Asymmetrical Music //

Album label: 
Release date: 
Recording date: 
Friday, October 8, 2004
Recording engineer: 
Audun Strype
  • 1. Asymmetrical Prelude (05:39)
  • 2. Asymmetrical Music - I (07:21)
  • 3. Asymmetrical Music - Ii (05:40)
  • 4. Asymmetrical Music - Iii (04:59)
  • 5. Asymmetrical Music - Iv (05:51)
  • 6. Asymmetrical Music - V (04:01)
  • 7. Asymmetrical Music - Vi (09:27)
  • 8. Asymmetrical Music - Vii (10:09)
  • 9. Asymmetrical Epilogue (03:28)

About Asymmetrical Music
SOFA is very proud to present the new cd with Norwegian composer Eivind Buene and his composition, Asymmetrical Music. This is SOFA first release with a written score, but it doesn’t mean that improvisation is abandoned. On the contrary, Asymmetrical Music focuses on the meeting point between composition and improvisation. The two soloists, Ivar Grydeland – guitar and Ingar Zach – percussion, are improvising as a duo but also on another level, with the written score. The members of the Ensemble featured on this disc are also very capable improvisors at the same time being leading interpreters of contemporary music. Enjoy this astonishing work from Eivind Buene.

Liner notes
What is the link between creating music on paper and creating music by improvising? An obvious dissimilarity is that the act of composing takes place outside time, while improvisation happens in real time. Another difference, with more profound connotations, is the fact that most compositions expressed in a written score depend on performers to make them audible and accessible to a listener. But equally important is the basic common ground: when the music is in the air, it opens up a world of sound to the listening ear.

When Ingar Zach and Ivar Grydeland approached me about collaborating, it was an opportunity to combine and juxtapose the different energies of improvisation and the composition. Asymmetrical Music is the result of this work. The Asymmetrical Orchestra is made up of musicians living and working in Oslo, many of whom I have collaborated extensively with in a number of pieces. The ensemble is put together largely with regard to the individual musicians’ characteristics. But I have also sought to create tension —an asymmetry between the sound-world of classical instruments like violin, cello and clarinet, and that of electric guitar, Fender Rhodes and bagpipes. An important feature of several of these musicians is that although they are highly skilled classical players, they also have the ability to operate with equal agility in improvisation. In Asymmetrical Music, one can hear these musicians engaged in many different expressions of points along the line between the composed and the improvised.

The ensemble partly plays a written score, partly engages in improvisations of different kinds together with the soloists. In this way the soloists are given a space to react not only to the music of the score, but also to the individual and collective voices of improvised expressions in the ensemble. Thus the role of
Zach and Grydeland can be defined as that of soloists in a double concerto, where they naturally create a common space between themselves. But unlike most improvised music, another axis is opened: the space between their collective interplay and the pre-determined structure of the score.

In my first project combining composition and improvisation, Objects of Desire, I worked closely with pianist Christian Wallumrød. We followed the assumption that the music we wanted to pursue was basically the same material created within the different paradigms of composition and improvisation. The collaboration with Zach and Grydeland has in many ways followed a different trajectory: Their mode of improvisation has been evolving since the onset of the project, and in my writing I have quite deliberately kept a distance from their opinions and tastes. In this way we wanted to map out a wide area of musical imagination, but also to highlight the fault lines, the voids, the asymmetries between composition and improvisation.

Oslo, July 2007
Eivind Buene

Jazz Word and #103
This Asymmetrical Music may be irregular. Yet despite the title, it’s not lopsided but lucid.

Ken Waxman
(...lyckas (...) otroligt väl att väva in alla ensemblens röster utan att förta det personliga på kollektivets bekostnad. (...) ”Asymmetrical Music” är en viktig skiva.)

Magnus Olsson

The Wire
The duo meet the challenge of this situation spectacularly well and it's a consistently absorbing release.(...) Buene avoids any suggestion that this is a clash between predetermined orderliness and inspired spontaneity.

Julian Cowley

Point of Depature
Cliché-free – no barren Nordic landscapes in view – and played with fresh enthusiasm, (thanks no doubt to the improvising guests, but also to the inaudible conductor who I think makes a series of quite important choices), this music draws equally from Schlippenbach and Schoenberg in a rarely achieved balance, fully of its time while aware of the different traditions from which it takes inspiration.

Francesco Martinelli

Ensemblet er smidig og sterkt, og utøverne setter personlig preg på det skrevne. Som et finmønstret og tankevekkende bremsespor på adventstidens småglatte overflate, minner denne musikken oss om verdien av friksjon. -- read the whole review»

Arild R Andersen