''The Alvaret Ensemble is a new improvisatory collective based around Greg Haines (piano), Jan Kleefstra (voice, poems), Romke Kleefstra (guitar and effects) and Sytze Pruiksma (percussion). This self-titled 2xCD/2xLP is our first release, and was recorded over three nights at the Grunewaldkirche in Berlin by Nils Frahm in August of 2011. In keeping with the spirit of the project, other musicians were invited to the sessions to add their own colour and further add to the spontaneity of the recording. In the end, those collaborators played an important part in defining the sound of the album ï¿½ Iden Reinhart played violin, as did Peter Broderick, while Hilary Jeffery (Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble etc.) provided the album with its mournful trombone tones. Martyn Heyne, who was just there to help out with recording, ended up unleashing the church's organ and bringing a completely new element and sense of power to the album. We had been talking about recording together for a long time before finally setting the date and the location, so there was a strong sense of anticipation as we began to set-up the space for recording. Then, without scores or discussion, we began to play. In the beautiful and bright acoustics of the Grunewaldkirche, it soon became clear that even when playing incredibly quietly, the sound still filled the room and the tiny details or blemishes that we began to notice in the sound became the compositional tools that informed the recording. Recorded entirely at night, the candlelit atmosphere further added to the level of concentration and interconnectivity, and quickly the pieces began to take on lives of their own ï¿½ it was as if with just a little guidance they would play out by themselves; as if the scores were already written and we were simply reciting what we had spent years composing. So many months of thoughts and ideas quickly began to pour out into something that instantly began to feel complete. Of course this feel of completeness was also supplemented with a sense of excitement that the idea was working, that something was beginning to take shape - that an album that we are now all immensely proud was being created right there, in the moment. We were left with around 12 hours of recordings, which we then spent months immersing ourselves in and began to craft something that would later become two discs ï¿½ something that can be viewed as two separate entities or as one lengthy statement. When all was in order, Nils Frahm and Greg got together in his workspace, Durton Studio, and mixed and mastered it with the precise attention to detail that the music deserved.'' - The Alvaret Ensemble.
Greg Haines is a musician and composer based in Berlin. He has released on Miasmah, Sonic Pieces and Preservation, and played concerts around the world, including across Europe, the USA, Japan and Australia. He also has created many scores for dance, including ï¿½Day4ï¿½ with choreographer David Dawson, performed by the Dutch National ballet and the Holland Symfonia.
The Kleefstra Brothers are members of the Dutch improv band Piiptsjilling, as well as working together on numerous releases with musicians such as Celer, Gareth Davis, Peter Broderick, Machinefabriek, Nils Frahm, Greg Haines, Sytze Pruiksma and Anne Chris Bakker. It invariably involves the experimental guitar playing of Romke in combination with the spoken word in Frisian (old European minority language) by Jan.
Sytze Pruiksma is a composer, sound artist and bird-watcher, traditionally educated as a classical percussionist at the conservatory of Amsterdam. After having played as a percussionist in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Dutch Philharmonic Orchestra (among others), he focussed on his own projects, developing an authentic way of playing that is characterized by a great attention for timbre, inspired on landscapes, nature and birds.
For fans of SET FIRE TO FLAMES, RACHELS, ARVO PÄRT and the ECM catalogue in general.
released December 5, 2012
The Alvaret Ensemble is Greg Haines - piano, accordian; Jan Kleefstra - voice, poems; Romke Kleefstra - guitars, effects; Sytze Pruiksma - percussion. Additional musicians: Hilary Jeffery - trombone; Iden Reinhart - violin; Peter Broderick - violin; Martyn Heyne - chrurch organ.
Recorded over three nights in the Grunewaldkirche, Berlin during August 2011. Recorded by Nils Frahm, with assistance from Martyn Heyne. Edited and compiled by Greg Haines at The Electricity Works, berlin. Mixed and mastered by Nils Frahm and Greg Haines at Durton Studio, Berlin. Denovali Records (DEN157)