|For his third CD on Mode, composer, trombonist, improvisor Roland Dahinden explores the string quartet medium. Each work is dedicated to and influenced by a major visual artist.
Dahinden's four works refer to images by artists, but at the same time avoids illustrating it in a literal way.
The sounds move through space thanks to a dynamic binaural system recording. Listening with stereo loud speakers, you find yourself towards the periphery of the space, listening with head phones, you are in the centre of the space.
Dahinden was born in Switzerland in 1962.He studied trombone and composition at Musikhochschule Graz (Erich Kleinschuster, Georg F. Haas), Scuola di Musica di Fiesole Florenz (Vinko Globokar), Wesleyan University Connecticut (Anthony Braxton, Alvin Lucier, M.A.) and Birmingham University of England (Vic Hoyland, PhD). As an interpreter and improvisor he performs extensively throughout Europe, America and Asia. He has recorded for MODE and for Black Saint, Braxton House, HAT HUT, Klangschnitte, Lovely Music, and World Edition. He has premiered works written for him by Ablinger, de Alvear, Braxton, John Cage, Lang, Lucier, Newman, Oliveros, and Wolff.
Performed by the string quartet of the outstanding ensemble Klangforum Wein.
Within an unhurried - some would suggest naïve - style, Dahinden plumbs variety. Chords and tones, often muted, sul ponticello or with hushed expectancy, change at a meandering pace. Dahinden, drawing inspiration from the visual arts, dedicates these works to Richard Long, Inge Dick, Brice Marden and Stéphane Brunner. (Long provided the spark for Dahinden's piano quintet). I sense different emotional qualities: The Third is the most hesitant, the Fourth slightly depressed, and the Fifth (the longest) calmest. While Feldman made such music possible, we hear no discernable gestures undergoing gentle variation. The impeccable Klangforum Wien plays as one, befitting these broadly monochromatic pieces. I don't think a plucked note appears anywhere. Two quartets (Third and Fourth) are binaural recordings that via headphones have sounds swirling delicately around the listener.
--- Grant Chu Covell