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Marcos Fernandes, Hans Fjellestad, Haco, Jakob Riis - "Haco Hans Jakob Marcos"

Two California residents plus one Danish and one Japanese musician recorded at a session in Tijuana, mexico in 2003. Marcos fernandes plays drums and percussion, Hans Fjellestad synthesizer, Jakob Riis Powerbook, Haco electronics, toys and voice. The outcome is a set of five agitated yet tightly bound improvisations that disclose real affinity among these disparate players. The capacity of Fernandes to mix his kit convincingly with electronic instruments while heightening the music's momentum, most notably on "Glow", is a key element in its success. Not that any group involving Fjellestad is likely to becom becalmed, driven as he is by wild enthusiasm for the analog synth's lurking squeals, chimes and burbles. Haco and Riis add viscosity and texturing, and it all hangs together in motion.

     - Julian Cowley, The Wire

In a time very far from now, four musicians will meet in a studio in Tijuana, Mexico and start playing. The first will be Marcos Fernandes, owner of the accretions label (which will, three years after the session, release the album) and one of San Diego's most avid future jazz performers. The second will be Hans Fjellestad, famed director and a laptop artist on a neverending tour. Japanese "Vocalist/lyricist-composer/multi-instrumentalist/sound-artist" Haco will be third in line, a multi-talent who will sport a homepage in plain text format, containing enlightning articles on issues such as "Happy Proof of Intelligent Life beyond the Pop Mainstream". And then there will be Jakob Riis, hailing from the "rotten state of Denmark" and performing in more ensembles than we could possibly name here. Together, they will embark on a sonic journey beyond compare.

In a time very far from now, four musicians will record five pieces of almost exactly equal length and then arrange them in ascending order. The first will sound like a dialogue between various percussive instruments and a broken sequencer in close proximity of a humming generator. The second will commence more energetically, with wild drum rolls and squeaking noises, before entering a canyon of delay and echo, full of twinkling bells and morse-coded vibraphon messages. On the third one, a recently hatched bird will sing a ten minute long song from the remeains of his egg shell. Scenes from a future Science Fiction movie, shot in complete black and stuffed with sensory supplements, will dominate the fourth track. The fifth piece will be a love song, as romantically bouncing notes dance a strange waltz to a passionately detuned miniature saxophone. The sounds deriving from the Synths and laptops will alternately resemble a burning, a frizzling, a bubbling, a rubbing, a smacking and a scouring. Haco's toys and voice will add a naive charme, as if the music were being played by a group of dolls inside a Fisher Price village. And Marcos' Fernandes' Drums and Percussions will asign a clear status to each of the elements, engaging in atmospheric sleepwalking, rhythmic patterns or a build up of tension. The players will have all the freedom in the world, yet each of their works will have a recognisable structure and a character of its own, as if everything had been minutely planned in advance. The album will be fifty minutes long, it will not contain a single melody in the usual sense of the word or a chord progression in the Western mindset and it will not be boring for one second. The music will sound like nothing you have heard before. Maybe you will, at first, believe this to be a random collection of sounds. If you have listened to some of the other accretions releases, you will recognise the Jazz aspect of things, the effort to capture something unspeakable (or not even yet existent) in sound. You may actually find it breathtakingly exciting and awe-inspiring, without really being able to say why. But in a time very far from now, your children's children's children's children will play this record in whatever format the future will come up with and think to themselves: "This is the coolest thing we've ever heard!"

     - Tobias Fischer,Tokafi

This music was improvised in a studio of Tijuana, Mexico in 2003. Four musicians/sound artists with pretty dissimilar backgrounds were reunited in an improbable place to set up a series of exchanges whose main result is a curious intersection of affected balances and discarded identities. At the beginning, Fernandes' drums seem to prevail in the mix; but soon enough, synthetic eruptions and stuttered affirmations by Fjellestad and Riis begin to mould an ambiguous bed of thorns for Haco's electronics, toys and (in "Speak") quiet introverted utterances. Instantly, the whole gets instinctively connected to a bizarre underworld of biotic agglomerates with a collective lunatic personality, in which percussive fragments and an inexhaustible simultaneousness of electronic idiosyncrasies join, acquiring a soft polymorphic consciousness. An utterly impalpable sense of extraterrestrial counterpoint does the rest, giving our perceptive channels the right amount of time to get used to this strange concoction.

     - Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes

Marcos Fernandes plays percussion and his compatriots (Hans Fjellestad, Haco, Jakob Riis) fill in the electronic details. The results can be as peppy as an old-fashioned coffee percolator and as adventurous as the Mars Rover. The sort of whacked-out expedition I've been looking for for some time.

     - Jon Worley, Aiding & Abetting

Computers might not need an audible language to talk to one another, but I imagine that if they did, it would sound an awful lot like this. The disc's track titles follow a recognizable path-awake, crawl, speak, glow, last-but listeners looking for concrete aural markers to guide them through might feel a bit lost in the code. Still, the language analogy could be an apt one. Half the quartet speaks Japanese and the other half Danish, and they were all having this particular conversation in Tijuana (just south of the border from Hans and Marcos's adopted home of southern California). The core syllables at work here are built out of percussion, synthesizer, electronics, toys, voice, and PowerBook. The participants are polite in their interactions, careful not to trample over one another or cut anybody off mid-thought. And like sitting at a street café in Paris without a word of French in your vocabulary, you can absorb the arc of the conversation without any hint as to what anyone is talking about.

     - Molly Sheridan, NewMusicBox

Although perhaps the improvisations captured on this disc may be more Dolf Mulder's thing, I must admit I quite enjoyed it and that's partly because aside with all the chaotic drumming of Marcos Fernandes, the thing is largely electronic. Hans Fjellestad plays synthesizer, Haco (best known for he work with After Dinner) plays toys, electronics and voice and Jakob Riis plays powerbook. All four musicians operate in the fields of improvised music. This disc was recorded already three years ago, in one day, in a studio. Later on Fjellestad and Fernandes did the mixing, bringing out what they had in mind: mixing electronics and acoustic instruments. I must say they succeeded well in their task. Of course there are the usual elements of chaos that linger around these kind of musics in some of these pieces, but this quartet are at their best when they play a more contemplative tune. When looked as such, this CD works towards its way through various approaches, but in the final track (aptly called 'Last'), everything seems to be coming together: in this the longest piece there are elements of minimalism, of melancholy, but also small outbursts of chaos and mayhem. It's here when they are at their best. Each player has a distinct sound, his or her own voice, and none of the voices prevail, but there is instead plenty of room for communication. A very good meeting of electricity and analogue vibrations.

     - Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly

The thing about improvising is the process happens only once. After the moment is done, it's gone and gone for good. Unless, that is, you happen to have a method of taping a particular event for posterity. We're lucky this quartet session was taped indeed. Percussionist Marcos Fernandes, synth player Hans Fjellestad, vocalist and electronics whiz Haco and laptopper [in his case, Powerbook man] Jakob Riis came together one day in Tijuana, Mexico to record their musical thoughts and beliefs. It's as if the world around them stood still while they gelled their ideas into one seamingless whole. Striking thing is their communication style - the way they link disjoined ideas to one another. It must've been difficult to hold this energy at bay as the ideas come quick and heavy. Neither jazz, electronic music nor pure improvisation, the sounds at hand are just there. Take them for what they are without questioning their right to be. In between the laptop manipulations, synth glitches, various toys and real-time percussion [as opposed to a machine taking the place of a human], we hear a sense of formation of a real working quartet. As much as I hate the word, I found the listening experience to be rather [dare I say it] pleasant. In places, it does resemble space music - especially when the high-pitched glitches start to resemble racing comets. More than just the sum of its parts, these four live and breathe the sounds they make. This is more than just a studio session of amateurs. These guys are authentic with a capital A. Not one minute is spent on meandering, worthless doodling. Nowhere do I hear a band that is lost or searching for rhyme and reason to their music. These four have already found the highly coveted IT.

     - Tom Sekowski, Gazeta

Here's a skittery, (seemingly) random little batch of tracks. Springboarding in this collaborative effort from a minimalist experimental aesthetic the four artists (hence the "band" name) involved in this project have created a sound that is tenebrous yet possessing of a certain personality. It feels almost as if one has stepped into shadows unfamiliar and is surrounded by diminuitive creatures uttering from just out of sight, curious but afraid of you. Mind you, I'm not saying the sounds herein actually SOUND like that but that that is the personality conveyed. Glitch, techy sounds, vocal manipulations, etc., are the core of these soundscapes, which also use silent spaces between burbs, blips and scrapes as legitimate parcels of sound, as much as the actual positive sounds. Like the audio version of a painter's negative space. Truly, while this music isn't aggressive it is capable of being enveloping. Ultimately, though, it is an interesting but not entirely engaging (despite its ability to surround) and sometimes a tad annoying. In the right mood, this could be a useful soundtrack for a lazy moment. But indisputable artistic creativity aside, this just isn't my cup of tea.

     - Kristofer Upjohn,

Deste já estava à espera há algum tempo. Através das movimentações à volta do Trummerflora Collective, a que pertence o percussionista Marcos Fernandes, foi-me possível antecipar o encontro, mesmo tendo em conta que tal poderia nunca passar de um hipotético desejo, considerando a distância física que medeia entre os membros deste colectivo de improvisadores. Que agrupa, além do percussionista nipo-americano, repartido entre Yokohama e San Diego, o também californiano Hans Fjellestad, do duo Donkey, em sintetizadores, o japonês Haco, em voz e electrónica, e o dinamarquês Jakob Riis, em laptop. Em 'Haco Hans Jakob Marcos', gravado em Tijuana, México, a receita é combinar eficazmente sons electrónicos e orgânicos de modo inventivo, estabelecer pontes entre dois mundos, realidades culturais que tanto têm de próximo como de distante, assimilar a reverberação de sons antigos que ecoam juntamente com o último grito da fonte digital. A arte está no saber dosear os ingredientes, improvisações vocais e instrumentais; saber usar o tempo e o espaço como base de trabalho e com eles confeccionar um produto musical capaz de comunicar uma extraordinária vitalidade. Num mercado em que proliferam edições de música electroacústica improvisada, esta edição é um caso bem sucedido de intercâmbio estético sem constrangimentos de ordem formal, eivado de um certo pragmatismo sonoro e assinalável empenhamento artístico. Tudo concorre para estimular a imaginação do ouvinte. Excelente entretenimento, este 'Haco Hans Jakob Marcos', a mais recente edição da norte-americana Accretions.

     - Eduardo Chagas, Jazz e Arradores

Das illustre Quartett hat diese Aufnahmen bereits im Mai 2003 gemacht, in Tijuana, Mexiko. Marco Fernandes spielt Schlagzeug und Perkussion, Hans Fjellestad Synthesizer, Haco ist an Electronics und Spielzeug aktiv und bringt Töne mit ihrer Stimme ein, Jakob Riis bedient den Laptop. Die 4 Musiker beackern das weite Feld der improvisativen freien Musik. Es gibt keine stilistischen Vorgaben, keine Grenzen, es sei denn, die der eigenen Inspiration. Kein Ton der 5 ausgedehnten Tracks der CD ist 'gewöhnlich', kein Instrument gibt 'herkömmliche' Töne wieder. Die Spielweise, die Intimität der Einspielung, die Intensität der Sounds und der Musiksprache - nichts ist 'normal'. Die vier Avantgardisten haben ihre eigene Art, Instrumente zu bedienen, Töne und Stimmungen zu finden, forcieren und verebben zu lassen, um neuem, aus soeben empfundenen und gespielten Improvisationen entstandenem Klang Ausdruck zu verleihen. Äußerst interessant ist dabei nicht nur der letzliche Mix der Aufnahmen und das Arrangement der Instrumente, sondern auch, welches Instrument gerade im Vordergrund arbeitet, während andere im Off hantieren oder unterstreichende Sounds einbringen. Dabei ist kein Musiker stets mehr im Vordergrund; wie die Stimmungen und schwellenden Sounds wechseln, so arbeiten sich auch verschiedene Instrumente mit ihrem typischen Ausdruck vor. Hin und wieder kann es passieren, dass das Quartett gemeinsam an der (a)tonalen Front steht und ein komplexes Gewirr hektischer Töne erzeugt. Das sind die emotionalen Höhepunkte, die als Krönung des introvertierten Spiels erreicht werden, wenn die Spannung der intensiven Soundtracks in freien Höhen explodiert. Alle 4 Musiker zeigen ein großes Gespür für vitale, intime und eindrückliche Klänge, zudem gehen sie sensibel aufeinander ein und loten Klangweiten aus, die in der Form noch nicht zu hören waren. Und doch gibt es gewisse Parallelen.

In den Tracks "crawl", "speak" und "glow" erinnert das Quartett an die ersten drei LP-Seiten von "Ummagumma", dem exzellenten Psychedelic-Avantgarde-Werk Pink Floyds. Da sind gar einige konkrete Parallelen auszumachen, wenn "Ummagumma" an sich auch deutlich konventioneller ist. Die Stimmung und das Flair sind verwandt wie einige technische Licks.

Die 5 Tracks sind jedoch allen populären Stilen gleich fern. Weder wird hier Jazz oder Rock gespielt, noch Elektronik. Zwar leben die Töne aus diesem Pool, sind in ihrer Menge aber etwas ganz Neues, eben freie improvisative Musik.

Am faszinierendsten in allen Stücken ist die 'Leere', aus der sich die Instrumente Töne ziehen. Es scheint, als rausche der Hintergrund. In der weiteren Entwicklung entpuppt sich das als Klang des Laptops, der dem Fehlen jegliches Tones in den Millisekunden zwischen den Tönen das Rauschen entgegensetzt und die Stille greifbar macht. Sich dem Werk zu nähern, braucht man keine großen Hürden zu nehmen. Laut und dramatisch wird das Quartett selten, zumeist wird ein sphärisch-stilles Flair entworfen, das eine ganz eigene Harmonik hat, die ansprechend und auf ihre Art unterhaltsam ist. Wie bei allen Werken von Accretions gilt: nur wer wagt gewinnt. Aber das gilt, wie jeder weiß, hier wie überall.

     - Volkmar Mantei, Ragazzi

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