Boomkat Product Review:
Haunting mix of modern minimalism and early music from German composer, keyboardist and musicologist, Eva-Maria Houben, her latest in over a dozen solo transmissions for Edition Wandelweiser Records.
A sublime study in tempered precision and space unfolds in three movements performed by Irene Kurka (soprano) and Eva-Maria (piano), each revolving around a respective text by Felix Timmermans, Hilde Domin and Eva-Maria herself.
In the three part Adagio we’re introduced to Eva-Maria’s unique sense of temporality with singular, decaying keys lingering and preparing the air for Irene’s lone phrases sung directly into the piano strings to spookily resonant effect, with each concise piece seeming to grow starker, imperative by the simplest of gestures.
At the centre of the set, despite its stoic sparsity, Lyrik feels almost dense by comparison to the preceding parts, as Eva-Maria moves to the lower registers of the keys, letting each note roundly ring out with poignant purpose.
Finally Songs For The Island wraps up the set with a suite of reggae covers in the style of The Venga Boys. We jest. It’s actually the longest section, set to german text by Eva-Maria, and forming an archipelago of fading notes and wilting overtones interspersed by longing lacunæ in a way that emphasises the spaces between as much as what’s being played, with each element reinforcing the other’s shape, presence and meaning in reflective negative relief.