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CORTIZONA016 - SOLASTALGIA - (FREDERIK CROENE)
FREDERIK CROENE   New release  Bestseller   
SOLASTALGIA
Label: CORTIZONA
Catalog No.: CORTIZONA016
Genre: EXPERIMENTAL
Format: LP
Release date: 23-09-2022
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LP in silkscreen printed sleeve.These four piano pieces could be considered as a classical sonata (allegroadagio-scherzo-rondo). In a recital they are accompanied by four video pieces by artist Karl Van Welden.
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Review


TRACKLISTING


A1. Frederik Croene - Diamond Princess, February 2020, Yokohama - Japan
A2. Frederik Croene - Reno, March 2021, Ghent - Belgium
B1. Frederik Croene - World Dream, March 2018, Chai Wan - Hong Kong
B2. Frederik Croene - Chronesthesia, July 2012, Naples - Italy





INFO


Vessels promise an escape from responsibilities towards the landscape, they facilitate our avoidance of conscientiously feeling our attachment to the mainland. The visual nothingness of deep water and clean horizons fools the brain and delivers a treacherous feeling of independence.

We ignore the truths expressed by landscapes, so we mould them into urban projects for our strange desires. We clean up the irrationalities by which nature constructs itself. Then we look up to the skies, where the abstractions we have to draw in our minds should reside and inspire us.

We peer into the various shades of blue above the waters, the emptiness guarantees possibilities of our abstractions becoming realities. The apathetic stare into neat, straight horizons transforms our ancestral landscape into dirt and danger, when looking back to it.

To be on a ship under quarantine, is an upside down experience, for the promised escape has turned into a forced paralysis. The Lima flag (? - ? ?, in morse code), presented on the outer sleeve of this record, indirectly demands of all passengers to stay aboard and contemplate their escape from the land they now desire to return to.

These four piano pieces could be considered as a classical sonata (allegroadagio-scherzo-rondo). In a recital they are accompanied by four video pieces by artist Karl Van Welden. We picked the videos out of his extensive archive, choosing images intuitively while listening to the piano music. The theme of ships relating to quarantine thus came unannounced but of course, we were in the middle of the pandemic at the time.

Solastalgia was already waiting as a title for the new album before march 2020. I first came across the word in Underland, a book by Robert Macfarlane (2019). He defines the word as "The unhappiness of people whose landscapes are being transformed about them by forces beyond their control". These forces and this unhappiness are, I believe, what constitutes the modern human. Solastalgia, about the music We haven't found them yet, the words to talk to each other about the worrying signs of climate change. Feeling worried when walking on autumn leaves in the beginning of August should be completely normal. But how do we communicate about it? We don't want to be just the next hysterical doomer.

With this music I try to focus on the climate pain itself, gently inviting the listener to investigate their latent feelings of unease and growing concerns about the environment. As in real life, we circumvent the real issues because they are just too big, there are no words, no expressions yet.

This album tries, in four different attempts, to carve out a path towards communicating about a deeper pain that eventually will connect us all. My general method is to start with a comforting melody, full of fake nostalgia, which, after changing gear to autodestruct mode, morphs into a painful question mark.

The first part sets off with an idyllic melody, accompanied by repeated notes, as a far, muted echo of an alarm. The melody starts to explain itself painfully into a dissonant whirlwind in the high register, sounding not unlike Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit bravura. In the second piece a warm Beatles like melody (And I love her) gets confronted with the weird hippie mantra of a later Lennon song War is over, if you want it. Sentences get reduced to syllables and result in lonely notes that crash and shiver under the burden of too much meaning. Like Shostakovich's latest work, the Sonata for viola and piano.

The descending melody of Bach's Erbarme dich, Mein Gott is echoed in the upper and lower voicings of the third piece, juxtaposed to a typical, threatening Ennio Morricone Western dotted rhythm accompaniment. This rhythm eventually evolves into citing the 1972 Captain Beefheart early ecological warning song Blabber and Smoke (there's a big pane/pain in your window, it's gonna hang you all,... dangle you all). Towards the middle of the piece, the music explodes and the three layers get dispersed all over the keyboard in a virtuosic maelstrom towards another painful question mark. The bitter answer is going back to business with a barely noticeable citation of the first notes of the RZA's Liquid Swords album.

The final piece is some kind of mantra, the same 7/4 pulse all throughout the piece. The dampers of all A's and B's on the keyboard are released by the middle pedal, thus sustaining an ever present resonance. Melodic cells alternate in shifting quantifications with small, bell like percussive cluster playing. While composing this piece an image crept up: walking out of the church on Sunday morning, tolling bells enthusiastically moderating the churchgoers' small talk in the local dialect. Apparently I have tried to evoke this kind of conversation, but injecting it with fictitious alarming conversation topics, the contemporary.

Frederik Croene (August '22)



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