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Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard – Sound X Sound: Music for 8 Recorders

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Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard – Sound X Sound Music for 8 RecordersThe first in the Sound X Sound series of 7″ singles which will each explore just one instrument, Music for 8 Recorders finds Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard‘s compositions tackling the alto and soprano varieties on each side of the record. On the evidence of the first disc, the rest of the Sound X Sound series should be well worth following, not least to discover how much Løkkegaard can push the limits of each instrument as intriguingly as he has done here with one as unassuming as the humble recorder.

The recorder (or blokfløjter in Løkkegaard’s native Danish) has long suffered an association with endless childhood lessons on the instrument, seen as it is (in Britain at least) as the perfect method by which to torture both primary school pupils and their families, and its reedy tones have blared away across the generations until its reputation has been thoroughly sullied as a serious instrument. While this less than fulsome opinion may not be assuaged by a first encounter with the “Sopranblokfløjter” side (more of this later), the fluttery trills of “Altoblokfløjter” ease in and out of a band of tonal variation which soon becomes sonorously enveloping, surrounding and filling space with the instruments’ lilting piping in glorious cadences which could easily last much longer than the space restrictions of a 7″ single allow.

On the soprano side though, things are less gentle, less soothing; there’s something about the pitch of the recorder itself which pierces straight to the core of the brain which evokes a fight or flight response, perhaps giving the instrument, at least here, the properties of Pan’s pipes in their original, far more devilish form. But Løkkegaard takes pity, and allows for solace from the assault and battery of the eight reedy voices jostling and clamouring for attention like a flock of hungry wildfowl, and the relief which accompanies the eventual fade into muted, blissful rounds of far more pacific fluting and suble, near-silent fingering is truly blessed.

-Richard Fontenoy-

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