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Hephaestus

by Arne Deforce - Mika Vaino


CD (EMEGO 187) 26 may 2014

Ancient Greek Ἥφαιστος Hēphaistos (Vulcan) – In Greek and Roman Mythology, Hephaestus was the god of fire; celestial blacksmith; craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes; son of Zeus and Hera; husband of Aphrodite. The river Phlegethon was one of the five rivers in the infernal regions of the underworld, where Hephaestus operated. Plato describes it as "a stream of fire, which coils round the earth and flows into the depths of Tartarus”. It is said that the goddess Styx was in love with Phlegethon, but she was consumed by his flames and sent to Hades. 

 

 

1.  Section one Phlegethon (stream of fire)
2. Section two Cocytus (river of lamentation)
3. Section three Acheron (river of woe)
4. Section four Styx (river of rage)
5. Section five Lethe (river of forgetfulness) or oblivion
6. Section six Elysium (fields of relief)

Arne Deforce : cello solo
Mika Vainio : processing, electronics

 

Pan Sonic’s “brutalist minimalist” Mika Vaino teams up with Belgian cellist for a “journey through the netherworld”. The record is named after the Greek god of fire 'Hephaestus', and track titles like "Cocytus (River Of Lamentation)" and "Elysium (Fields Of Relief)" burrow deeper into ancient mythology. The division of labor sees Deforce playing cello while Vainio takes care of "processing and electronics."

Arne Deforce is renowned for his passionate and unparalleled performances of contemporary and experimental music. As a soloist, his repertoire consists mainly of solo and chamber music with a special interest in work such as Iannis Xenakis, Richard Barrett, John Cage and Brian Ferneyhough. 

Mika Vainio was one half of the minimal electronic duo Pan Sonic. His solo works, under his own name and under aliases like Ø, are known for their analogue warmth and electronic harshness ranging from abstract drone works or minimal avant-techno.

In Greek and Roman Mythology, Hephaestus was the god of fire; celestial blacksmith; craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes; son of Zeus and Hera; husband of Aphrodite. The river Phlegethon was one of the five rivers in the infernal regions of the underworld, where Hephaestus operated. Plato describes it as "a stream of fire, which coils round the earth and flows into the depths of Tartarus.  It is said that the goddess Styx was in love with Phlegethon, but she was consumed by his flames and sent to Hades.

On this Editions Mego release, Hephaestus couples the rich acoustics of Deforce's cello techniques with the raw expressiveness of Vanio's electronics. The music reflects these ancient symbols whereby each track possesses physical, emotional and psychological states. The journey begins with ‘Phlegethon (stream of fire)' - a world of sound building in intensity and ferocity as a means of navigating the listener into this other world.  Both ‘Cocytus (river of lamentation)’ and ‘Acheron (river of woe)’ explore more introspective (ambient) terrain, harnessing the players ability to conjure discrete congruous textures.  From here we are hurtled into the unbridled fury of 'Styx (river of rage)' where the consummation of the individual and eternal agony resides amongst the synergetic logic adopted by the artists and their chosen tools. 'Lethe (river of forgetfulness) or oblivion' incorporates small repeating phrases and minimalist motifs which provide a sense of disorientation and dislocation for the traveller/listener whilst a world of respite is laid bare in the comforting yet brooding closing piece 'Elysium (fields of relief)'.  

Hephaestus is a fascinating journey through the netherworld of human extremity presented as a combination of pure acoustic and electronic sources and realized in both physical and psychological manifestations.

 

Recorded in Vooruit, Ghent. 20-22 december 2011
Recording engineer : Benjamin Dousselaere
Editing and mixing : Dousselaere, Vainio, Deforce. Brussels, October 2013
Mastering : Denis Blackham @ Skye mastering

 

ROLLINGSTONE 20 Best Avant Albums of 2014. The year's best in noise, out-jazz, contemporary classical, ambient, drone and more.

2014.12.31 Rollingstone magazine: 20 Best Avant Albums of 2014. The year's best in noise, out-jazz, contemporary classical, ambient, drone and more. A blackened-to-unsettling squall-out between Belgian new-music cellist Arne Deforce and Pan Sonic electronic explosion detonator Mika Vaino. At it's most extreme, Deforce's harsh, sawing, dive-bombing cello interplays with Vainio's deep bass drops in a way that's heavier than a lot of doom metal. At it's most sensitive, it's all gentle rubbing and dark-ambient atmosphere. rollingstone.com

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