Ariel Kalma / Richard Tinti - "Osmose"
Double LP issued 1978 by SFP Records, Paris France, Released in France
From Aural Innovations #22 (January 2003)
Ariel Kalma’s name occasionally comes up in conversation with those interested in the Progressive Rock scene that developed in Paris in the 1970s. He had worked with the likes of Christian Vander, Richard Pinhas and the French versions of MEV. In the late 70s he began to espouse musical/philosophical ideas that came to be associated with the so-called "New Age" (New wage?) movement, and released a number of cassettes of such for that growing market.
This LP, released in 1978, is a collaboration with Musique Concrete/Tape Composer Richard Tinti, who at one point was connected with the activities of IRCAM, the French government’s program for native Academic/Classical Avante Garde Electronic Music composers (still thriving today with headquarters in the Pompidou center in Paris... the building with the Pipes outside, often remarked on by visitors to that city!!).
The basic idea here is to incorporate field recording of natural sounds made in the Somali coastal regions with Kalma’s various instruments (Saxes, Flutes, Synthesizers, Keyboards, Guitar and Electronic Music Instruments/techniques). Theses tapes are themselves mixed, looped and layered to create the idea of hearing the music in a natural situation, whilst applying a range of compositional techniques to make the sound both plastic and fluid at once.
Tapelooped Tenor Saxophone begins "Saxo Planetaria", soon joined by Looped Insects from the field recordings, each layered behind Kalma’s melodic Statements. "10/18/77" blends Synthesizer, Tapes and effects with a Taped montage, while "Planet Aire" uses the same instrumental mix, with Synthesizer creating a sub-harmonic drone underneath the natural sounds.
Sides two, three and four (remember, this was released as a double LP) are given over to an array of Tape techniques. Rhythms appear in the form of loops, the most memorable being the Bee that comes buzzing across the stereo field. The sounds themselves are orchestrated in a symphonic like context, and Kalma’s sparse inputs on various instruments are correctly restrained, often not quite audible with intense concentration on the music to identify them!
This is a joy being heard over headphones, or decent speakers in a very quiet environment, so that all the subtle sonic activity recorded can be heard. The editing and splicing is so well done that it is often not apparent that you are hearing a loop!
Since this recording, Ariel Kalma has released a number of CDs in France, most generally in the Genre known here as "New Age" Music, all well-played but none as interesting as this disc. Musically, it would be an excellent piece to reissue on CD, as the new technology could enhance the clarity of the recording as it’s a work that is fascinating, distinct and unique!
Reviewed by Doug Walker