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Liner Notes by Max Dax
When the pianist Arnold Kasar began two years ago with the time-consuming task of evaluating the completed recordings for his new solo album RESONANZ , he chose the route of the EuroCity train as his workplace. The railway network connects Berlin with Prague, Prague with Wroclaw and Wroclaw with Vienna. Arnold Kasar, who has been touring regularly through Europe since the early days of his career, prefers the railroad to the car or plane. And he prefers the EuroCity to all other trains: it allows one to forget about time. In the dining car, they still cook with real ingredients on real stovetops. If you strike up a conversation with the staff of the Czech railway restaurant, they might even invite you to take a look in the compact stainless steel kitchen and show you how they fit their bodies between the kitchen furnishings in order to compensate for jerky movements of the train while cooking.
“I’m a digital nomad,” says Arnold Kasar. “I like to sit in the dining car in the morning, when the train is heading south from Berlin, and my eyes can take in a landscape in the morning fog. It doesn’t even take five minutes, and I’m in old Europe, in a whole different mindset. With my mobile equipment I can work very well in the dining car, and also in hotels. I have my own sonic vocabulary, which no one else has, and it allows me to be independent. I listened to my album RESONANZ entirely during these endless train journeys, editing and honing it gradually.”
Arnold Kasar has done a lot of commuting over the last few years, recording with legendary figures such as Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Friedrich Liechtenstein. His own work took a bit of a backseat, but during breathers between different projects he would occasionally capture impressions of the day as sound recordings. The laptop became a sketchbook.
Over the years, several hours of extremely personal piano improvisations have accumulated in this way, which Arnold Kasar then processed into the present album through the act of editing. To deepen and layer these recordings, Arnold Kasar repeatedly travelled to his usual retreat, the Devil’s Kitchen Studio in the Rhine Valley, at the southernmost tip of the Black Forest – once again an lengthy train journey from Berlin Central. “There’s plenty of space and I can let go,” says Arnold Kasar: “There’s an old piano – and electricity – so I can set up my mobile equipment. Sometimes it’s quite good to leave the Moloch Berlin behind me.”
The pieces on RESONANZ are all created in the same way: The piano improvisations are recorded and archived. Now and then, Arnold Kasar selects an individual take and processes it beyond recognition. “I have a toolbox of portable synthesizers that are the source of everything. So at any time, I can go from the piano to the electronics and back to the solo piano, or mix them together.“ Arnold Kasar describes this process as a medial exchange, from the observation to the deconstructed melody, to the dark drone and then back to contemplation.
The tracks on RESONANZ have titles like “PRATERSTERN”, “STUECKI”, “BERLINER TINKE”, “SAKE” or “TEMPEST”. You can ask Arnold what real experiences and considerations informed the individual pieces if you happen to meet him in the dining car or elsewhere. ‹‹‹