Exposé Online banner

Alexander Berne — Composed and Performed by Alexander Berne
(Innova 755, 2010, 3CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2011-06-01

Composed and Performed by Alexander Berne Cover art

This lavish set presents composer / sound-designer / musician Alexander Berne in a variety of settings, mostly on his own, but with other contributors at times. Taking them in the order listed on the cover, we start with “The Soprano Saxophone Choir,” soprano saxophones backed by subtle soundscapes of indistinct origin. Mournful jazzy sax informed by sounds from around the world lays meditative melodies over the ambient notes that fade in and out. Occasional forays into more rhythmic territory find the saxes chattering and trilling like a flock of birds. This is not really a choir in any conventional sense, where you would expect harmonies and set compositions, just the use of multiple instances of the same instrument combined to create music. Disc two spotlights “The Saduk,” a cross between a saxophone and a duduk developed by Berne himself. It has a mournful sound similar to the duduk, mellower than a sax, and here it is often backed by sounds that are a bit more engaging than the ambience of the first CD. There are even subtle percussion sounds, though nothing approaching a steady tempo. “The Abandoned Orchestra” finishes out the package, and here the rhythmic aspect picks up a bit (even featuring what sounds like – gasp! – a drum kit), though hardly to what you would call an energetic level. The closest comparison I can think of would be the Hassell / Eno collaborations, music which inhabits the intersection of electronic, jazz, and contemporary avant-garde; when it comes to music nearing the ambient end of the spectrum, I find this much more interesting and enjoyable than much of what’s out there. Of course, “interesting” may not always be what you’re looking for in ambient music.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2010 releases

Related artist(s): Alexander Berne

Latest news

2018-02-18
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

2018-02-15
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

2018-02-14
Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Garmarna - Vedergällningen (Vengeance) – Garmarna’s newest release starts out with a grab for the listener’s throat. “Gamen (Vulture)” begins with a flanged rhythmic pattern on two fiddles which builds up to a powerful crash as the...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues