So far every release that I've reviewed on the Afe Records label has been intriguing, original and intelligent. It's quite an accomplishment, considering their extensive release schedule. Each one of their CD-Rs are released in tiny editions, and are presented in a suitably simple, classy package adorned with beautifully printed art or photography.
Perhaps their biggest achievement, though, is that there is no common "label sound" associated with the recordings. They skirt fashion for substance and present quality music without concern for hip genre exercises.
This release by Cordell Klier is a case in point; it doesn't fit squarely into any category. There are parts of the recordings which are quiet, nearly silent, and subtle, which one might be tempted to describe as "lower case" music. There's also some electronic drone elements to "Measure Here and Be Now", but these elements are only part of the large canvas on which this music is played.
The album consists of four tracks, each of which are fashioned in a multi-tiered, artistic manner. The first track, "Measure Here", starts very quietly, slowly building in volume, with only a sharp, gong-like tone in the foreground for a few seconds at its inception. Finally, at around the five minute mark, the volume reaches a readily audible level, revealing a complex web of tones.
This continues until a second, more prominent "gong" sounds, then the piece gets gradually more intense, as a percolating mid-range tone is matched up with very high pitched oscillations. It gets even louder, then the last three or so minutes are spent establishing a splintering variety of tones, which eventually fade out completely.
I could certainly describe the rest of these pieces in detail. But this is an album which begs to be heard in order to fully understand the artistic sensitivity which Cordell Klier has invested. It's easy to imagine this music as part of an installation, because of the varieties of sound that can be discerned based on the listener's position in relation to the speakers. For that reason, it reveals new sounds every time you listen.
Amazingly, despite the huge number of recordings Cordell Klier has been a part of, this is my first exposure to his music. There's not a lot of new tricks to be found on "Measure Here and Be Now" as far as technique is concerned, but the composition of the music is thoughtful, and faultless from a technical standpoint. Best of all, it's invested with enough individuality and passion to maintain interest.