Album review: Ramon Humet, Niwa: Chamber Works (Neu)


One of the early releases from this contemporary music label dedicated to surround-sound recordings, Niwa features the London Sinfonietta playing chamber works by Ramon Humet, a Catalan composer with a Japanese influence. The percussion suite "Four Zen Gardens" features bell and bamboo timbres in perfect equilibrium, sustaining the poise suggested by the title, while modulating from Yamash'ta-esque industry to resonant high-register tones. "Garden of Haikus" offers 10 short movements picked out in cryptic collusions, while the three sections of "Petals" represent individual lines from a Bankoku haiku performed by violin, cello and piano with a sombre grace. Exquisitely simple, but endlessly deep.

Download: Four Zen Gardens; Garden of Haikus; Petals