“He remembers there were gardens” in Ondarock

Dopo il sorprendente Lp “Vaev” del 2016, che aveva lasciato il segno per la sua semplicità e per i delicatissimi flussi ipnotico-psichedelici, il musicista danese Paw Grabowski – alias Ojerum – torna, grazie all’etichetta italiana Krysalisound capitanata da Francis M. Gri, con un nuovo lavoro che era già stato registrato nel 2013 ma che solo adesso viene distribuito.

Grabowski decide di creare una colonna sonora ideale del cortometraggio fotografico francese “La Jetée” del 1962, esempio di cinema sperimentale che sta a metà tra fantascienza, poesia e psicologia, segnato dalla vivissima paura – tipica dell’epoca – di un conflitto atomico. La musica scarna e ripetitiva di Grabowski si adatta bene al racconto psicologico del regista Chris Marker. È una semplicità persino superiore a “Vaev“; un unico brano di quasi trenta minuti caratterizzato da continui, ma sempre uguali a se stessi, impulsi che variano di forza e intensità.

Le variazioni sempre costanti simulano una sorta di respiro, dato dall’incedere dell’organo, vitale ma stanco e affannato; un cullarsi continuo all’interno della tragica ambientazione post-atomica del film, un navigare con la mente tra ceneri e piogge radioattive, sospesi in un limbo a metà tra la fine immanente dell’umanità e i ricordi ancora vividi di una vita felice e di luoghi nei quali, come si evince dal titolo, una volta erano presenti giardini.

Ma nonostante le premesse “He Remembers There Were Gardens” rimane un piccolo e meritevole esperimento elettroacustico, in parte penalizzato dall’eccessiva ripetitività e dalla lunghezza legata al film più che a effettive variazioni sonore. Tra i meriti di Grabowski non è comunque indifferente la riscoperta di pagine poco note del cinema sperimentale europeo, in particolare quelle pellicole post-atomiche troppo spesso relegate nel cinema di genere.


“He remembers there were gardens” in Stationary Travels

Originally released on cassette in 2013, Italian label KrysaliSound has remastered and reissued a mesmerizing long form composition by Danish collage artist & musician Paw Grabowski under his artistic pseudonym of øjeRum. An undulating, hypnagogic organ-based drone, He remembers there were gardens was conceived as an alternate soundtrack to the 1962 “photo-roman” (photo-novel) La Jetée by Chris Marker which is still recognized as a unique and highly influential experimental cinematic work

The film, presented in a series of stills, paints a dystopian vision of post-apocalyptic Paris where survivors live underground below the galleries of the Palais de Chaillot. Its protagonist is a man who is held captive and forced to travel time in a quest to find a source of energy to regenerate a decimated society. The man is chosen because of the power of his obsession with the past, specifically the allure of a fragmented, pre-war memory of a woman on the observation platform (“the jetty”) at Orly Airport and a tragic incident that occurs there which becomes the focal point of the story’s haunting denouement.

“Those familiar with the film with have no difficulty in recalling the flashes of a destroyed world, the status of the museum, and the moment on the platform. Even if you haven’t seen the film, the breathing of Grabowski’s organ will conjure similar images and moments. It fluctuates between the drifts and falls and the throb and hum of a person lost in time and place.” – KrysaliSound

Just as the liner notes suggest, as one who was previously unfamiliar with the film I was drawn in solely by the rich organ tones, repetitive patterns, and plaintive melancholy of the piece which, through music alone, suggests a poignant and compelling narrative. Ponder the existential weight of the story and it becomes more poignant still. Then, of course, one may watch the film for an entirely different experience, especially as contrasted with the melodramatic approach of the original score. Given its unique inspiration, thoughtful construction and the various ways it can be experienced, Grabowski has created a truly fascinating ambient journey that is well deserving of such a beautifully presented reissue.


He remembers there were gardens is available from KrysaliSound in a limited CD edition with handmade packaging and album cover in Polaroid format as well as a digital version that can be ordered from the label or directly from the artists.  For those interested in learning more about La Jetée, follow the ‘About the film’ link below to more information via The Criterion Collection. I also highly recommend reading an absorbing in-depth analysis by Guardian film critic Jonathan Romney which can be found here

“Untitled_TeVeT” and “He remembers there were gardens” in Merchants of air

Untitled_TeVeT – Link

Experiments with sound have been my favorite activities since I discovered that tapping on my baby chair created music. During my searches through the bizarre world of sound art, I’ve been listening to printers, hard drives my mom’s old washing machine, birds, train engines, metallic sounding conversations and whatnot. However, even I never thought that one day I will be listening to an ice cube for an hour. A 380 kg weighing ice cube that is.

Yes, this album by Italian experimentalist and musique concrete  composer Federico Dal Pozzo is an acousmatic composition, generated from the freezing sounds of a 380kg ice cube. So if you expected drums, synths, guitars and other traditional instruments, you might want to rethink your vision about music. Apart from being strange and unusual, this hour long composition is adventurous, almost alive.

Musically, this album fits in perfectly with your weirdest ambient and musique concrete albums, but it also fits in with regular ambient and all things soundscapes related. It constantly evolves, becomes loud, intense, overwhelming but also cold, isolated and alienating. It not only show the freezing ice cube but also beautifully blends in with the sounds of your surroundings, making this kind of music a part of everyday life. So yes, this one comes highly recommended.

He remembers there were gardens – Link

øjeRum is the experimental music project from Danish visual artist Paw Grabowski. This album is an alternative soundtrack to Chris Marker’s travel film ‘La Jetée’. Personally, I don’t know that film and I’m not sure that you do, so we will just focus on the music. That is not an easy job by the way, because there is not that much happening on this album. It contains one track, which moves, throbs and breathes for almost thirty minutes before leaving you behind on an apocalyptic wasteland.

That ain’t bad either, on the very contrary. Minimal music has always been a favorite here and the gentle organ sounds of øjeRum surely deserve a place in my elaborate ambient collection. What Aidan Baker can do with guitars, Paw Grabowski can do with an organ, that is basically what I am trying to say here. Obviously this comes highly recommended for all fans of ambient music. It was originally released in 2015 and now mastered by Francis M. Gri, another interesting name in this scene. So yes, you have to buy this record, now.

“He remembers there were gardens” in Beach Sloth

Angelic tones grace øjeRum’s elegant “He remembers there were gardens”. Throughout the singular serene piece the way the sound is sculpted gives it a symphonic feeling. Indeed, it is by imposing this classical structure onto glistening electronics that the work becomes quite emotionally resonant. Evolution feels naturalistic with an adherence upon a carefully built up, gradually shifting series of lovely drones. By choosing such a path the piece emerges as becoming deeply beautiful as it explores the smallest facets of sound. Without saying a single word narrative forms, that feels at times yearning, wistful, and nostalgic. Melodies are aching in terms of their careful balance.

Hushed sweeps of sound introduce the piece. For a while øjeRum chooses to simply explore the spacious of the sound. Slowly but surely øjeRum incorporates an ever-growing series of layers that help to fully flesh out the sound, at times even referencing drone music. Upon reaching something of a fevered pitch about five minutes in the piece suddenly returns to its initial quieter pastures. Around the eleven-minute mark øjeRum even touches upon the ambient bliss of early Warp Record releases, only with the ambience extended off into the infinite. Gradually øjeRum strips the sound down to the absolute essentials as the sound appears to nearly evaporate into the distance about halfway through the piece. For a moment a woozy, yearning melody emerges out of the near-silence to fill the void. Easily the best part of the piece it represents a struggle of sorts. Towards the finale all has been resolved with the song slowly melting away.

“He remembers there were gardens” shows off the impeccable pacing and arrangement work of øjeRum.

“He remembers there were gardens” in Fluid radio

The music is deeply ritualistic, in the way that a tide or overlapped set of notes refracts the meaning of the preceding one. This ebb and flow in tightness like Brian Grainger (Milieu) and William Basinski tells us more of what is at stake. The love in the sound comes down to meditation, meditating (on) – soft playing, concentric regard for a “hook” or “tap out”, a marker. What the listener chooses to take from rituals are their own investment, but Paw Grabowski’s slow moving organ parts are quite succinctly lathered with portent rather than pretense. And this certainly makes them stand out.

øjeRum, the audio project of the Danish visual artist Paw, carries with it visual life-affirming qualities, too. Quite alike to the visual geometries of installation artists, including Simon Scott, Kenneth Kirschner and Marsen Jules, the transparency for an element of the nouveau vogue is set up in tantamount positioning to the releases art with the resampling technique. One that belies and carries so many loop-using musicians further afield into group albums, and ensemble playing. oJerum is not lost in loop orgy however, creating subtle shifts in tone from chord changes that manipulate the glaze like basting a turkey in the oven. At the right temperature, and the right time, the melancholy traverses the tightrope of fear into a heavenly stasis.

Indeed, much of the premise for KrysaliSound label releases is based around heat – turning up the heat on a subject, or even bringing pure rock solid ice into focus, as on the “Untitled_TeVet” release I last reviewed for Fluid Radio. The label’s key strength has always been presenting intriguing music in lovingly packaged cases, and although their newsletters state they are trying to cut down on environmental emissions, one step at a time – for me this type of release is something essential for the drone lover in you, a half hour drift through sheer weightlessness.


“He remembers there were gardens” in Music won’t save you

L’isolazionismo creativo di Paw Grabowski, puntualmente tradotto in una significativa mole di uscite da autentico “outsider” sotto l’alias øjeRum, sta per fortuna trovando sempre più spesso canali di diffusione più ampi rispetto alle abituali autoproduzioni e ai nastri a tiratura limitata.

Capita così che l’etichetta italiana KrysaliSound, che negli ultimi tempi sta espandendo il proprio catalogo oltre le produzioni del suo ideatore Francis M. Gri, riproponga in versione digitale e rimasterizzata una lunga composizione per organo dell’artista danese, originariamente pubblicata nel 2015 nell’immancabile formato di cassetta. “He Remembers There Were Gardens” è il frutto di un esperimento di sonorizzazione condotto da Grabowski sulla scia dell’ispirazione del cortometraggio fotografico “La jetée” (1964).

L’ambientazione post-atomica di quella pellicola sperimentale trova pieno corrispettivo nell’andamento della mezz’ora scarsa della traccia, interamente incentrata su iterazioni di frequenze organiche. La loro incessante variazione di intensità e lunghezza disegna dapprima una sorta di crescendo di tensione, ripiegando poi gradualmente alla dimensione di impulsi sempre più brevi e bassi, che incarnano fedelmente i caratteri visionari di un suono tanto integrato con le immagini da divenire un surreale doppio livello narrativo.


“Introspections” in Chain D.L.K.

Some listeners could find some similarities (particularly in the way the voice got often recorded) against some bands belonging to the old-fashioned branch of ethereal wave or medieval-folk, other ones could match some moments of this recording to other possible similar sonorities such as the early outputs by Brian Eno (particularly his well-known album “Neroli”) or Beaumont Hannant, but the strictest relation of this new bicephalous project by Milan-based Italian musician Francis M.Gri, whose transition from quite cliched dark style of All My Faith Lost (the musical nubbin of his youth) to a more personal, more pensive and somehow brighter one could be considered already completed, and talented singer Lilium is the one with Revglow, their previous project. I wouldn’t say Lyef is entirely beatless, as a sense of movement is sometimes rendered by occasional slow piano stroking, but traditional percussions or rhythmical patterns have been removed. In spite of the rarefaction of their sound, I wouldn’t either label it as minimalistic as Francis didn’t skimp on aural items, as many field recordings and diluted sounds mantled the trilling voice coming out of Lilium’s uvula, which sometimes becomes an accomplice in spreading soothing sonic balms like her subtle invitation to silence or imitations of delicate air breezes in “Air”. I prefer the moments when Lilium’s voice and Francis’ sonic handling sounds more balanced such as on “Iron Trees” or “Unbrace” (particularly in the second lulling part), but the other tracks are interesting as well, particularly the enchanting fade-in of Lilium’s voice in “Fire” and her sort of dream nursing in the initial suites “Water” and “Paper”. A possible enhancer for your oneiric activity.