all that dust’s first batch of releases has received critical acclaim across a variety of print and internet media and has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, ORF (Austria), France Musique, Deutschlandfunk Kultur and others.
Speaking of contemporary music labels, we got a new one this year: a small and highly specialist UK outfit called all that dust, run by three artists and dedicated to releasing new works and classics of the repertoire.
A bijou catalogue of carefully crafted CDs.
For a new label, these five releases are an extremely ambitious and auspicious opening gambit; I really can’t wait to hear what comes next.
all that dust is a determinedly grassroots venture, deeply embedded in the community its recordings represent.
The five initial releases from all that dust – all beautifully recorded and smartly designed – offer an impressive overview of the founders’ range of interests. A sublimely patient account of Feldman’s For John Cage finds Knoop partnered with Aisha Orazbayeva, an extraordinary Kazakh-born violinist. Avant Muzak, a collection of puckishly referential chamber works by Matthew Shlomowitz, is performed with style and abundant cheek by the superb Norwegian ensemble asamisimasa. On a third CD, inconnaissance, the formidable French cellist Séverine Ballon makes her debut as an equally uncompromising composer. The discs are housed in attractive digipaks of consistent design, always a good omen for a desirable library addition. Two more all that dust releases, each offering a cornerstone work for solo vocalist with taped electronic accompaniment, are available exclusively in high-resolution download formats: Fraser’s arresting rendition of Milton Babbitt’s stormy Philomel, and a similarly potent performance of Luigi Nono’s La fabbrica illuminata by the British mezzo-soprano Loré Lixenberg. Both recordings were captured in binaural sound, producing a vividly three-dimensional presence when played through good headphones.
atd1 was listed in 5against4’s Best Albums of 2018 and was awarded a Diapason d’Or in April 2019.
a mesmerising, almost hypnotic performance that seemingly brings the world to a stop for 74 minutes.
This slow-paced piece doesn’t contain hummable tunes, but it’s intensely beautiful at times, Mark Knoop’s, soft, bell-like piano chords sharing the space with Aisha Orazbeyava’s violin… a perfect musical decluttering
Aisha Orazbayeva and Mark Knoop deliver a gorgeously austere, decidedly quiet reading of the pared-down epic. The pair cycles through the composer’s simple patterns with exquisite precision, each utterance voiced with different bow techniques and amounts of pressure, to imbue the sense of stasis with endless change.
The work in question seems a conscious attempt at formalizing a disorientation of memory. The effect is of a hallucinatory stasis, not dissimilar to the canvases of Mark Rothko, where little happens – very beautifully.
atd2 was listed in The Wire’s Top 10 album releases of 2018 (Modern Composition category).
a witty, absurdist masterpiece of contemporary sound art.
Avant Muzak, a collection of puckishly referential chamber works by Matthew Shlomowitz, is performed with style and abundant cheek by the superb Norwegian ensemble asamisimasa.
…the selection and arrangement of these, mostly pre-existing sounds becomes the primary compositional motor. The series of fragments must spark off each, revealing something that was not clear at first, or building a narrative that plays with listeners’ expectations. It is here that great care is evinced by the pieces: they are organised with no little love.
atd3 was nominated for a Deutschen Schallplattenkritik Award 2018 and listed in Sequenza 21’s Best Instrumental and Recital CDs of 2018.
The effect of Séverine Ballon’s musical odyssey inconnaissance is best elaborated as a masterpiece of music whose microscopic elements of tone, pitch and tempi are conflations of musical ideas miraculously welded together: new, alert and alive.
Something that didn’t fit in the shape of words was transported to my ears through my headphones, a secret message that filled me with the kind of comprehension that defies articulation.
Ballon makes no use of computers in these compositions, and yet, the influence of electronic music pulsates throughout the entire album.
At times, [Ballon] lets the sound slip away to almost nothing without ever losing its presence, letting details recede and emerge, with contrasts in dynamics and activity that always feel natural.
atd4 was listed in National Sawdust’s Top 10 classical releases of 2018.
The tape part, it has to be said, has never sounded more pristine and brilliant than it does in this recording… Engineering the recording binaurally has made it into a deeply immersive experience through headphones, one that throws us into the heart of what Philomel is going through, and which demonstrates how radical, accessible and affecting Babbitt’s often-overlooked music really is.
The word immersive is over-used. But listening to new recordings of Milton Babbitt’s Philomel is a disorientating, vertiginous experience. The listener finds themselves plunged, instantly, into an all-encompassing sound world in which bloops and gurgles of electronic sound appear to come from all possible angles, anchored by the central node of Juliet Fraser’s soaring solo voice.
atd5 was listed in BBC Radio 3 Hear and Now’s Top 10 album releases of 2018, and listed in The Herald’s Top 10 Classical releases of 2018.
This binaural mix is stunningly involving, placing one deep at the core of the work’s drama, heightening all the crushing weight and diaphanous drift that it contains.
Nono weaves in factory noises and the voices of workers with pre-recorded and live soprano, performed here by the astonishingly agile and expressive Loré Lixenberg.