Aparis: s/t (ECM 1404)


Markus Stockhausen trumpets, fluegelhorn
Simon Stockhausen synthesizers, saxophone
Jo Thönes acoustic and electronic drums
Recorded August 1989 at Rainbow Studio, Oslo
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Produced by Manfred Eicher

The time has come that you shall remember who you are.
Forever have you been and shall eternally be.
You have come to feel the joy of creation,
to see its beauty and infinitely love all there is.
For all is thyself.
Each moment you create yourself and a thousand worlds around.
Your being is bliss, perfection, and light.
Rejoice, my friend, rejoice!

Aparis was an ephemeral band comprised of trumpeter Markus Stockhausen, his brother Simon (a sound artist and composer), and percussionist Jo Thönes. Although Markus does, of course, bring his characteristic sweep to nearly every stretch he plays, it is Simon whose contributions shine brightest in this atmospheric set of six. In them one may locate a range of influences, spanning the ECM spectrum from Pat Metheny (“Rejoice”) and Terje Rypdal (“Aparis”) to Oregon (“Carnaval”) and a smattering of Jon Hassell here and there for good measure. That being said, the results are fresh and original and bob with a decidedly aquatic sense of temporal space.

The nearly 17-minute title track is by far the most effective. It begins in a cavern of icicles amid looming shadows as Markus’s lone voice oozes from the stone like an afterlife. With the addition of bass and drum lines, steady yet ever ambient, that trumpet jumps through even airier hoops in flanged clothing. A sequencer resolves from the mists, soprano sax in tow. As if to confirm Rypdal’s possible involvement, a synth electric guitar rises toward the end. Next is “Poseidon,” which after an opening state of frenetic group activity launches into a synth-driven ride, a preamble to the expansive territories painted by Markus in the colors of night. “Rejoice” links back to the album’s opening strains, discovering along its winding roads that the journey is already the destination. Distorted recitations over a bed of sonic nails curl themselves into a protective ball and roll into the sun with all the surety of a dreamer awakened, leaving “Peach” to cry with lyrical finality, careening across the horizon with a focused song and impressions of a clear day.

Aparis is not without its missteps (the synth-heaviness of “High Ride,” for example, detracts from its punch), but overall its impressions seeps through you smoothly and at the speed of life. Like the flames on the album’s cover, they bleed from a scar in the air, hanging souls like ethereal laundry. Together, they are a marriage of creationism and evolution in sound.

<< Shankar: M.R.C.S. (ECM 1403)
>> ECM New Series Anthology (ECM 1405 NS)

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