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

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Indigo - Silent Memories – One cannot listen to Indigo's latest album without acknowledging that, while, good as some of these musical compositions might be, they tend to be spoiled by powdery and derivative lyrics sung in a...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues