100CD - Dirar Kalash - Of Quietude
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Dirar Kalash is an improvising musician currently based in his native Ramallah, in the state of Palestine. Opportunities to perform are virtually non-existent. Even access to a proper instrument is impossible at the current time. On a rare visit to the UK early in 2020, we are fortunate that Dirar found an opportunity to record with the master sound engineer Simon Reynell, on a fine instrument in the beautiful acoustic of St Paul’s Hall at the University Of Huddersfield. The plan had been to record some compositions. However, Dirar’s instinct, on encountering a first class instrument after so long an enforced break, was to improvise instead. These recordings are the result.
Dirar Kalash - piano
Dirar Kalash originates from Ramallah in the state of Palestine. From early on he grew up with Arabic music. Western music – above all jazz- came later in the picture. He learned to play oud, piano and saxophone. He moved to the Netherlands for continuing his studies at the Institute of Sonology in The Hague. Here he also recorded an experimental album with Josue Amador and Arvid Ganga (‘Fading Ground’). He developed into a musician and sound artist who works within “a variety of instrumental, compositional and improvisational contexts”, as he explains on his website. Most of his work so far appeared on Al-Bayān, a Berlin-based label that released duo works of Kalash with Jasper Stadhouders, David Birchall, Andrew Lafkas, John Tilbury, a.o. In 2018 he invited Cactus Truck in Palestine for a combined tour. His activity covers a wide range of musical projects. This new solo album is another example of this. From the extraverted and loud cacophony by Cactus Truck we now turn to reflective piano music. Early 2020 he visited the UK and recorded a piano session in St. Paul’s Hall at the University of Huddersfield. Two extended improvisations ended up here on CD: ‘Thresholds at Fingertips’(35:11) and ‘A Rift in Time’(26:29). As the title of this release suggests both lengthy excursions deal with quietude and silence. In his stretched-out minimalistic playing Kalash creates tranquil and reflective atmospheres. Not following new spirituality conventions. For that, there are too many frictions and tensions in his music. Morton Feldman seems a more valuable point of reference. Both improvisations are built from short movements and gestures, using contrast, timbres and silence. His style doesn’t refer to jazz nor to Arabic music as far as I can judge about this. With his reduced and modest approach, he succeeds in keeping you attentive and concentrated, wanting to know what happens next. He doesn’t build up towards climaxes or dramatic turning points. The drama is in the small patterns. Besides Kalash, the piano is the other star of this album. The excellent recording makes all the deep sonorities of the instrument almost tangible. - Dorf Mulder, VITAL WEEKLY http://www.vitalweekly.net/1259.html