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Comments by Douglas Quin

"This latest recording by Moniek Darge and Godfried-Willem Raes comes as they look back upon 25 years of collaboration as the Logos Duo. More than a retrospective, we see them affirming a long artistic relationship and forging new horizons--together and on divergent musical paths. In this, their work is a metaphorical journey: an inward exploration of the elegance of algorithmic composition and a voyage out into distant soundscapes.

As I reflect on more than a decade of friendship, I think of the many evenings spent in the kitchen at Logos with Moniek and Godfried, gathered around the table under a mounted and yellowing map of the world; color-coded push pins and a network of thread connects Logos with such distant places as Rwanda, Tasmania and Japan. Smoke from Godfried's pipe curls around the map and Moniek rolls another cigarette: slowly and with great precision. The tea cozy reclines against the pot. The Duo have realized a rich musical vision in many places and have hosted a remarkable array of international composers and musicians at the foundation in Ghent. Talk often turns to touring, encounters, testimonials of listening and of the joy in sharing in the world's musical cultures. Travel compels and effects each of them differently.

Moniek has her office facing the street; the view out is to Kongostraat below. Along here, bananas and fruits from the Congo were once off-loaded to warehouses from ships moored along wharfs at the end of the road. Today, this part of the city is home to a vibrant Turkish community. Exotic smells and accents waft from neighbouring doorways and swallows' spiral sounds are heard down the street. The sweep of her white desk parallels a wall of exhibition catalogs, books on art history, mythology and feminist issues. This is "Logos Export." Moniek arranges Logos Duo activity overseas. From performing computer music in Kigali to improvising in Alice Springs, the Logos Duo have brought their music to the world.

Godfried's office is designated as "Logos Import"; it is a cocoon of technical manuals and books on topics such as theoretical physics, music theory and instrument design. Nested in the middle of his very vertical room is a desk which overflows with disassembled computers, synthesizers, electronics projects and IC chips. A veneer of pipe ash and solder covers this labyrinth of logic circuits. His window looks inward to the neighbour's courtyard garden--a small piece of Flanders' field. Rising above the tiled roofs of rowhouses and a disused factory is the Tetrahedronhall: Godfried's architectural wonder. On behalf of the foundation, it is Godfried who primarily organizes those artists who perform at Logos. From Japanese Butoh to a Korean Komungo concert to an evening of listening to amplified plants, the curatorial sensibility is broadly inclusive; a world of sound and music comes to Logos.

Moniek's journey is imbued with the pilgrim's search for the spiritual realm of listening; to be touched by the resonance of sacred places is to be musically conscious. And, for her, to hear is also to see. With Man-Mo and ShSh, Moniek explores our mythic connection to the idea of place: these are aural voyages from temples--out and back--through different soundscapes. The transcendence of a space is intimated through a juxtaposition of ambient recordings and musical articulation--in fleeting, lyric moments. In Man-Mo, it was tendrils of incense whose helical motion suggested the intuitive and fluid structure for her piece. Visually reminiscent of this sinuous dissipation, the composition forms a series of impressions of diverse sounds: shifting loci of insects, water, a dawn chorus, and improvisational gestures on diverse instruments. The subtle nuances and delicate interplay of timbres and rhythms in Man-Mo and ShSh are an insight into the many years of collaboration between Moniek and Godfried in improvisatory music. Here and in ShSh, we are drawn into a richly layered and quietly exotic place where, like creating images from cloud formations, we seek our own associations--moulded by sound. Gongs and bells bring us back, like a gentle mantra, to the resonant space of the temple.

In marked contrast, AlviCeba represents a departure for Moniek, but within the familiar world of stringed instruments. Cascading phrases and polyrhythmic passages recall some of her improvisational techniques. But the work is, at the same time, a new mode of expression for the composer and violist; a computer-aided composition program and, for this version, synthesized strings are used in the place of a chamber orchestra. AlviCeba is at once a view into her own new direction and a bridge to Godfried's musical abstractions.Godfried is a homebody for whom travel provides a dynamic that nurtures and stimulates the process of return: to a reappraisal of the familiar. In The Fugue Books, the point of departure is Flemish polyphony. Godfried's approach to the gentle art of the fugue is a remarkable odyssey into the design of a unique fugue composing computer program. The expert system is a tetralogy covering the varied aspects of object-analysis, composing, performing and notation. Two of the Books are featured here--Fugue 8: "Fuga Otto Nove" and Fuga Memento, both eloquently performed by Marc Maes and Karin De Fleyt on piano, synthesizer and flute. In Spring '94, the computer is used to describe compositional parameters: both global and sound/event specific. The tension of the two worlds of organization, heard in a sampled orchestral arrangement, is evocative of the generative struggle of spring. Godfried's timbres revisit a perennial theme of composers, from Vivaldi to Stravinsky, with a new breath: memories of distant sounds are renewed and interpreted in this rendition. Rhythmic subtleties are mapped out and explored in another computer-generated work, Shifts. Here the percussive sounds and rich synthetic sonorities recall acoustic gongs and bells used by Moniek in her compositions, Man-Mo and ShSh.

The organ of neighbouring Saint Jacob's church sounds out a eulogy in Jonas--a knell for a friend's lost child. This is the only composition of Godfried's not involving computers. Andrew De Masi plays a haunting haiku: a sparse dirge filling Gothic vaults.

This CD from Godfried-Willem Raes and Moniek Darge is both a literal and figurative journey; in sound and music we have the Yin-Yang energy that is the Logos Duo. Enjoy listening!"

 Douglas QUIN

Filedate: 980912

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