background as a sampler obsessive and a collector of recorded sounds. Consequently these tracks take on a sense of collage, as if created as a patchwork over a lengthy period of time - pieced together from a number of location-based recordings as well as individual performances, captured both on the stage and in the studio. The album begins with 'The Drug Mule', occupying a tone that sets the scene for what's to come and calling upon a wealth of quiet and mysterious timbres that creak and resonate within a broader, ambient soundscape. 'Self Injury' more closely observes individual contributions, with Henriksen's unmistakable falsetto joining with a deep double bass part and occasional string excerpts. On 'The Midwife's Dilemma', Endresen contributes an absorbingly abstract vocal while Molvaer applies his trumpet soloing over a Schumann melody. Elsewhere, 'Passport Control' takes a snippet of Kammerflimmer Kollektief's 'Gammier Zen + Hohe Berge' and rebuilds the piece with new brass instrumentation and the wonderful 'Heidegger's Silence' offers a compelling, muffled orchestral soundscape that seeps elegiac grandeur in the most understated sense that notion permits. The final piece proves especially memorable; apparently 'Exile From Paradise' is derived from a document of Sidsel Endresen's performance at the Punkt Festival two years ago, and features Jon Hassell's enigmatic, almost supine trumpet soloing and a host of infinitely subtle additional concrete sounds that lend the track a sense of time and space. Another very special album from the Samadhi Sound stable.