cinder : ember : ashes

cinder : ember : ashes is Aviva’s first solo release and marks a move towards a more introspective sound. A collection of both composed and improvised recordings, the album offers a selection of liminal, ethereal and elusive resonances. Distinct and refined instrumentations set up a framework of unique sonic environments, which then become a landscape for Aviva’s slowly morphing and contemplative improvisations.

Several tracks explore a veiling of the clarinet, placing another sonic force alongside the instrument which then works together with the clarinet in a symbiotic relationship. In ‘apparition : above’ Aviva uses the skin of the timpani as a resonant chamber which alters, distorts and beats against the tone of the clarinet and amplifies its resonant frequencies into a swirling and glissing halo of sound. ‘vapour : between’ transfigures the tone of the clarinet through a miniature pocket-sized amplifier, the sound of the clarinet distorted and fragmented in a playful and rhythmic trance-like meditation. The umtshingo (harmonic flute) reveals itself in ‘undulations : behind’ through a multitude of subtle effects and feedback, through which the listener may eventually distinguish the beautiful simplicity of this instrument. 

In part, this album took inspiration from the musicologist Andrew Killicks’ concept of ‘holicipation’—a term he coined to describe solo musical practices that are not rehearsals, not practicing for something, but are playing for oneself. The playing is ‘holistic’ in the sense that it constitutes audience, composer and performer, and has no investment in a musical future, but instead finds nourishment in the present. Aviva’s introduction to this term from the musicologist Cara Stacey (who also introduced Aviva to the umtshingo, featured on the album) inspired a refocusing of Aviva’s practice in a more introspective, meditative approach to solo playing, in parallel to her heavily collaborative artistic practices. As it happened, some of these solo explorations eventually developed into pieces that she chose to share with the world, but the process of ‘holicipation’ none the less constituted a vital part of this music’s formation.

Purchase cinder : ember : ashes from SOFA

Hear samples of each track on Subrader 

Album label: Sofa
Release date: 19/10/2018
Recording location: Rolling Stock Recording Rooms
Recording date: Friday, December 1, 2017
Artwork design: Rutger Zuydervelt

Artwork design: Aviva Endean and Justin Marshall photos

Recording, Mixing and Mastering engineer: Myles Mumford

4 stars “a purist and concentrated debut” (Westzeit)

“A miraculous discovery of a new world” (Freistil Magazin)

“Minimalism with maximal nuance” (David Chesworth)

“(Endean) fits perfectly into the sofa-Kosmos … Endean is a radically idiosyncratic sound art wind instrumentalist who presents an introspective, far from superficial sound on her solo debut” (Nordische Musik)

“…the music remains very accessible and sometimes trance-inducing.” (Vital Weekly)

“There’s an almost autohypnotic quality to much of the album, the result of Endean’s proclivity for creating variations on motifs made up of a minimal collection of pitches which she orders, expands, condenses or distorts—all the while still somehow retaining their essential profiles” (Avant Music News)

“Aviva Endean’s first solo release but it doesn’t appear short of confidence. Lengthy, indulgent and captivating experimental performances, making the most out of the clarinet’s distinctive deep tonal qualities, culminating in long rolls, and languid melodic elements…. it’s barely anything short of stunning.” (ChainDLK)

“Another fresh one to be released via Norway’s Sofa Music is “Cinder : Ember : Ashes”, the debut album by Melbourne-based composer and clarinet player Aviva Endean which is scheduled for October 19th, 2k18. Catering a menu of seven works over the course of 47 minutes the journey begins with “Burst In Black : Under”, a naturalistic, yet rhythm-oriented, spiralling and hypnotic set of layered motif repetetions, “Apparition : Above” tells tales of lifelong isolation, despair and loneliness whereas “Vapour : Between” playfully meanders between the mystique and fascination of ancient melodies and seemingly digital undertones of increasing intensity whereas “Distant  Song : Afar” introduces soft, intimate tribalistic chants as the first appearance of Aviva Endean‘s vocals on her debut. With “Smoulder : Beneath” we see the Australian artist touch on genres like Jazz Noir / DarkJazz and a score’esque overall vibe, her “Undulations : Behind” brings on a lively, enchanted feel evoking memories of old fairytales and mysterious, buzzing, yet friendly creatures living hidden deep in the woods and the final “Ashes For Viv : Before” once again is on a hypnotizing tip, bringing on spiralling, tender repetitions and hints of Jazz within 188 seconds. Quite an interesting view on clarinet-based music for sure.” (Nitestylez)