Artist: Alex Zethson
Label: Thanatosis Production
Cat nr: THT16
1. Residy, part 1 (21’34)
2. Residy, part 2 (14’47)
Residy is the new solo album from composer and pianist/keyboardist Alex Zethson (Angles 9, Goran Kajfeš Tropiques, Sven Wunder, Mariam the Believer, Fire! Orchestra, VÖ, Yokada). The extended piece in two parts that’s featured on this album is written for ebow, piano and synths, and is based upon JS Bach’s Goldberg variation no. 21. Organic and tactile drone music, digitally released by Italian label SUPERPANG; CD edition released by Thanatosis produktion.
Alex Zethson is a pianist, keyboardist and composer based in Stockholm and Athens. Apart from solo performances, he plays with groups and artists such as Martin Küchen
Angles 9, Goran Kajfeš Tropiques, Mariam the Believer, Sven Wunder, Fire! Orchestra, and have collaborated and written for Trondheim Jazz Orchestra with Sofia Jernberg, and more. In 2021 he founded his own 13-piece ensemble who released their debut on Relative Pitch Records in October 2021. Zethson is also a concert and festival organizer (among other events he runs the piano festival MONOPIANO), and is also the founder and operator of the label Thantosis produktion.
The music on this album is a variation on a variation, the Goldberg Variation no. 21 by JS Bach. In a moment of realistic modesty, it struck me that I will probably never live up to my old dream of being able to play all the Goldberg variations in a way that’s at least close to the composer’s intentions and that pleases my own ears. However, I reckoned, perhaps I could use the score of one of the pieces as a foundation to build something else. Exploring and at the same time (re)creating the residy, the remains of this variation, and in this process letting a new variation emerge.
I built chords based on selected notes from each bar of the piece, but kept the essential structure and retained the note order. The notes and intervals comprising these chords were then dispersed across three sound sources – two synths and a E- bowed grand piano – and the transitions from chord to chord were worked out. I didn’t want to eliminate the rhythmic movement inherent in the original piece, but rather to reimagine the accents and pace. A few strokes on the keyboard were added to create some shape, dynamic and timbre-variation. I notated the pitches, but freely treated the length of the notes. This album consists of the live recorded version of the piece, made without overdubs.
Using the three above-mentioned, closely related sound sources, the recording builds on my works creating presence-evoking uncertainty during performances. By creating/enabling sound milieus where performers (myself included) are not entirely sure exactly where the sounds are coming from, I’m trying to establish sensitive, tactile and meditative spaces that can make me float and experience new sensations and connections. I hope that the listener can also enter that space when they listen to this album.
– Alex Zethson, Stockholm, April 2022.