Self Referentials Vols. 1 & 2
Self Referentials Vols. 1 & 2
With Self Referentials Volume 1 & 2, Alexander Berne and his “Abandoned Orchestra” return with their third multi-CD set in as many years. Following "Composed and Performed by Alexander Berne" and "Flickers of Mime/Death of Memes," Berne’s latest finds him further refining and deepening a tonal vocabulary that has garnered him spots on critics’ “Best of” lists and found him compared to striking artists from across multiple genres, including Kubrick, Cage, Schoenberg and Joyce.
In Berne’s words, “Self Referentials Volume 1 & 2 is the latest recording from the ‘Abandoned Orchestra’, my ongoing solitary attempt to present a refined aural (+visual) artistic statement (free of synthesizers and samples) as composer, performer, instrument maker, engineer, visual artist, and producer.”
The innova double CD is a limited edition of 800 units and includes an original painting with each package, plus liner notes by Maxwell Chandler, who writes, “Like daydreams or memories, good works of art regardless of medium offer an inner landscape for the audience to traverse, the work serving as the terra firma. The more compelling works allow one to revisit them, discovering previously unnoticed aspects of the work or for the general colorations of the piece to appeal and reflect the new you that has developed since last visiting the piece.
Alexander’s Self Referentials Volumes 1 & 2 is indicative of the type of work which facilitates a compulsion to take such an inner journey again and again. In the tradition of the best headphone music, the work doubles as both the landscape to be explored and the Sherpa that accompanies you on the journey. The whole work represents an extended suite: Everything is interconnected not necessarily in the way we conceptualize in the (musical) Western classical tradition but there is an inherent logic once one recognizes that this is the parlance of dreams whose every sentence is punctuated by déjà vu and reveries. This work embodies a trip to be made for the mere act of pressing play and opening oneself up to the experience. In many ways no better thing can be offered up by a work of art.”
"[A]n exceptional collection. … His music is arguably at its most powerful during its quieter moments, such as when the saxophone purrs sinuously during 'Sonum Onscurum, Headphonic Apparitions Pt. I.' [T]he album's second volume['s] seventeen pieces surreptitiously seduce the listener throughout the disc's mysterious and enigmatic journey. Snapshots rich in atmosphere and detail, they're as transporting as the dozen settings on disc one. … Less straight-laced Western composer than global shaman, Berne's incantations and lamentations seep into one's innermost self and alter it as dramatically as a peyote-influenced dreamstate." [FULL ARTICLE]
“Self Referentials is a profoundly enigmatic listening experience. It doesn't make the kind of sense that we may have come to expect from a piece of music. It isn't an argument or a story; it doesn't come to a point. It isn't about themes or climaxes. At the same time, it's too seductive to the ear to pass as furniture-music, and it's too rich to serve as some austere meditation. What it is, is a trip: it's a journey, taken through a pair of headphones, into an unfamiliar land.” [FULL ARTICLE]
—Daniel Stephen Johnson
“From the insectile coterie of “Far Afield Recording” and warped distortions of “Pulsationism (The Long Tick)” to the three-part “Sonum Onscurum: Headphonic Apparitions,” we find ourselves in a landscape at once industrial and verdant. Shawm-like undulations trade places with plucked strings and siren calls in a flowing admixture of whispering rhythms and inward, organ(ic) washes. Like a window covered by Venetian blinds, all that falls between stripes the ears with light and shadow. … In this industrial fever dream, hazed by thinnest cloud in moonlight, we feel the sinews that have so far eluded us flex to the point of ambulation. … [A] mesmerizing and unforgettable cabinet of sonic curios, a search that needs nothing to be sought. The only journey it harbors begins when you take the first step.” [FULL ARTICLE]