Eine Olive des Nichts
Burkhard Reinartz conception, reciter
Anja Lais reciter
Bruno Winzen reciter
Recorded August 2013, Rheinklang Tonstudio, Köln
Recording engineer/sound design: Alexander Hardt
Album produced by Burkhard Reinartz
Release date: September 19, 2015
For Eine Olive des Nichts (An Olive of Nothingness), Cologne-based radio director Burkhard Reinartz has curated a personal collage of poetry by Adam Zagajewski, Tomas Tranströmer, and Philippe Jaccottet, as read by Anja Lais, Bruno Winzen, and Reinartz himself. More than a spoken word project, however, it coheres by virtue of music drawn from ECM’s vast back catalog by Eivind Aarset, Susanne Abbuehl, Jon Balke, Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin, the Stefano Battaglia Trio, the Wolfert Brederode Quartet, Ketil Bjørnstad, David Darling, Andrey Dergatchev, Mathias Eick, Sidsel Endresen, Morton Feldman, Food, Michael Galasso, Paul Giger, Jon Hassell, Arve Henriksen, the Benedict Jahnel Trio, Meredith Monk, Arvo Pärt, Michele Rabbia, Trygve Seim, Steve Tibbetts, Tomasz Stanko, the Bobo Stenson Trio, the Tarkovsky Quartet, Steven Kovacs Tickmayer, and the Christian Wallumrød Ensemble, amounting to a play without a stage, if not a film without images.
Unlike Re: ECM by Ricardo Villalobos and Max Loderbauer, in which ECM snippets were stretched into barely recognizable washes of ambience, or, at the other end of the spectrum, Christian Reiner’s bare readings of Friedrich Hölderlin on Turmgedichte, here a haunting medium between the two is struck. Interwoven with the poets’ reflections on their art and pockmarked with plenty of nostalgic moments for label listeners, this montage of creations and creators speaks with a timeless quality, as if one could enter and exit it at any moment and it would continue flowing, with or without us.
Even without a shred of German recall, ECM completists and adventurous listeners alike will find purchase in this project’s deft blend of speech and sound. One can also appreciate the intimacy with which the poetry is read—so intimate, in fact, that one feels like they shouldn’t be there, as if the words were intensely private, fogging the mirrors between conscious and unconscious awareness.
The mixing of samples is seamless, passionate dip into the label’s oeuvre. Whether in the nocturnal tinges of Hassell’s “Blue Period” and Darling’s “Darkwood IV” or the sun-drenched excursions of Tibbetts’s 12-string, in the downward rhythmic spirals of “Modul 42” by Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin or the poignant elegy of Stanko’s “Dirge For Europe,” the inner lives of familiar tunes reveal fresh perspectives of association. Much like the poetry they surround, meanings in this music are suggested by their connection to lived experiences, and through those connections invite us to graft our own.