KENNETH KIRSCHNER "FILAMENTS & VOIDS" REVIEW
February 22 2009
as always, the complete review archive can be found here
but this one came in today, from MusiqueMachine
Filaments & Voids is a wonderfully haunting & beautiful double disk collection of lengthy works by New York based Kenneth Kirschner- with the tracks falling somewhere between ambience, slowed/ electronica and modern minimalistic classical piano music.
Kirschner work is often very slow moving, or spaced-out and users silence as a compositional element often; this is music that you have to slow yourself down to it's pace and let it slowly wash over you and sink deep into your psyche to let it weave it's often sombre, but beautiful magic. The first disk features 3 tracks that fall between 17 minutes and near on 30 minutes each named after the date they where recorded. First up we have October 19, 2006; which features heavily spaced-out harmonic yet eerier synth drones, electro ambient textures and dwells; the clever thing is one almost makes their own composition each time it's played as the gaps with in the sound are filled with your own environment sounds- that enhances the original piece but also makes your hear the world around you in a very different way. Next is September 11, 1996 which is built around rather chilling harmonic yet haunting slowed synth note tolls; with Kirschner letting the synth notes slowly die out before hitting the next one- it feels like wondering through a people-less city in the early hours of the mourning feeling both treated yet strangely curious too. Lastly on disk one we have June 10, 2008- which simmers into sonic being with sustained synth and string hover sounding like slowed early Tangerine Dream dwell. The track seems to vibrate straight through you with it's sombre wonder, as the track progresses Kirschner add's in more harmonic and emotional facets into the sound- really very mesmerizing ,melancholy and beautiful stuff.
Disk two is taken up completely by the 70 plus minute track March 16, 2006; which at first finds Kirschner digital editing Morton Feldman like lonesome paino unfolds in quite a jarring yet compelling manner. Then later he blurs the piano tone into a wonderful haunting and emotional slowed & ghostly sonic fog that is often cut by silences. The track really gives one emotional the impression of walking through a city just after the bomb has dropped and the white light has cleared; with the world seemingly out of focused, pained yet strangle beautiful and peacefully- really it almost swallows you up with it's hazy grim dwell and almost brings tears to ones eyes in places as Kirschner really seems to tap into your psyche at such an primal emotional level.
I'll have to admit much of what I've heard in the ambient genre of late has rather underwhelmed me and seems to have been following the same tired sonic path and clichés of the genre; but Kirschner work is really something very special that's distinctive, emotional and deeply compelling. Special mention must be given to the double digt-pak package be with the rather wonderful yet bleak photo of empty room by 12k label owner Taylor Deupree that fits Kirschner work perfectly and a rather interesting write-up about the albums pieces and Kirschner work by Marc Weidenbaum