int019 | Arturas Bumšteinas | Organ Safari Lituanica

Arturas Bumšteinas
Organ Safari Lituanica

31:51 / 15:28 / 25:46

CD, digisleeve, insert / edition of 200
28 April 2016

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Мы рады представить на Intonema литовского композитора Артураса Бумштейнаса! Это наш второй опыт сотрудничества, ведь он принимал участие в создании нашего первого релиза Wozzeck "Act III: Comics". Новый сольный диск Артураса продолжает его серию работ с органом. Летом 2015-го года вместе с Гайле Грицюте он посетил двадцать литовских городов, в каждом из которых она импровизировала на церковном органе. Из этих материалов Артурас сочинил три композиции, в которых исследовал оттенки звучания и особенности различных органов и их саунд в пространстве. 

We are happy to introduce you Arturas Bumšteinas, a composer from Lithuania! This is our second collaboration with him since he participated in the making of our first release Wozzeck "Act III: Comics". A new Arturas’ solo release continues his series of organ works. During Summer 2015 he has visited 20 Lithuanian cities with Gailė Griciūtė who improvised on a church organ. Arturas has written 3 compositions based on the recorded material where he researched sound details and specificities of different organs along with their sound in the space.

Arturas Bumšteinas: composition
Gailė Griciūtė: improvisation

Рецензии / Reviews:
"As best I understand things, Bumšteinas, in the company of organist Gailė Griciūtė, visited some 20 sites in Lithuania as part of his "Organ Archipelago" project, where she recorded improvisations on the local church organs. Bumšteinas then developed the three compositions we encounter here from those improvisations. So the album is very much a joint venture and an enormously successful one. Others, from Eva-Maria Houben to Jean-Luc Guionnet and many between have explored extended technique and sonorities with pipe organs in recent years and this release fits in quite comfortably. The general sound-world of the organ is always present, as well as the ancillary sounds of pedals and stops. But also the kind of breathiness not heard in "standard" organ fare, unusual pitch bending and more. Still, the overall sense is one of tonality, if stretched and pulled.

Bumšteinas achieves a kind of prismatic effect with the overlays; the varying timbres of the organs, the audible differences in spatial atmospherics and the range of attacks by Griciūtė reflecting off of and through one another with a really fine balance of transparency and substance. Swirling, sometimes calliope-like, nightmare-y; hard to describe but very engrossing music and highly recommended.  "

(Brian Olewnick, Just Outside)

"Some lovely organ music played on a church organ on the record Organ Safari Lituanica (INTONEMA int019). The release is credited to Arturas Bumšteinas, the excellent Lithuanian composer and conceptualist, although the actual organ improvisations are played by Gailė Griciūtė. From what I can make out, the concept is down to Arturas Bumšteinas…it’s part of a much bigger project which he calls Organ Archipelago. Five radio programmes were commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation; these broadcasts make use of an archive of organ recordings which Bumšteinas has previously gathered from Lithuanian towns and villages, and then extended the music into improvisation, and radio drama. The improvisation part is supplied by five musicians from across the globe – Africa, Japan, and Russia are all represented. There’s also some fragmented story-telling going on, using voice actors, and some of it seems to be based on a book by Arthur Russell Wallace. So many layers. This is what we’ve come to expect of Arturas Bumšteinas…he’s a right one for mixing up many cultural sources of information into a dense wodge of conceptual spaghetti, and expecting the audience to keep up with him as they untangle the strands. Or perhaps he’d rather liken it to baking a layer cake, and we have to roll up and cut ourselves a slice, evincing surprise as each new stratum of jam and cream is exposed to our hungry eyes.

The above is not fully represented on Organ Safari Lituanica however, and I just added all that in to give you some context. For this record, Arturas Bumšteinas continues to claim “composition” as a credit, but as noted all the music is actually played by Gailė Griciūtė. I suppose it’s really a Gailė Griciūtė album, but maybe we’re entering into a John Cage / David Tudor area of similar tension, and I don’t wish to cause trouble. Gailė Griciūtė is a talented composer, visual artist and conceptualist in her own right. I’m not here to review her music to day, but if you visit her website the first thing you see is an old upright piano against a decaying plaster wall. Right on, girl! I think that image speaks volumes about her musical plan. To the left of that image you see a picture of the woman herself, and the poise and dignity with which she comports herself throughout life is evident. Some of her exhibits, as described on other pages, are highly intriguing multi-media installation pieces, involving sculpture, projections, live performances and pre-records…and seem to be based on interesting scientific ideas and observations. For instance: “Linger On Your Pale Blue Eyes explores the quest for freedom of a scientist through observing the rhizomatic unfolding of her inner monologue.” Not often we get a Lou Reed lyric and rhizomatic unfoldings together in the same sentence.

Judging by her performances here, evidently she’s also a great keyboard player and improviser, and I could happily listen to this strange curlicued music all day, if required. Really digging the weird mixed chords and unexpected explorations of melody lines. Invention just seems to pour out of her. Excellent stuff.

I’m still unsure where the Organ Archipelago concept comes in to all this. Neither can I interpret the odd cover image, which shows a detail of a hand whose fingers are picking at a piece of decayed wood. Perhaps this summarises (or even documents) what was found when they did the tour of the Lithuanian churches. Maybe all the organs are decaying. That would make a good observation about the state of the world today. Our organs are atrophying, like our brains and our hearts. From August 2016." (Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector)

"La storia è questa: il compositore lituano Arturas Bumŝteinas è uno che ha decisamente a cuore il suono ascetico dell’organo, tant’è vero che questo “Organ Safari Lituanica”, incentrato unicamente sul suono del beneamato, è il figlio minore di altri concept affini, tra cui spicca per somiglianza “Stories from Organ Safari”, pubblicazione precedente costruita attorno al campionamento di alcuni organi siti in Olanda. Motivo in più, quindi, per considerare “Organ Safari Lituanica” come un prosieguo ideologico del nostro, che si è divertito a girare in lungo e largo il proprio paese, durante l’estate del 2015, registrando sul campo il suono di una pletora di organi, stanziati nelle chiese di diversi villaggi e città, e facendovi improvvisare sopra l’amico musicista Gailė Griciūtė. Dopodiché un lavoro di taglia e cuci ha fatto il resto, consegnando tre bislunghe composizioni, prive di nome e anche di particolari slanci emotivi. L’idea è carina ma la resa finale all’ascolto risulta piuttosto noiosa e statica, ognuna delle improvvisazioni appare priva di senso e di sviluppi originali che stuzzichino ingegnosamente l’intelletto e il piacere uditivo. Ciò che si recepisce è una matassa aggrovigliata di suoni spezzettati, amalgamati tra di loro secondo un gusto freddo, insensato e insapore. Sarà seppur vero che godere del piacere dell’improvvisata significa il più delle volte lasciarsi rapire dall’irrazionalità, ma qui il no-sense racchiude un’altra cosa, sprigiona un lavoro che sentire nella sua interezza è un’autentica prova di pazienza, dove il solo conforto dell’ascoltare sarà quello di poter sbadigliare liberamente."
(Sergio Eletto, Kathodik)

"С очень любопытного и многопланового проекта начинает наш сайт знакомство с релизами лейбла Intonema из Санкт-Петербурга, ориентированного на импровизационную и экспериментальную музыку (кто бы сомневался – ведь курирует работу лейбла известный петербургский саксофонист именно этого направления Илья Белоруков). Тут есть даже определенная символика: Organ Safari Lituanica – 19-й по счету релиз Intonema, но автор этого проекта, литовский композитор Артурас Бумштейнас, участвовал в свое время (в 2011 году) и в записи самого первого диска этого лейбла.

Это очень креативный и плодовитый музыкант, работающий как с акустической, так и с электронной музыкой. На счету Бумштейнаса (р.1982) проекты в составе групп Works and Days, Zarasai, Wolumen, Quartet Twentytwentyone, участие во множестве музыкальных фестивалей авангардной музыки по всей Европе, арт-выставок, эксперименты с музыкой Вагнера, Чурлениса, Брукнера и весьма впечатляющая дискография. Organ Safari Lituanica для Артураса – часть его более широкого проекта, связанного с органной музыкой, под названием Organ Archipelago, начатого в 2015 году. В том же году Бумштейнас вместе с органисткой Гайле Грицюте совершил рейд ( он же «литовское сафари») по двадцати большим и малым литовским городам, от Каунаса и курорта Друскининкай до Запышкиса, Гижая и Крекенавы, «охотясь» за звучанием местных органов. В каждом из этих городов Грицюте импровизировала на органах (насколько я понимаю, костельных: Литва, как и ее соседка Польша, - страны глубоко католические). Естественно, акустические особенности зала в каждом случае были свои, как и звучание инструмента. Вот эти импровизации Гайле стали основой для творческих исканий Артураса, создавшего из них три большие (от пятнадцати минут до получаса) композиции, составившие альбом Organ Safari Lituanica.

Мне показалась плодотворной сама идея проекта, сближающая органные импровизации Грицюте, музыку наших дней, с временами Иоганна Себастьяна, когда в первую очередь именно органная музыка была импровизационной. Но не менее импровизационной была (на стадии сочинения) и работа Бумштейнаса, по-своему компоновавшего записи, создавая коллажи с принципиально новой архитектоникой звуковых форм, вливая в них новое качество, «сшивая» разные по звучанию и параметрам инструмента и настроению исполнительницы отрывки. В результате, наряду с изначально свойственной органной музыке духовной составляющей, в композициях альбома можно услышать и нечто фольклорное, и вполне современные интонации музыки XXI века – от штокгаузеновской «интуитивности» до свободной импровизации, характерной для джазового и академического авангарда. Словом, богатая идея – убедительное воплощение. Не пропустите этот необычный альбом!"

(Леонид Аускерн, Jazz-квадрат)

"Bumstinazl! Was uns Arturas Bumšteinas hier auf seinem zweiten Intonema-Release Organ Safari Lituanica vor den Latz knallt, haben wir bisher in solcher Form noch nicht vernommen. Zusammen mit seiner Landsfrau, der Pianistin und Klangkünstlerin Gaile Griciūte, unternahm der junge litauische Komponist im Sommer 2015 eine Reise durch seine Heimat und suchte zwanzig verschiedene Orgeln in zwanzig verschiedenen Städten auf. Vor Ort durfte Frau Griciūte in Konsequenz eifrig auf besagten Orgeln improvisieren, wobei Bumšteinas das Material dokumentierte, mitschnitt, sammelte und analysierte. Konsequenz dieser Orgeldatensafari bilden die drei vorliegenden namenlosen Kompositionen, die ohne digitale Hilfsmittel ein noch nie dagewesenes Klangspektrum manifestieren. Besonderes Augen- und Ohrenmerk legte der Komponist dabei auf mikroskopisch detaillierte Texturen und die äußerst diversen und ortsspezifischen  Raumklänge der verschiedenen erforschten Instrumente. Was dabei aus den Organs rauskommt, geht dem Hörer durch alle Organe. Ein geschmeidiger Parforce-Ritt zwischen kaltem, dystopischem Ambient und wohlwollenderen, paradiesischen Futurismen, stets im Begriff zu kippen, aber nie außer Kontrolle. Unvorstellbar minutiös ausgewertet und gesetzt, verschmelzen die zahlreichen Klangdokumentationen dieser (mono)lithauischen Orgelsafari zu einem verwobenen, verschachtelten Klangkonstrukt, unnachvollziehbar und doch selbstverständlich, perfekt imperfekt. Schwer in Worte zu fassen, noch mehr als sonst. Definitv eine der Top-Veröffentlichungen 2016 – ganz zur Freude des kleinen exzentrischen Labels Intonema (St. Petersburg), dessen hoffentlich nicht allzu steinigen Weg in die Zukunft wir mit großer Spannung verfolgen. Freistil at its best."
(dr. wu, freistil) 

"Even when Organ Safari Lituanica splays into a mess of tooting dissonance and billowing air, there remains a sense of conscious organisation. The album never reaches a state of total chaos; organs are forced to leave or hush down if the space becomes too unruly, and each organ seems to maintain a certain awareness of the others as it navigates the frame. The record was recorded during summer 2015, when Bumšteinas visited church organs in 20 Lithuanian villages and had improviser Gailė Griciūtė play on each. Bumšteinas then arranged the material into three long-form compositions, transforming the zigzags of reflex into structural strands that interconnect and counter-balance eachother: descending scales crash upon beds of low major chord drone, while notes shoot upward from smears of discordance like budding flora, wriggling free of Bumšteinas’ microtonal mud.

This sense of deliberation and interrelation is what makes the record compelling, but it’s also what makes it listenable. Organ Safari Lituanica is not just a jumble of overlain recordings, but an attempt to bring isolated circumstances into conversation with eachother – finding chance alignments between oblivious flashes of happening, or using the conclusive cadences of one recording to complete the sprawling query of another. But it’s conversational on an acoustic level as well. Each session involves a different organ with an entirely different timbre and set of quirks/clunks, played into a room of a different size and reverberant characteristics. Some sound like they’ve been salvaged from old fairground carousels, bleating jovially into the open air. Some appear to have been recorded from the back of the room, wading through the mist of their own acoustic reflections. It’s a negotiation of space and texture, curdling thick church echoes to make them even thicker, planting the shriller organs atop those with an earthlier, anchoring aesthetic, arranging individual spaces into a plain that ripples and whirrs into three dimensions.

While Bumšteinas indulges in moments of cacophony and terrifying incoherence – the hideous wail of several organs played with the palms of hands, crushing notes together into hurricanes of overtone and forced air – they feel like deliberate acts of deception. I’m supposed to feel as though he’s dropped the reins, so that the stretches of strange and beautiful alignment seem all the more miraculous. At one point during the final piece, the organs slump into a passage of soft, funeral-esque contemplation, during which three or four of the instruments console eachother through low arcs of melody and gentle hums of minor key. Later on, a gigantic wall of noise disperses to leave little tumbleweeds of religious reverie; intermittent snatches of half-hymns, somberly searching for one another in the emptiness. Unknowingly, Griciūtė is collaborating with alternate states of self, expressing sentiments whose true meaning only becomes clear when harmonically clarified by a Griciūtė of another place and time."

(Jack Chuter, ATTN Magazine)

"Three wonderfully rambling organ recordings that wander between full-blown religious ecstasy and porridge-fingered fumbles.

Previously it was Ligeti’s Volumina that set my personal benchmark for Organ-oddity.  I’m no organ aficionado, see, so I have to rely on the helpful sleeve notes to read that these haunting recordings are captured, field recording style, in a variety of Lithuanian locations.

But this doesn’t seem to be an act of UNESCO-sanctioned preservation.  It sounds more like, with the greatest respect, a group of goofs (like me… like you) getting their grotty mittens on the thick ivories and making up gaseous routines just for the jaxx of it.

It’s a truly glorious, immersive event.  At times I feel Arturas’ hand gently twisting in a shadow of reverb but mostly it’s the overlaying of short lyrical pieces played on variety of organs to create a much longer whole.

So, from steam powered fairground calliope to massive church-lungs; from street corner grinder to experimental pipe deconstruction my cloth ears are picking up ‘in the moment’ experiments and cul-de-sacs.  You’ll get a straight run at one idea (forearms on upper keyboard) single note squeals on the lower or a finger-jarring arpeggio; then deep boom and lyrical honk – the sustained drones with one hand and spidery exploration with the other.  At points the tones are working against each other howling at the edge of the wind, coupled with tiny metallic bells.

Lovely though this breathy miasma is you’d be right in asking,

Wot… just blessed organ jaxx for over an hour?  Count me out fella!

But what you’d be missing is the ‘lostness’ the feeling of being tossed into a sea of huff, powerless in the current.  Not to get too hot in these shimmering pages but it’s a submissive act of listening that I’m riffing on right now.

And… as an extra bonus fondle there’s an exquisite hiss and click to these recordings.  Frenzied organ-ing comes with the occasionally ‘clunk’ of a dropped prayer book or rubber plimsoll squeak; the cluttering mechanics of pulleys and foot pedals that make a brittle accompaniment.

There’s a story about Cecil Taylor (or Sunny Murray or Ornette Coleman) where some guy asks him to sit in on the bass during a smoky after-hours jam.  The dude says,

I don’t play bass, man

which is exactly the right approach when dealing with a jazz-colossus.  Yeah…compared to you I don’t ‘play’ anything.  But this was not just a cautious piece of self-depreciation.  The guy couldn’t play a note and bent Cecil/Sunny/Ornette’s form and chops up like a crushed stubbie.  Like Cecil/Sunny/Ornette said, this cat tested him in ways none of the ways a schooled player would [Editor’s note: yeah, this story sounds familiar – anyone got a citation?].

Listening to this ghostly honk is testing my improv-worn ears in the same way!"

(Joe Murray, Radio Free Midwich)

""Nou, gewoon: orgels", zou de jonge Litouwse componist Arturas Bumšteinas kunnen antwoorden op de vraag wat hij verzamelt. Let wel: niet de apparaten zelf, maar de klank ervan, in de ruimte waar ze staan. En eigenlijk dat nog niet eens per se. De reis langs - en met - de klanken van orgels is het doel van zijn 'safari'. Op het archief aan opnamen past hij vervolgens compositorische ingrepen toe, niet zelden met elektronische bewerkingen.
Bumšteinas begon in 2008 met het project en eerder verscheen al Stories from the Organ Safari, speciaal geschreven voor het Amsterdamse Orgelpark - met meerdere toporgels een gedroomde locatie voor de expedities. Op Organ Safari Lituanica jaagt Bumšteinas door zijn moederland. Bijna twintig orgels samplede hij in de zomer van 2015. En de drie lange werken maken samen deel uit van de Organ Archipelago, een project in opdracht van de Australische nationale radio. Want een safari kan ook een duikreis zijn, natuurlijk.
Zichzelf onderdompelen en al snorkelend de weelde tegemoet treden die net onder de oppervlakte - en wellicht nog iets dieper zelfs - schuilt, dat is wat Bumšteinas op deze Litouwse safari doet. De orgelsamples worden soms in dissonante contrasten geplaatst, dan weer geëxposeerd als ogenschijnlijk harmonisch samenspel; als een collectie in een tentoonstelling vol muzikale poëzie. Alles bijeenbrengen in een verzameling is geen doel op zich meer, want door de ademruimte tussen de vele samples winnen de identiteiten van de orgels juist aan scherpte en diepte. En daarmee krijgt de reis vorm en inhoud.
Bumšteinas staat niet alleen langer stil bij de intrinsieke klank dan de gemiddelde toeschouwer in een museum naar een werk kijkt, met de bijna persoonlijke touch van elk orgel als gesprekspartner, componeert hij bovendien de wandeling tussen de getoonde, allesbehalve losstaande elementen. Speels bovendien, vol verwondering en met oprechte, diepgevoelde interesse."

(Sven Schlijper, KindaMuzik)

"Organ Safari Lituanica (int019) ist, wie schon "Stories from Organ Safari" (2010), Teil von ARTURAS BUMSTEINAS' Projekt "Organ Archipelago". Es führte ihn und die Organistin Gailė Griciūtė (ansonsten Pianistin, mit Erfahrungen im Duo Weld Mignon, dem zeitgenössischen Ensemble Varjo und Vladimir Tarasovs Improvisationsorchester Gobelenai 2) durch zwanzig litauische Städtchen und Dörfer von Kirchenorgel zu Kirchenorgel. Ich kann nicht sagen, wie nun die Kompositionen von Bumšteinas mit dem Improvisieren von Griciūtė zusammengehen, wieviel freie Hand sie dabei hatte, unbarock und nicht einmal besonders sakral zu flöten und zu dröhnen. In einem Orgelsternbild aus Messiaen, Fraunberger, Asheim und den von Touch angeregten Dröhn-Experimenten auf "Spire" läge Bumšteinas' 'Orchipelago' keineswegs an einem monotonen oder farbarmen Ende. Griciūtė nutzt die Register in schillernder Poesie, mit ungewöhnlichen Effekten bei meist gedämpftem Volumen. Man hört sogar sporadisch die Mechanik oder sonst was klappern. Aber dann harmoniert das Klangweben doch auch ganz lyrisch und sozusagen messiaenesk mit den farbigen Kirchenfenstern oder scheint wie in Gedanken an Verwandte bei der Kirmes. So als ob diese Klänge doch über den Bibelspruch "Selig sind die Sanftmütigen" meditieren wollten. Sprudelnd ja, vor allem im dritten Teil und da auch aufbrausend, sonst eher fiepend und pastoral flötend oder kapriziös pfeifend und funkelnd in webenden und tänzelnden kleinen Bewegungen. Bumšteinas bleibt sich treu als Irrwisch zwischen Poppinsongs und Beckettiana, Duchamp und Dystopia, Gamelan und Ikea-Orgel, Llull und Lullaby, oder einfach nur als "dieser interessante Typ aus Vilnius"."
(Rigo Dittmann, Bad Alchemy)

"This is not the first time that Lithuanian composer Arturas Bumsteinas occupies himself with the church organ; he also composed a work in the Netherlands for that instruments, sampling loads of them, and eventually released a CD of that, 'Stories From Organ Safari' (see Vital Weekly 745) and seeing the word 'safari' here also, one could
easily assume this is along similar lines, and surely it is. Bumsteinas had Gaile Griciute play a whole bunch of
church organs in Lithuania, in less than twenty different places. I am not sure if there is a particular significance
between these twenty church organs; are these all of the organs in churches in that country? Or maybe they are
all in Orthodox Catholic churches? Perhaps something else? Whatever it is, this is also a soup of samples – I am
referring to the previous review. However here all the samples are organ only, and on the previous also included
flugelhorn, cello and such like, plus lots of electronics. That made that one quite interesting, but I must admit I am
less convinced by this new release. There seems to be quite a random approach to the sounds, like they are
placed on a bunch of tracks in a multi-track program and it just plays and plays, but without keeping in mind the
compositional approach or how the listener is supposed to swallow all of the seventy-four minutes of all of this.
Maybe very soft and play it as an album of ambient music? Some of this seems to demanding to be just that, I think.
I must admit I was quite lost after a while and gave up."

(Frans De Waard, Vital Weekly)