REVIEW: Berlin Soundpainting Orchestra’s “Holothuria”

Berlin Soundpainting Orchestra photo BerlinSO_cover_zpsirodvswq.jpg Aut Records described this album by the Berlin Soundpainting Orchestra this way:
Led by soundpainter and pianist Hada Benedito, the Berlin Soundpainting Orchestra consists of 16 experimental musicians, improvisers and composers, all coming from different backgrounds and nationalities. Their live composed works could be described as a trip of obscure and colourful images, an expansive way of traveling among improvisation and avant-garde music beyond contemporary jazz..”

What does that exactly all mean? It’s improvisational, it’s spontaneous and like a good amount of music, it is unpredictable. The first thing I thought of was John Zorn, when he had his Cobra project and all of the musicians involved play what they had to be played by looking at cue cards with anything from numbers to symbols and gibberish, each describing what they are to do. In a way, you could say the Berlin Soundpainting Orchestra are creating their own language by what they’re seeing, or what they’re saying, or what they’re feeling. It’s fun to hear too because while it may sound like some kind of Ornette Coleman jam session, it is going somewhere if you pay attention. It is neither jazz or classical, it could easily be Pink Floyd in Atom Heart Mother mode but fans of avant-garde classical or jazz may consider that comparison an insult. Nonetheless, it is what I hear and I could only image what this would sound like in a live setting. There are two people who contribute dialogie to this album, somewhat helping the listener out from point A to point B, imagine if Laurie Anderson came into a room and decided to split herself in two. Parts of this reminded if of Andrew Poppy’s wonderful album The Beating Of Wings, as I could hear a few similarities here and there. I hope the “Orchestra” will do more albums in the years, decades, and perhaps centuries to come.