VITAL WEEKLY 1182: Uprooted

This album marks, I think, a difference in approaches for this Dutch composer. Before he has made many albums with instrumentalists, such as Oene van Geel (violin) and Eric Vloeimans (trumpet), but with 'Uprooted', he takes it all a step further. The five pieces on this release he gathered a bunch of instrumentalists in his studio and together they form a small orchestral ensemble. Van Geel is present, but also Peter Hollo (cello), Gareth Davis (bass clarinet), Stijn Hüwels (guitar and electronics), Gulli Gudmundsson (electric bass, double bass and ebow), and Alex Haas (synths & electronics), with Banabila himself on software instruments, sampler and electronics. Not every player is on all tracks; Haas only on one and Hollo and Davis on all, just like Banabila himself. In recent times I thought quite a bit about modern classical music; there seems to be much of that and not always something I understand or like. There are, however, also albums that I like very much and this here is surely one of them. Of course, it is not easy what attracts me to this and not to something else, which perhaps also sounds like a piece of modern classical music. Much of this has to do with the way things are worked by the composer. If I understand well, Banabila took improvisations from all of these players and through extensive copying, pasting, editing and sampling created these pieces. He's not in front of the players like a mad conductor explaining the score to them. It is, I would think surely the sort of Banabila music that is recognizable as music that he does. It is lush, it is ambient, it is mysterious and it is orchestral. Banabila paints some sombre clouds of music in which there is slow movement; like on a grey day, when the sun is not to be seen and clouds do move slowly. Today is very much such a day for the melancholic musical moods depicted by Banabila. He layered freely all of these sounds together, doubling and tripling the voices and playing around with them. It starts with a great piece;  'Dragonfly', the opening piece here, in which Davis plays a lead with his clarinet pushing and Van Geel and Hollo playing accents with the occasional chord on the piano. Very mysterious, cinematic and beautiful. The other pieces are equally beautiful, going from mood to mood. This is a solid new album by Michel Banabila; you know what to expect and yet you also get something that you didn't expect, a slightly new uprooted version of Banabila's music. (FdW)



Music composer & sound artist. Michel Banabila releases music since 1983 and has produced musical scores for numerous films, documentaries, video art, theatre plays & choreographies. His music varies from minimal loop-based electronica, 4th world and neoclassical pieces, to drones, experimental ambient, and punk-as-fuck tape music. In addition to acoustic instrumentation, Banabila uses electronics, field recordings, and snippets from radio, tv and internet.

Bureau B, Eilean Rec, Séance Centre, Pork Recordings, Tone Casualties, Challenge Records, Steamin' Soundworks, Knekelhuis, Tapu Records.