Annemarie Borg “In Nomine Cetus” CD
Annemarie Borg, born in Paris with French/Swedish background and based in London, is the main protagonist and founder behind Antara Project focusing on strong connection between various artistic languages and the world we live in. Annemarie’s musical explorations cover a quite eclectic range of terrains, stretching from poetry/modern classical through environmentally infused euphonies to deep drone reflections. For the first time I came across Annemarie’s name around 2010 on richly flavored collaborative project Thamnos “WIR”, which featured also Tomas Weiss, but this is a closed chapter. “In Nomine Cetus” CD, self-released during June 2014, is, I believe, 5th album by Annemarie Borg, including above mentioned Thamnos and “Breaking Through” compilation presenting tracks, collaborations, poetry and visuals by various artists such as Bruno Sanfilippo, Aes Dana, Nicolas Meier, Marc Yeats, Ann Schmitz, Keith Farnish, Philip Wells and others. The other two are “Secrets”, a classically orchestrated collaboration with John Wilson (2003) and first solo album by Annemarie, ambient/drone/contemporary driven “Iridescent Perceptions”, released at the end of 2012. Back to “In Nomine Cetus”, as mentioned in the liner notes, the album is dedicated to all Cetaceans across the oceans and the Island of Hawaii.
“Clamo Oceanus” reveals this fascinating odyssey with deeply submerging dronescape, enhanced by assorted whale sounds ranging from eerily emerging to transcendentally shrilling, while continuously guarded by Annemarie’s moaning voice magics and surrounded by soothing sounds of ocean waves. Graciously immense cover images of 4-panel disc eco wallet (pictures and artwork by Annemarie) closely interweave with symphoniously encircling faint underwater zones. 13-minute “Closer In The Distance” safely cruises through magnificently graceful horizons, hauntingly colored with natural subtleties, deeply evocative voices and bioacoustics, and serenely nuanced epic climaxes. Colossally majestic masterpiece!!! “Lacrime” is filled with orchestral sadness, cautiously meandering and crescendoing through touchingly elegiac expressions. No wonder, this composition brings into the spotlight Japan’s controversial annual dolphin slaughter, which begins in the infamous town of Taiji in September and lasts until the end of February.”L’Adieu Au Jour” dives deeper into the unfathomable depths, where massively monochromatic drifts are bridged with intangible voice-like drones and diverse repertoire of singing Cetaceans. Fascinatingly intense and monumental, before inconspicuously transmuting into warmly cinematic and captivatingly expansive realms melted with some hazy piano fragments and pierced with additional underwater dissonances. This might be the pinnacle of the whole album, a truly magnificent listening experience!!! It’s a pity here and there the track is permeated by some unwanted hiss. “Miserere” unfolds with bizarrely circling industrial-like breaths, which are later shifted slightly to the back and the center stage is invaded by ethereal voices. But still the interactions between the voices and rumblings are absolutely stunning, strikingly contrasting, yet aurally symmetrical and deeply mesmerizing!!! The next piece, “Kealakekua Bay”, Annemarie dedicates to her Hawaiian friends and it pays tribute to the natural beauties of this treasured coastline (Kona coast, Hawaii), where the coral reefs slope gorgeously from the shore into the water. Tranquilly floating and cascading with perplexing whisperings and whale sounds, balsamic sea recordings and all subtly wrapped by orchestral drama delicacy. I should add that all whale sounds on this album are used, altered and edited with kind permission from Whale Songs by iWhales.”Cantiques Des Etoiles – Antares” closes this journey with distinguishably sculpted chants and wistful drones. Annemarie’s chants are truly mindscaping, at times nearly crumbled when listening on my headphones, I even thought it was a sound issue, but this might be all intentional. Evocative, spellbinding and most of all powerfully transcendental!!!
“In Nomine Cetus” takes the listener to some of the most beautiful and majestic aquatic sceneries, but unfortunately also to some sorrowful ones. It certainly deserves to be explored and supported, because Annemarie Borg is deeply focused and utterly talented composer and singer. “In Nomine Cetus” is made from the heart!!! My only complain is the soundquality, the overall sound is a bit flat to my taste plus some extraneous hissing sounds need to be removed. Otherwise, bravo, Annemarie, keep on creative soundsculpting and I really look forward to your future projects!!! By the way, a new album is planned for spring 2015…
Richard Gürtler (Oct 15, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)
INTERVIEW Musica Kaleidoskopea 20/03/14
a kaleidoscopic view of music
Borg’s music has been described variously as “eclectic and experimental” and “electronic with some classical coloring with at times engaged and highly emotional vocals”. She is passionate about merging media of expression, creativity, imagination, communication, education and reconnecting with our natural world.
She founded and directs the Antara Project, which focuses on creativity, education, communication and change.
-What is your earliest musical memory that, in looking back, has proved to be significant regarding your career as a composer?
When I think about this question, two very strong memories and events feel immensely significant. The first one seems to explain why my inspiration is so rooted in my love for our natural world. As a child of 6 or 7, I remember spending hours in front of the sea during my summer holidays, and blending my voice with the sound of the waves, singing as they crashed onto the rocks. I was extremely shy and this just seemed to make me feel so free and alive, and gave me a sense of belonging. What is amazing is that I seem to have come full circle as my music now shows, when I compose blending ocean, orchestral sounds, and my voice with the songs of the cetaceans. I live and breathe nature through my music, as in “A day of sky“.
The second image which I recall often is my encounter with classical music: sitting under the piano at my aunt’s house in Paris listening to her playing Debussy’s La Cathedrale engloutie. I remember the feeling of being carried away by the sonic vibrations of the piano into an amazing fantasy world under the sea. What little girl’s dreams are made of!
-Are there composers who have been influential or relevant regarding your own work? Has this changed over time?
Oh so many. I grew up with music and loved it…how they influenced me, I don’t know but music and Visual Art and literature were just part of my life, a constant nourishment for a very thirsty mind. I suppose it starts with Debussy, Chopin, Mahler, Vivaldi, Grieg, Bach, Eric Satie and Poulenc, without forgetting Fauré, and moves towards Arvo Pärt and Gorécki via many more; standard American composers like Gershwin, Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael; impressive queens of blues and jazz and opera singers. I loved Mozart and Verdi, but also Boards of Canada, Sigur Ròs, and many more. I discovered later also electronic and Ambient music, e.g. Brian Eno and JM Jarre, John Cage, Klaus Schulze. I love at the moment the minimalist ambient techno approach of a Japanese artist like Tetsu Inoue. I also have just found out about my direct ancestor, the Norwegian composer and violinist Ole Bull, so maybe something in the genes.
-Would you mind speaking a little concerning your working process, i.e., do you have a regular schedule for writing; do you use a computer for composing (either for creating pre-composition materials or notation), if so, do you find that it inhibits your process? What other technology, if any, do you use?
Ah, working process. This makes me smile, because whether creativity or artistic flow I cannot ever give the name “work” to what I do. It is a passion, a lifestyle. I have a completely unpredictable schedule except for deadlines and workshops. I can write poems in the middle of the night as well as compose early in the morning, it just suddenly happens. I write, sing and compose entirely from a deep feeling and emotional place. I know there is structure inside me which will appear in my music, common denominators in my work, dynamics which are instinctive and learnt somewhere, but I still rely mostly to the inspiration of the moment, of the thought, of where I feel I am, it seems to flow from a private well. It drives me constantly.
Notation for me comes after composition, if I want my work to be played live, this would be also in the form of graphic notation. I use classical instruments piano, cello, some percussive instruments and my voice, field recordings and I am passionate about technology.
The mixing stage and mastering is another facet of the composition, and needs a very different approach to listening and reassessing what the music means and where it can move to, before it is released into the world. This is when you paint a picture with the elements of your composition. Space, time and colors come into play to create the final picture.
I think for a musician this is the best time ever, as an independent and self-sufficient artist you can do so very much if you really work hard and are open to challenges.
For centuries, we humans have been gradually destroying the very balance of Life on earth as if this was our right. As a result, today our needs exceed Nature’s reserves. These needs as we call them are nothing we can be proud of when 20% of the world’s population consume 80% of its resources and 5000 people a day die from lack of clean water. It also must be obvious that no needs or concepts of “life style” justify the vicious slaughter of animals for skin/fur and other idiotic products relished by our society! They are tortured in the name of vanity, ignorance, as we create a nonsense market that others less fortunate are tempted to exploit. The fact is that the society we have built based on such superficial concepts, blind to the consequences, deserves the fate our scientists predict. It is hard to admit but true, that today the world would be a far better place without us. And if that is not convincing enough because we have lost track of our responsibilities, let’s remember we are by many of our actions biting off the hand that feeds us. Our survival on earth depends on us respecting its balance; every thing is linked, water, air, light, soil, trees, plants, animals and people and sharing is every thing. We can take that road, we may still have some choices, on these depend our fate and the possibility to bring this extraordinary World Into Remission.
“I have never heard of this project and it isn’t the kind of style that I normally dig into. Never the less I must admit that I was blown away by this debut album from German/French project Thamnos. The album titled “WIR” is the first album released on the Sound Claim and quite unusual release strategy by today’s standards: Only released on CD-format and no download options available. On the other side this is most certainly an album worth having on your shelf at home. Expressively the compositions reminds me of Dead Can Dance, one thing is the beautiful female vocals of French vocalist Annemarie Borg, another thing is the clear fingerprints of ancient sounds such as neo-folk and world music. But in comparison to the Dead Can Dance, there is more weight put on the electronic expressions with elements of first of all Ambient music, but also chilling trip hop. “Dead can Dance” meets “Enigma” is not too far from the descriptive reality. A remarkable presence in the music is the acoustic sounds of first of all piano layers beautifully woven into nocturnal soundscapes – sometimes non-rhythmic, other times trippy hand percussion and electronic rhythm textures. As said I was pretty much blown away by this album, that certainly delivers in atmosphere and melancholic beauty. People longing for the sound of Dead Can Dance should look no further, and everyone else should also pay attention. (NM – Vital Weekly)
“Thamnos is a music project of musician/producer/composer Tomas Weiss and UK-based singer-songwriter Annemarie Borg, started in 2007. “W I R” (World In Remission) is another recent album that expresses its worries about the destroyed balance of life on earth, painting the atmosphere of today, through the many styles and means of today, not having any boundaries of form or language. Touching real life issues and also the spiritual aspect of music, the outcome is dense, tribal- infused ambient music accompanied by the soaring female vocals (in English, Russian and French) of Annemarie Borg. The contribution of the latter made me slightly think of Dead can Dance, as the duo melts elements of world fusion and experimental electronica in a peculiar, unfashioned manner. Especially the second half of the very well produced and mastered CD sounds deep, atmospheric and inspired. The sixth piece “Ajin” is highlight, a beautiful introspective outing with sophisticated piano and imaginary language inspired by Latin, while the great rhythms and gentle flute makes “Voices” and “Manjel Kani” other key tracks. All in all, this is deep, aural and highly spiritual music with a mission which demands focussed listening.” (Bert Strolenberg – Sonic Immersion)
Tomas Weiss et Annemarie Borg sont les responsables du premier album du projet méditatif Thamnos, “W I R”, pour “World In Remission” : titre donné à l’album d’après la conclusion d’un exposé optant pour le réalisme et faisant le menu de l’intérieur du digipack. Le groupe y condamne une approche du monde anthropocentrique et un mode de développement non contrôlé, générateur de discriminations intra-peuples et de déséquilibres environnementaux croissants, lesquels deviennent une menace pour l’espèce humaine elle-même. Avidité consumériste, démographie galopante, deux sources essentielles au problème du vivre ensemble. “Le monde serait sans doute meilleur sans les hommes”, dit Thamnos. Possible, mais peut-on s’exclure ainsi du monde ? Le groupe en appelle alors au partage, seule voie possible pour la rémission du monde. C’est dans ce constat, plein d’interrogations et à consonance pessimiste (notre nature est-elle au partage ?) que s’inscrivent ces contenus musicaux hypnotiques et pénétrants. Eux sont la bande-son illustrant la prise de conscience.
Sombre trip hop mâtiné d’un feeling rituel, “Masques” et sa lenteur engendre un environnement aquatique au cœur duquel Annemarie chante “l’heure sombre”. Tout l’album baigne d’ailleurs dans un climat d’attente, une phraséologie intimiste déclinée sur tempo lent (esthétique à l’orientale des percussions) mais qui n’exclut pas les tonalités acerbes (le chant au murmure tantôt âpre, tantôt sensuel de “Mind The Gaps”). Thamnos garde une menace en réserve mais ne retient jamais l’option de la déflagration ou du cri, lui préférant la suggestion funèbre d’un piano funambule et minimal (“Ajin”), ou un verbe égrené dans le souffle (“Manjel Kani”). Thamnos reste dans quelque chose de rentré, option réflexive et introspection. Cette musique n’est pas qu’un parcours sonore ou le résultat du travail des machines, elle illustre une quête : celle de se retrouver enfin “dans” le monde, à un moment où on sent que ça vrille, où il semble nous échapper, et où il ne reste bien que l’amour pour nous sortir de la solitude et du drame collectif (“À Fleur d’Âme”, ou l’inconnu devient sauveur)… à condition, bien sûr, que s’éveille cet amour (le final”Awakening”).w.
Ainsi, au-delà d’un background classique transparaissant de ces armatures synthétiques et de ces voix en prise à la tourmente, Thamnos parvient à un ensemble cohérent, évocateur et relativement esthétique ; un clair obscur fondé sur les ambiances et une sensation de coulé, davantage que sur une recherche harmonique qui foisonnerait. La forme, sinueuse, offre alors support à une poésie de l’angoisse.” (Emmanuël Hennequin – Obskure Magazine)
ResonanceFM London 104.4
Diana Mavroleon in conversation with Annemarie Borg
“Annemarie Borg’s work is eclectic in that it traverses both mixed media and the individual/separate forms of music, words, poetry, sounds and the visual arts. As Founder of the ‘Antara Project’ Borg uses art forms as tools to deal with her main concerns: the fundamental changes in social and cultural environments and how these affect the present day and generations to come. “In today’s world we have created our own challenge, are we now up to the task of facing it? In this task what is the part Artists can assume?” (AMB). Antara aims to build a louder voice through Art and will result in a compilation album and a day conference/performance in June 2013. Borg’s ‘live’ shows range from classical repertoire to experimental music with organic sound-scapes, electronica, improvisation, sometimes in collaboration with other musicians. Following from Thamnos, her current projects also include: “Still Motion” – a series of live performances started this Spring in London. Two new collaborations Cameos and Atmá, composing music soundscapes for Live Art Installations. Two album releases planned for this year: Iridescent Perceptions solo album release date November 2012 and Breaking Through a compilation of various artists in December. Born in Paris, with a French/Swedish background, Borg was a child musician who went on to study Business and International Law in Paris, and Music, Opera, Performance and Acting in London.”