John Kannenberg – Autumn Enso (Herbal, 2005)

John Kannenberg
Autumn Enso

CDr Herbal International / Why Not Limited 00007 (Malaysia, 08-2005)

01. Prelude
02. Autumn Enso I
03. Interlude I
04. Autumn Enso II
05. Interlude II
06. Autumn Enso III

Composed, performed and produced 2003-2005
Created on a 12″ 867MHz Powerbook G4 using Reason 2.0, Peak 3.0 and Soundtrack 1.0.
Sound sources: autumn leaves, rice paper, snare drum, hi-hat, crash + ride cymbals, synthesis, Kaoss pad.

« Autumn Enso » began as a visual idea. In the winter of 2003, I attended an exhibition at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago entitled « Visual Mantras: Meditative Traditions in Japanese Buddhist Art » and was particularly struck by two pieces in the exhibition. « Sunrise Enso, » a folding fan painted by Nakahara Nantenbo in 1920, and especially « Fire Enso, » a hanging scroll painted by Setsudo Joen in the late 18th century, were simplecalligraphic designs that incorporated the enso, a stark black circle of ink that became one of the most important visual symbols in zen artwork. Embodying many facetrs of zen philosophy, the enso makes reference to the cycle of birth, death and reincarnation; the cyclical nature of the seasons; the shape of the planets; and the curved space of the cosmos.
Around the same time I had been thinking about making some visual pieces using autumn leaves. After seeing the enso brush paintings in the exhibition, I decided to make an enso out of autumn leaves. It wasn’t until I decided that the leaves should be placed in a circle around the edge of a snare drum that I began to think of ways this concept could become the basis for a sound piece.
I decided to create the leaf enso as part of a recording session in my studio, and decided to document the process with photographs and audio recordings. I began with a starkly lit snare drum. Slowly, I placed a circle of autumn leaves, gathered from the sidewalk outside my home, around its outer edge. I then placed a piece of rice paper on top of the leaves and made a charcoal rubbing. The four photographs that documented this process became the basis for a visual work entitled « Autumn Enso ».
(…) The pieces all make use of low frequencies, giving them a degraded, « static » sound which is meant to represent the decay of autumn – a nod to another Japanese aesthetic, wabi-sabi, which celebrates the beauty of imperfection and impermanence.
(John Kannenberg)

The enso is a stark black circle of ink, known from Japanese calligraphy and one of the important symbols of zen. John Kannenberg saw examples in an exhibition and was inspired to make enso using autumn leaves. These leaves were then put in a circle around instruments that are circles: a snare drum, hi-hat and crash cymbal. The snare drum was covered with rice paper. That’s the basic set-up by which Kannenberg plays his music. Drum sounds as such are not in there, except maybe for the percussive opening sounds of ‘Prelude’. Each of the six pieces are low humming beauties of drone music. It’s hard to tell what it that he does exactly, by what means of processing, but he slabs out some truely beautiful pieces of overtones sounds, ringing and buzzing around, like a continuous semishigure. As pieces of music that are inside drone music, even when the entire process seems to be made with computer. Microsound with a capital M (I’m sure the lowercase posse will be offended by this). Some great stuff on there. (Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly)

FR D’abord, m’excuser auprès de la nombreuse personne qui a téléchargé l’Antiseptic de Lau Mun Leng (ah? il n’y a plus de taupes dans votre jardin? bon, ben tant mieux alors…). Sur la même sous-division d’Herbal, Autumn Enso opère dans un tout autre registre, ce que vous avez déjà deviné en lisant la liste des instruments utilisés (car oui, la feuille morte est aussi un instrument à vent, on ne vous apprend donc rien à l’école?).
Ensuite, noter que John Kannenberg s’occupe aussi du netlabel Stasisfield.
Enfin, constater que Frans de Waard est plus doué que moi pour parler de cet album.
ENG If you wonder what the lines in french above mean, you can try to translate them but it’s not important, since Frans de Waard describes this album way better than I could ever do. John Kanneberg also runs the fine Stasisfield netlabel.

Visit John Kanneberg or Why Not Ltd. or Stasisfield
(links in comments)

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Un commentaire pour John Kannenberg – Autumn Enso (Herbal, 2005)

  1. docteurorlof dit :

    (j’ai peut-être oublié le ‘n’ de Autumn dans les tags des fichiers…)

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