Boomkat Product Review:
Haunting atmospheric beauty from Danish composer and Fluxus artist Henning Christiansen, recalling Goodiepal via Andrew Chalk and Ghédalia Tàzartes in a previously unheard gem recorded on the island of Møn in 1991
Revolving two couples, Henning and his wife Ursula Reuter Christiansen, and their Sicilian friends Carlo Quartucci and Carla Tatò, ‘Op.201 L’Essere Umano’ is a richly immersive, avant-theatric work that speaks to their shared European sense of spirituality. Primitive yet contemporary, the 40 minuet work is framed by the sound of the ocean, mystic woodwind, effects and a plonging PVC tube that form the backdrop for their massed vocals in multiple languages, which freely cross the sound stage in charmingly irreverent, rudimentary, and organically hypnotic fashion. The results are poetic in that anti-poetic Fluxus way, searching and laughing at the borders of perception and inhabiting liminal, mystic spaces where they intend to smudge notions of identity and “the idea of the ’national’, the idea of country, the idea of difference” with their freely expressive mantras and time-suspending atmosphere.
In their unchallenging but inquisitive nature, we’re reminded of Goodiepal’s Faroese folk shanties as much as Ghédalia Tàzartes’ mediterranean fantasies, but bridged by the kind of eyelid-lulling hypnagogia we prize in Andrew Chalk and Timo Van Luijk’s Elodie. The music’s unbroken, eternal flow casts rarified conditions for melancholic but hopeful headspaces that, like the best art and music, has the ability to sound ancient yet up-to-date and perhaps give some sort of scale of thought that takes listeners out of our immediate, ever-impending present and remind of an innate spirituality that’s buried and matted in all of our mental mires.