Jaleh Negari “Arch Waves” – A propagation of disturbances through space and time

Kritik October 27 2016 14567346_1160077640749977_8894475490697312400_o

Jaleh Negari “Arch Waves” review by Javier Orozco

The musical cartography of Jaleh Negari can be traced to her current role as drummer of the bands Selvhenter and Pinkunoizu, yet a distinct territory is trailed by the sounds advanced in her first solo album “Arch Waves” and published by Eget Værelse (a label and Copenhagen-based music collective she cofounded). “Arch Waves” shares some attributes with her two other projects: tags as experimental, drone, and avant-garde might fit well for any of her ventures, nonetheless this album has its own distinct identity and sonic approach. This distance is also salient in the choice of instruments, “Arch Waves” is not a drum record; synths, gongs, singing bowls, and bells play a prominent role, piano and saxophones are also featured.

Exemplary of the sound are the pieces “Bølger og Prikker” (Waves and Dots) and “Gentagelsen Forskel” (The Repetition Difference), which can be considered as a sort of morphological manifestation of this work, an initial gateway.

“Bølger og Prikker” cyclically moves over slow repetitions and patterns. The resonance of metal objects is used as an expansion point, a ripple ends where a new core of sound begins. The overlap of epicenters concur, and their metallic resonance is allowed to widen, yet kept in orbit by a recurrent set of wooden knocks. These floating patterns are the product of bells, gongs, singing bowls and other metallic percussions. The sounds are as revealing as the silences that mediate them. An undulation leads to the next one.

The mix, in the hands of Andreas Pallisgaard, is capable of rendering the flows of each sound, each metallic hit is crisp yet without mutilating the warmth of these instruments. The aural cycle extends yet it returns to its starting point, if one zooms out it is possible to detect a recurrent and larger pattern. “Gentagelsen Forskel” moves through a similar motif, yet the velocity has augmented, and the pattern moves within faster concentrical circuits. Bowls and bells chime and chirp, subsequently leading to the difference, the moment where the wave breaks, oozes and foams.

These two pieces, however representative, do not define the album. In personal communication Negari stated that a bulk of this material sprouted from her first solo concert at Christianshavns Beboerhus in the winter of 2015, which spiraled around ideas inspired by percussion pieces composed by Xenaxis and Per Nørgård. These notions informed her approach, yet a thread was much less pre-conceptualized than conjured during the recording process. The album plays both as an exploration of meditative cycles and as a derivé of the texture of sounds and the instruments that produce them: gongs, bells and singing bowls are prominently featured and eloquently paired with the tonal ranges of keyboards and synths. Surprisingly, and in spite of Negari’s prowess and familiarity with the drum kit, “Inward/Outward” is the only track rooted in this instrument, thus revealing that the sonic dimension of this album, as well as its ethos, manifests as an essay about propagations and disturbances.

Info: Arch Waves is out via Eget Værelse and can be heard via Sounds. Jaleh Negari celebrates the vinyl release of her album with a concert at the venue Mayhem in Copenhagen the 30th of October 2016 (RSVP). Son Ash, Sonja LaBianca, Andreas Pallisgaard, and Felia Gram-Hansen’s “Circular Sound” are also set to perform.