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Otte, Hans / Book Of Sounds (Das Buch Der Klange), The
Album:Book Of Sounds (Das Buch Der Klange), The Collection:General
Artist:Otte, Hans Added:01/2019
Label:Beacon Sound 

A-File Activity
Add Date:2019-01-28 Pull Date:2019-04-01 Charts:Classical/Experimental
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Album Review
Your Imaginary Friend
Reviewed 2019-01-15 
Re-release of 1982 masterwork, masterpiece: minimalist ambient new music (classical) based solo piano work by Otte (1926-2007). No effects or studio tricks, recorded live in the spirit of classical music. These works are “characterized by very minimal means but are nevertheless quite subtle and sophisticated in their architecture and expression… Otte drew significantly on European and Asian spirituality, integrating various prayers into the fabric of the music”. The effect is that of atmospheric balms that we might otherwise be accustomed to hearing today using layered tape loops, studio trickery. Heavily based in looping arpeggios and dissonant chords, his use of lilting rhythms and minimalist expression are more like a Chopin record skipping than an Eno tape loop, though the latter comes to mind (as does Frippertronics). Drop. Dead. Gorgeous. Stuff.

Aside: This is one of my all-time favorite records - it completely changed how I perceived and heard music when I first heard it in 1984 on the syndicated radio “New Age” music show Music From the Hearts of Space (I wore my cassette recording of the broadcast bare).

1)** (8:41) starts quiet slow then goes into hypno lilting arpeggios 2)** (7:57) looping arpeggios lilt and create tension and peaceful melody simultaneously 3) (5:54) slower pensive darker feel, chords on the downbeat 4) (4:29) pensive dissonant chords crash against light peaceful minimalism 5)* (8:28) darker feel hypno loops, chordal. 6) (3:18) almost an interlude: single high notes are like raindrops on the sill on a lovely grey morning, warm cup of coffee or tea in hand 7) (8:44) somber hypno arpeggios 8) (4:33) somber quiet chords start but loud crashing ones interject 9) (3:44) quiet minimal chord arpeggios, simply lovely 10)* (5:57) epic hypno arpeggios, melodic masterful 11) (4:59) song like, this has a defined rhythm and semblance of melody 12) (4:35) major chords on quarter note, I always felt this was such an interesting way to end this album, masterpiece.


Additional notes from Forced Exposure:
eacon Sound present a reissue of Hans Otte's The Book Of Sounds (Das Buch Der Klänge) originally released in 1984. Hans Otte (1926-2007) was a multifaceted artist, poet, pianist, composer, and promoter who synthesized the strands of minimalism, Eastern spirituality, and radical art into his own unique and protean vision. In his younger years he studied under the composer Paul Hindemith and the pianist Walter Gieseking. From 1959 to 1984 he was the director of Radio Bremen and was instrumental in introducing artists such as John Cage, Terry Riley, and Steve Reich to European audiences. Although the compositions and recordings that Otte made over the course of his long career are wide­ranging, The Book Of Sounds is considered to be his masterwork. A solo piano piece, it was written between 1979 and 1982 after a major survey of his previous artistic output and should be viewed through the prism of his own self-development: both as a return to his roots and as a new beginning. It is a cyclical collection of 12 "chapters" that are inspired partly by John Cage's desire to get to the root of sound itself, to liberate it from the weight of expectation and tradition and to view all sound as a manifestation of nature. In a 1979 interview, Otte answered a question about whether his work had a "common core" by saying, "I would say that behind my artistic work, as an aim or hope, is the need to find myself. In other words: despite all the separating structures, the division of all the work, the ideologies, fixed ideas, systems, despite the state and everything that ceaselessly tries to separate and divide us, I fundamentally want to be complete." It might be tempting to assign The Book Of Sounds to the aesthetic of minimalism; however, it is a deceptively sophisticated collection of pieces that unfolds slowly over repeated listens with shifting harmonics and unusual structural touches that keep it firmly on the side of "avant-garde". Includes booklet with contemporary liner note contributions by Terry Riley, Inga Ahmels, and Dustin O'Halloran as well as a reprint of a 1982 Village Voice live review by Tom Johnson and photos taken by his daughter Silvia. First edition of 500.

Track Listing
1.Part 1 7.Part 7
2.Part 2 8.Part 8
3.Part 3 9.Part 9
4.Part 4 10.Part 10
5.Part 5 11.Part 11
6.Part 6 12.Part 12