«Rotunda» is the second solo release of Danish, Aarhus-based experimental percussionist-composer Christian Windfeld in his series «Førstepersonental» (first person singular). This very limited-edition, only 250 10” vinyl copies, consists of two site specific minimalist compositions for reduced solo percussion, the snare drum. The compositions were recorded on June 2016 inside the rotunda at Mindeparken in Aarhus, a memorial monument for the fallen Danish soldiers of WWI, a circular yard surrounded by a sandstone made by the sculptor Axel Poulsen and the architect Axel Ekberg, situated in a pastoral landscape on the outskirts of Aarhus, near the forest and the sea.
Windfeld wanted to focus on the snare drum since it is the most militarized instrument. Placing the snare drum in the middle of a war memorial, located far away from people’s consciousness, was as a symbolic act that represent the contemporary hi-tech wars, fought from far away by unmanned drones. The album contain a poem by Danish poet Karen Marie Troldborg that correspond with the images and the poem carved into the wall of the rotunda.
Windfeld, known from the free-improvising trio Flamingo, attempted to transcend the traditional acoustic sound of the snare drum. He worked with resonance and overtones generated by musical drones and extended techniques, amplified naturally with no effects or overdubs, in the the middle of the reverberating atmosphere of the rotunda, itself a kind of giant drum shell.
The two compositions employ wisely the unique acoustics properties of the rotunda. «Rotunda I» is inspired by the pounding sounds of the howitzer cannons. Windfeld created a dense, multi-layered waves of resonating, intrusive overtones by hitting a cymbal that scratches the skin of the snare drum. This composition demands the listener to surrender to its powerful flow of paralyzing sounds. «Rotunda II» is inspired by the buzzing sounds of cruising drones in the distance. Here Windfeld offers a series of resonating-rolling sounds on the the skin of the snare drum. These sounds charges this composition with a claustrophobic-disturbing atmosphere, intensifying the feeling of being surrounded by the constant raining sounds that slowly become closer, more noisier and threatening, with no place to hide away.
Windfeld regards «Rotunda» as his War Suite, It is a unique, moving masterpiece.
Christian Windfeld (snare drum, cymbal)