On Friday, the Holland Festival presents the world premiere of the ‘wordless opera’ TIME by ‘associate artist’ Ryuichi Sakamoto, who cannot be in Amsterdam due to illness. As a prelude, the young Georgian maker Alexandre Kordzaia, alias Kordz, paid tribute together with Asko|Schönberg. Kordz is a big Sakamoto fan and was given a license to play with his music, especially the early electronic work, such as the album Thousand knives (1978).
During the making process, Kordz discovered how deeply his musical language was influenced by Sakamoto, he says in a festival conversation with experimental music icon Laurie Anderson. to be seen on YouTube. To further blur the line, Kordz mainly drew on his memories of Sakamoto’s music, without consulting scores or recordings. So the audience was presented with a blend of unclear origin – was that a Sakamoto theme, or did it just look like it?
It turned out to be an interesting approach. Kordz showed himself not an epigon but a soul mate, who used the means of the master: musique concrete-like rustles and murmurs, cheerful melodies, beats that march straight on without much feint. Drummer Joey Marijs turned out to be a beatboxer and David Kweksilber soaked his clarinet in distortion effects for a ripping solo that was reminiscent of fusion guitarist Kazumi Watanabe, with whom Sakamoto worked a lot in the late 1970s.
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In a beautifully lit decor by Boris Acket, Kordz sat behind a grand piano and a synthesizer, with his back to the audience. He used the eleven-piece ensemble as a luxurious sampler, for example for the live sound cloud of taps that started the concert. Very subtly a bass line loomed out of that fog, played around by chirping flute and clarinet, which was then expanded into an infectious groove. The alternation between soundscapes and disco gradually became a bit predictable, but it was the energetic second half of the performance that convinced the most.