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«Vands Transparens»

The Copenhagen-based, chamber sax ensemble Sidechains melts together five opinionated voices into a single organism. The ensemble features alto sax players-composers Maria Dybbroe and Sven Meinild, soprano and tenor sax player Martin Stender, tenor sax player Francesco Bigoni and baritone sax player Henrik Pultz Melbye. Sidechains was formed in 2019 to perform  Meinild’s suite «Sidechains» and composer-sound designer Jacob Ridderberg’s work «Rituals», captured in Ridderberg’s Rituals album, with Dybbroe as the soloist (Bad Posture, 2019). The debut album of the ensemble, Vands Transparens, roughly translated as transparency of water, was recorded at Unitarenes Hus in Copenhagen in May 2021.

Vands Transparens is divided into two sides – The first one was composed by Dybbroe and the second one by Meinild, but both sides rely on compositions that suggest repetitive, melodic motives and variations. Dybbroe’s opening title piece serves as a dreamy-meditative prelude to the sonic universe of Sidechains. It was written to call forth the sacred, an inconsolably gray and cold Aarhusian winter day and inspired by the church’s organ music. This beautiful and fragile composition establishes the delicate and thoughtful, layered and interwoven dynamics of Sidechains, soaked with tender melancholy. The second composition «Svaner flyder i lys» (swans float in light ) is an abstraction of Danish poet Pia Tafdrup’s poem and is based on an improvisation made with the poet herself. This poetic composition evokes vivid and playful images of swans but, again, with some dark, mournful tones of one’s experiencing the transient flow of nature.

Meinild’s suite «Sidechains» was written over a few days in December 2017 and is performed by the ensemble for the first time. It was inspired by a visit to an abandoned allotment garden association, where the gardens remained as different rooms that had since grown together into a whole. Each part of the suite refers to the people who had looked after the individual gardens. This composition demands a more urgent and sometimes intense interplay of the ensemble, stretched between exploring the sonic timbres of the saxophones, brief and concise themes and improvisations, with each saxophone playing a distinct melody. Like Dybbroe’s composition, Meinild employs the ensemble as a chamber, contemporary outfit, arranging the sax choir into playing a canon or fugue that captures haunting images of a visit to a labyrinthian garden.

Impressive and most beautiful.

Eyal Hareuveni

Maria Dybbroe (as), Sven Meinild (as), Martin Stender (ss, ts), Francesco Bigoni (ts), Henrik Pultz Melbye (bs)

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