peep holes |cs181








































Israeli bass multi-instrumentalist Yoni Silver is one of the most gifted and original voices in Israel's tiny free improv and indie scene. He is a versatile musician, and has collaborated with such free spirits as veteran clarinet improviser Harold Rubin and young vocalist/keyboardist Maya Dunietz, with whom he released A Mono Musical Suite For Three Manic Musicians (Self Produced, 2008). Silver was also a member of saxophonist Albert Beger's quintet on Listening (Earsay, 2004), as well as the alternative rock group HaBiluim, and arranged singer/songwriter Rona Kenan's music for Songs for Joel (Self Produced, 2009). In between all this, Silver has led his own quartet, flirting with real-time sampling and live electronics.
On his first solo album, Silver chose to play only on the bass clarinet, on three long pieces recorded at Levontin 7 in Tel Aviv, and produced by musician/conductor Ilan Volkov. This intimate recording presents Silver's extended technique on his instrument, including circular breathing, but much more important is his imagination and an ability to create an arresting and meditative sonic voyage.

On the opening title track, breathing, playing and the instrument itself become one through slow, patient development and total openness to the moment's possibilities. On "Please Hold," the palette of sounds and colors is more varied, and Silver uses his clarinet keys as a soft percussive layer to the drone that his breathing produces. "Peat Hog" sounds like a logical conclusion of the first two pieces; the breathing drone blossoming into deep, earthy sounds that integrate organically with the percussive sonic utterances of Silver's bass clarinet keys. Eyal Hareuveni (AllAboutJazz)

Yoni Silver started his music studies with violin, then piano, and later moved on to alto sax, bass clarinet, and composition studies with prof. Yitzhak Sadaï. As an improv/noise musician he straddles the line between "total" freedom and one contained within loosely pre-determined structures. Also performs solo works incorporating acoustic instruments in combination with DIY controllers for computer manipulation, spread out on stage in the form of buttons, levers, boxes etc. (and a four-teated camel).
Has also composed and arranged music for theatre, film, art installations etc.
"Peep Holes" is his first solo release.
The album has a great approach to one particular subject in music which is silence. He uses wide array of subtle techniques to evoke as much as possible with the thoroughly specified output. It appeals to me very much of it as you need to master both composition and improvisation to get through it as well as the technique.
Perfect listen for a bright sunny Sunday Morning. Thank You Ernesto! Hubert Napiórski (Felthat Reviews)

In this overview of the most recent issues from the Portuguese label Creative Sources, I recently spoke about the clarinet player Markus Eichenberger and its totally personal approach to this instrument resulting into a sort of dadaist set of sketches. The one by the Israelian multi-instrumentalist and bass clarinet player Yoni Silver is remarkably different and definitively more visceral and cerebral as well as so surrealistic that it could be perfect for an imaginary remake of the soundtrack for visionary movies such as The Holy Mountain by Jodorowski or even Simon of The Desert by Bunuel, a sort of monody whereas the recording technique seems to be intended to highlight the most experimental possible expressions which clarinet could offer. The frenzy tapping on holes, the circular breathing and the weirdy insufflation sound are just parts of rhythmical and tone-colour research more than of a melodic one. Breath, air, saliva and skin sound like having become essential elements of the instrument, materializing almost an interpenetration with any part of it. The fact each title of this recording (Peep Holes, Please Hold, Peat Hog) is made up of two words starting with P and H and so reminding the phoneme "ph", close to the sound you make when blowing, could be a sort of hint the musician want to drop to the listener of such a symbiotical process. Vito Camarretta (Chain DLK)

A short record (37 solos) of bass clarinet solos. Silver makes use of a extended techniques that bring to mind John Butcher and Xavier Charles. Lori Freedman too, although stylistically Peep Holes is clearly closer to the closed-miked minimalistic free improvisation of the first two than to the contemporary music-rooted approach of the latter. Not striking, but sure-footed. François Couture (Monsieur Délire)

Qui est Yoni Silver ? Un clarinettiste basse qui aime les jeux de mots alors que son jeu est tout en arabesques ciselées ? Sur Peep Holes, il s’autoportraitise en solitaire de Tel Aviv qui souffle dans un roseau… Le triptyque (on ne croit pas longtemps au mensonge cinétique de la pochette du disque) est fait de traits fins qui vont grossissant. Peu à peu une silhouette se dessine, Silver reprend sa respiration, engage son souffle circulaire dans un univers à la Folon. Tout s’enchaîne là naturellement, les couches sonores qui se succèdent et leurs dégradés sont d’épure et de pures merveilles. On y voit plus clair, à la fin de Peep Holes : sur l’art sonore et sur l’identité de Yoni Silver, clarinettiste qu’on ne demande qu’à réentendre. Héctor Cabrero (Le Son du Grisli)

While there may not have been a huge number of CDs released so far this year that have really excited me, I currently find myself somewhat immersed in quite a number of albums that really demand a great deal of time and focus, two things that, this week in particular, I haven’t had a lot of to put to use. The two new Michael Pisaro albums on Gravity Wave have received their first spins here over the past couple of days, the 2CD Feldman Trio recordings on Mode have been nightly late listening, and I still need to get to the bottom of Richard Kammerman’s 3CD release from earlier this year. Reviews of all of these will come in time, and these aren’t even the releases that have taken up most of my time over the last few days! One of the obvious issues with this blog is the need to write relatively quickly about music, something I have self-imposed upon myself having failed n the past to successfully write any other way. In the future this may change, but for now I find myself listening to music a lot for several, often many days before writing about it with relative pace. This will probably be the way I approach the above discs as well, but I think its important to get across that more often than not I listen to things for as long as I feel I need to before setting any words down here. This said, the only way I am going to get through the pile of Creative Sources discs sat here awaiting my attention is to write after less time with them, and the CD I randomly grabbed from the stack today got played here twice after I arrived home from work, and is receiving its third spin now as I type. Not an ideal scenario I know, but there is only so much time in my day…

So the disc I picked is named Peep Holes and is a solo bass clarinet recording by Yoni Silver, an Israeli musician whose name I have often seen mentioned but I don’t believe I have heard anything by before (someone please feel free to correct me if I reviewed a CD by him last week!!) The disc consists of three studio recordings of just Silver and his clarinet, with, as far as I can tell, no additions, post production or overdubs. Many of the techniques used by Silver are techniques I have heard before, and the music here is not that dissimilar to other solo improvisation albums. So writing about an album like this, as thoroughly enjoyable as I found it, is a tough gig. The CD ticks a lot of familiar boxes, but is that a reason for dismissing it? I think not. It may be a reason for CD buyers to spend their limited funds elsewhere, as we all seek to obtain the remarkable over the merely everyday, but that doesn’t make this a bad album, just not one that stands out from the crowd.

Silver is clearly a very adept, skilled musician that knows his instrument well. The three pieces here though manage to step beyond mere shows of technique and feel thoroughly passionate and, in some way searching. Besides a few points where rasping tones are allowed to suddenly extend and burn harsh lines into the music, the playing is generally very hushed and restrained. There are few silences, and the playing is very expressive and bristling with feeling, there is plenty of aggression in there, but rarely does Silver translate this into anything loud or obviously cathartic. This is an album that actually doesn’t demand much work of the listener. If you are able to just put it on and spend a little time with it, the music speaks clearly for itself, twisting, turning, shifting from breathy hisses punctuated with the familiar percussive clicks of keys to deep growling textures, but talking to you in simple, expressive, and actually quite charming language. Melody doesn’t ever appear, and the hiss and flutter end of things tends to take precedent over the tonal, but this music, rarely for this kind of an album, doesn’t feel like it is about the instrument in any way, rather it feels like a musician expressing something, talking, communicating with the listener.

Is this enough in this day and age? Should I be recommending CDs that break no new ground, that sound like others do? Well as long as I make this clear of course I should. Peep Holes is a nice little document of a musician just going into a studio and saying what he has to say, using the tools he has, not worrying about trying to be different, just expressing himself. That, to me, is something to be applauded, and something I enjoyed sharing in for a couple of hours today. Richard Pinnell (The Watchful Ear)