View Guillame Baychelier's video of In the Deepest Night
Read Graham Reid's Elsewhere review
Read the Bird Is The Worm review
Read the Free Jazz Collective review
Tania Giannouli (piano)
Paulo Chagas (alto and soprano saxophones, bass and sopranino clarinets, flute, bamboo flute)
"There is no need to play a lot of notes in order to make exciting music – the secret is to choose the right ones. That is what Giannouli and Chagas achieve with Forest Stories, an album of beautiful, impressionistic pieces that allow us to see that musical construction should be made in harmony with silence. The music on this album has great simplicity and clarity, sometimes pastoral, other times energetic, but always harmonious to the ear. I predict that Forest Stories will become a "must have" for fans of contemplative avant-garde."
RAT-D042 (December, 2012)
Step by step (5:45)
All works © Tania Giannouli & Paulo Chagas (2012)
I was lucky enough to live near a forest for a few short periods in my life. Some of the music on this album was inspired by those times: the light, the reflections, the colors, the scents, the moods, the skies - moments that were absorbed then, but that continue to exist even though I am not in that place and time anymore. But what do we really know about Time? I often have the feeling that Time isn't expanding in a linear manner, but that its following its own journey in different directions and dimensions. I believe that trees have a better understanding of Time, and indeed of life itself, than we humans do. They are old, wise and strong, and they know so much about the seasons, about changing yet being the same, about the sun always coming out and shining after a terrible storm, about spring always following winter, about the cycles of birth and death, and that every step is a beginning and an end… and then a new beginning. If we listen to the forest, we may realize that our own microcosmos - our troubles, fears and pain - is but a small part of a far greater Reality… and it is not forever. In the forest, we sense what it means to find our way "home", to trust the life within, and to be nothing more or less than ourselves.
music is a place for encounters
a conjugation of sounds
the power of music resides above all in its
the canopy of music brings together people from the most distant places
REVIEW by José Pessoa
Tania Giannouli is a Greek piano soloist from the Athenaeum Conservatory where she studied the piano and composition. Her current experience includes highly regarded compositions for theatre and film and improvisation. She is a member of “4+1”, “Schema Ensemble” and “Emotone”. Paulo Chagas is a Portuguese multi-instrumentalist (reeds instruments and flutes), teacher and music theorist, that leads and participates in many projects. Chagas has an extensive body of work, with compositions for ballet, opera, theatre, multimedia, orchestra, instrumental and vocal ensembles, electronic and computer music. His most significant work as a theorist spreads light into musical semiotics, music and media philosophy (Wittgenstein) or new media and music technology. Both of them have already performed throughout the world with great success.
In Forest Stories they join forces with great success to create evocative tunes that appeal to our inner senses and aural memories of the forest. Experts in their craft, the duo build and interweave their improvisational utterances with seeming effortless creativity and virtuosity. Each of the eight atmospheric compositions convey a rich sense of harmony, and are usually built around measured tempos and well contained dynamics. The rhythmic patterns are diverse and interesting, and the musicians modulate between modal approaches and free improvisation. This fine recording is highly recommended.
REVIEW by Kornilios Diamantopoulos
Contemplative, esoteric, atmospheric music with elements of 20th century Avant-garde and free-improvisation, Forest Stories conjures magical, sensual images through sounds that cannot be categorized but that have a special, sometimes strange (bizarre) charm. This music has a very individual and personal character, vivid and painterly.
REVIEW by Nuno Lourenço
Listening to this album
I wrote the paragraph above at the request of Rattle, initially for promotional purposes. I was surprised and very proud to later find the quote included within the CD booklet. Now, some months later, and with a copy of the album in my hands, I can only reaffirm my earlier comments – and then some.
Atmospheric and/or improvisational albums such Forest Stories don't usually find their way on to the Proggnosis site, mostly because they tend towards the experimental and the avant-garde. But music as rich, textured and artistic as this deserves to be featured here, particularly as I have had a long and fruitful association with the music of Paulo Chagas (see my reviews on the many other projects by this exquisite player, such as Miosotis, Mispel Bellyful and Zpoluras).
Forest Stories is a musical journey through introspective and atmospheric pastures. The interplay between the two musicians is, in many way, as unexpected as it is unwaveringly empathetic. This alone gives the album a strong personality and quality, but the music is so emotionally and visually evocative that Forest Stories can only be described as a unique and wholly original work.
There are many contemplative passages on Forest Stories, juxtaposed by moments of tension and release that convey a diverse array of feelings and images. It's like wandering through a beautiful forest, aware of its quietness and mysterious aura, at once peaceful and joyful, but also unsettling and subtly threatening. In terms of their musicianship, Tania Giannouli and Pauol Chagas are second to none. Tania's piano provides a strong but delicate emotional platform that gives Paulo full reign to explore a gamut of vibes, moods and feelings with his tremendously avant-garde approach.
Forest Stories is not meant for casual listening. With its emphasis on improvisation and openness, it will most likely be appreciated by those familiar with free-form jazz and contemporary new music. And yet, this music is by no means dry or formal. If you appreciate music as art, and enjoy listening to musicians who are bold enough to express their innermost thoughts and feelings (magical dreams, frightening nightmares), then you should really give this excellent album a chance.
Nuno Lourenço, Proggnosis