Layering Time cs435









A similar grounding of sound in silence characterizes Layering Time [cs435], an austerely beautiful piece for piano, field recording and viola by Eva-Maria Houben in collaboration with Rodrigues. Houben, who plays piano and provides a field recording of ravens, is a composer associated with the Wandelweiser group; the music, extending over a single long track, accordingly proceeds as a series of sparse piano tones and extended sounds from the viola distributed over vast, open spaces of ambient sound and bird calls. These open spaces are the audio image of time as a semi-transparent foundation of human activity; Houben’s and Rodrigues’s individual parts, which appear to have been recorded separately in early 2017, are layered onto this foundation in a way that preserves time as one of the work’s contributing, if nearly mute, voices. Daniel Barbiero (Percorsi Musicali)


On 'Layering Time', an excerpt of Houben's work 'gestures' (for piano) is played by the composer; she also contributes recordings of ravens. Rodrigues adds his viola. In fact, one first hears what sounds like a family in a park, traffic and sirens in the distance, interrupted by high, clear, widely separated piano chords, soon growing thicker and deeper, with intervening, simple lines, weaving among pigeons and, I take it, ravens. Extremely beautiful, very "Houben". Some five minutes in, a sandy kind of wash appears briefly, presumably Rodrigues drawing something across his viola. It re-emerges with slightly greater force and variety, gaining equal footing with the piano and the ravens (who have now taken over the external soundscape). This is pretty much the tack taken for the piece's 48-minute duration. Other sounds, like church bells, enter in, Rodrigues occasionally strokes some richer string tones, but essentially we're in this wonderful stasis, a floating environment of consistent careful and imaginative placement of notes and sounds, just this side of regularity, circulating amidst the unanticipated noises from outside, all elements equal. Just a gorgeous work. Brian Olewnick (Just Outside)