The new direction

This is what blumlein records is all about now…

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blumlein CD-A013 – Breath, Strings & Proximity

On Saturday, the 26th of April, Christine Abdelnour and Sharif Sehnaoui performed as a duo for the first time in ten years at what turned out to be one of the highlights of the blurred edges 2008, the 3d instance of Hamburg’s independent contemporary music festival. The air flowing through the Christine’s saxophone and the sounds Sharif coaxed out of the strings of his guitar wove a magnificent sonic tapestry, sometimes delicately merging, sometimes clashing to flow back to the common ground – a hypnotic groove…
Recorded puristically at Hamburg’s “Westwerk” in ORTF configuration with two high-res Oktava mk012 microphones tuned by United Minorities. Mic-pres & AD: Metric Halo ULN-2. Recorded at 24-96. No compression besides (2d) tube saturation was applied, preserving the original dynamics. This is as pure as it gets 🙂

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blumlein CD-A020 – La Vase / Slikke
Featuring Christine Abdelnour & Sven-Åke Johansson

“La vase” has quite a bad reputation because she reminds people of rot: sometimes she smells bad, other times people are just afraid because she seems bottomless. But if we really look at her, we realize her beauty: she is bright in the sun, has silver colours, and her scent is full of life.
La vase has her own life and her own breath, she is not just mud but a true being. Yes, she is bulky and big, terrible but kind because we can walk on her back. And if you rest on her, you can hear her world, a joyful calm, a seething serenity, a symphony of silence. [SAJ & IT]

Recorded puristically with a central Blumlein pair (2 x United Minorities UM-1), one spot (Earthworks QTC-1) inside a large cardboard box to the right and one spot (DPA 4060) underneath the central cardboard Hi-Hat. All four time-aligned tracks go straight into a Metric Halo ULN-8 at 24 bit & 192 kHz. Samplerate-conversion of the realtime-bounce to 44.1 kHz with the iZotope SRC, dither to 16 bit with Airwindows’ Ditherbox (Vinyl setting).

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Vinyl-afficionados can purchase the LP here.


blumlein CD-A022 – Quatuor Brac Live | at Les Instants Chavirés, Paris, March 03 2011

This release features the single set played by Quatuor Brac–Tiziana Bertoncini (Violin), Vincent Royer (Viola), Martine Altenburger (Cello) and Benoit Cancoin (String Bass)–at one of the premier locations for improvised music: Les Instants Chavirés in Paris. An intense atmosphere gave birth to a magnificent sonic exploration of simplicity and complexity, density, colours and textures. This is an evening to be remembered and enjoyed many times!
The performance was captured with a close Ambisonic setup (Core Audio TetraMic) and a more traditional ORTF pair (two United Minorities tuned Oktava mk102 cardioids), placed further off, both fed into one of the best microphone-preamps and ADC’s available (Metric Halo ULN-8). The stereo downmix features a careful blend of both time-aligned systems.

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blumlein CD-A024 – Festival OBOE

In 2010 blumlein records documented the 10th instance of the festival OBOE in Paris. Eight concerts at five locations, the Cathédrale Americaine, the subterranean Auditorium de la Cité des Arts, the glass enclosed Conservatoire du Centre at Les Halles, Bateau Daphné on the Seine and the venerable Schola Cantorum.
All performances were recorded puristically with a main stereo setup (usually ORTF), two ambient outriggers and one occasional spot microphone (e.g. for the harpsichord) feeding a ULN-8 by Metric Halo at 24 bit and 88.2 kHz.
Get ready for an exciting voyage atop of and through a sonic tapestry featuring the oboe prominently but not exclusively-and above all enjoy the music!
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blumlein CD-A026 – Quatuor Brac Live | at Hall des Chars, Strasbourg, May 13 2014

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From Percorsi Musicali by Daniel Barbiero: “Considered in the most general terms, the recording is a remarkable realization of a freely improvised timbral counterpoint. By putting lines made of sound color against each other, BRAC succeed in conserving the fundamental formal quality of the string quartet while working with a largely untraditional content. This isn’t to say that more conventional pitches and phrases are absent; members of the quartet play elongated harmonized tones or sequences of tones at various points in the performance. But the main focus remains on the contrasts and similarities of timbral qualities, and the layering and interplay of sounds in determining changes in textural density and saturation.

Although improvised, the set is in effect a real-time composition made up of planes of sound pushing and pulling against each other. Many passages have all four instruments stacked in fully-voiced strata of long duration. Within these events timbral contrasts are brought out in a variety of ways: Long harmonics extend over a thick underlayer of tapping and creaking that gives way to a midrange drone; rough vibrato bowing or whistling gull-like sounds float over a long-held unresolved dissonance; massed siren-like glissandi move upward and downward with and against each other. Just as suddenly these dense, highly saturated events may dissolve into short, sharp episodes made up of widely spaced plucks and percussive strikes.
The nonstandard makeup of the BRAC quartet–consisting in its substitution of a double bass for a second violin–works to the group’s advantage in crafting a sound profile uniquely its own. The double bass is an essential element in leveraging the full spectrum of colors available to a string ensemble, adding, as it does, a noticeable degree of shading to the overall sound. Beyond supplementing the range of an ordinary string quartet, Cancoin’s bass opens space within the ensemble by supplying spare timbral accents under the other players, particularly Royer’s denser viola lines. In fact, in an inversion of the more usual string quartet practice, Royer’s viola often takes the role of lead voice, with Bertoncini and Altenburger creating inner lines of subtle balance.
In May 2014 the quartet toured Metz and Strasbourg, recording material for an anticipated second release. Video excerpts of the two concerts and of a concert recorded the day before in the studios of Radio France give promising evidence of the group’s delving deeper into the possibilities inherent in timbral counterpoint.”


blumlein CD-A030 – Spheres

“Spheres” was recorded March 24-26 2016 at the fortress of Germersheim with a trio featuring Boris Kischkat (guit), Peter Perfido (drums) and Andreas Krennerich (sax). The minimal setup: central Blumlein, one spot each for sax and guitar, three for the percussion and two ambient microphones into a Metric Halo ULN-8 and ULN-2 at 24 Bit 96 kHz we captured the energy and movement going on during introspective exchanges and a small live concert.
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The back-catalog

While these releases do not represent the direction the label has been developing in we are nevertheless proud of our older “children”. Feel free to order them while–in the case of physical media–supplies last! I hope you enjoy them as much as we did creating the recordings!
Please be advised that in the course of ordering any media personal and billing information will be gathered by CD-Baby and PayPal. In the case of physical media we will post the disk(s) as soon as we receive notice of payment received.blumlein CD-A001 – Healing VibrationThe mesmerizing music of the crystal bowls (played by Carlos Michael starts out softly, yet can become very intense while enveloping your entire body. It creates a multi-layered sonic tapestry, frequently interwoven with other sounds: spherical overtone-singing (Miroslav Grosser), at other times a flute (Annie Hilsberg) or monochord, the pulse of a frame- or Udu-drum.

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blumlein CD-A002 – Illuc ascenderunt

“Illuc ascenderunt” presents the most ancient repertoire of the Gregorian chant, dating from the second half of the eight century. The chants of past-Whitsuntide, taken from the liturgy of the christian mass, are interwoven with saxophone-improvisations. Heinrich Rumphorst leads the Berliner Choralschola.
This puristic live-recording (with two omnidirectional microphones in an AB-setup and at a distance of 51.5 cm) was relocated to the cathedral Notre Dame de Chartres for sonic-aesthetic reasons.

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blumlein CD-A003 – Querschnitt / Cross Section

“Querschnitt” presents a cross-selection of the renaissance-based repertoire of Tonikum, the Berlin members of the European Medical Students Choir. Tonikum’s classical and modern theme-concerts, that take place regularly at the pathology-ruins of the Charité and increasingly at other interesting locations, have long become a secret tip in Berlin’s choral scene.

This CD was recorded with two bidirectional microphones in Blumlein-configuration on one evening at a spacious and reverberant stairway of Berlin’s Museum for Natural History.

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blumlein CD-A004 – Orgelmusik für Kinder / Organ music for children

“Orgelmusik für Kinder” tells the story of the organ worm Willibald who was born as a woodworm in the crib of Johann Sebastian Bach, considered by some to be the most important composer of all times, now 320 years ago. Experts consider Willibald to definitely be the most important Organ-worm of all times. You can find more information at www.orgelwurm.de

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blumlein CD-A005 – The Organ of the Sophienkirche Berlin

“How pleasant […] are your dwellings, oh Zebaoth! Hark the word of god!” – This is the greeting which the Sophienkirche calls out to it’s visitors, that have traverse the representative apartment buildings from 1904/05 and approach the baroque church tower. These sentiments – pleasant, representative, baroque – shape the selection of the organ repertoire on this recording.

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blumlein CD-A006 – Jazzmeile St. Georg Live

“Dear friends of the Jazzmeile and of Jazz, we’ve made it! After four years of activity we have produced the first sampler of the “Jazzmeile St. Georg”!
In 2002 I returned to Hamburg from the Paris’ Jazz-scene with a new goal. The impressions from that metropolis, especially the boundless enthusiasm for presenting Jazz in all it’s forms and colours, had left their mark. I had seen club owners succeed in making this music accessible even to their next-door neighbours, grandfathers and students. Hamburg’s local Jazz-scene was integral to it’s cultural profile, but I felt that it definitely could be more varied. […]” (Atussa Haji-Aghalar)

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blumlein CD-A007 – Michael Grube – Live in Berlin

Michael Grube is active and known worldwide as an exceptional soloist and lecturer at masterclasses for violin. “The audience especially appreciates the pervasive harmony, the elegance of his interpretations and the impressive symbiosis of emotional depth and brilliant technique.” (Marina Herbst)
This puristic recording was tracked live at the Annenkirche Berlin-Mitte on September 23d 2005 (with the exception of the last title).

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blumlein CD-A008 – The Trumpeter of St. Michaelis

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blumlein CD-A009 – 12baritones on a winters journey

The ensemble “12baritone” consists of: Ulf Dirk Mädler, Christoph Hülsmann, Marco Bappert, Christian Palm, Nico Müller, Christopher Jung, Clemens Gnad, Thomas Franke, Lars Grünwoldt, Kai Florian Bischoff, Norman D. Patzke and Gero Bublitz, accompanied on the piano by Newena Popow.

Original music by Franz Schubert, texts by Wilhelm Müller. Partially rearranged by Nikolaos Titokis.

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blumlein CD-A010 – 禅

In “Zen”, wavegarden’s debut release, Carlos Michael and LeAnn Eriksson have combined crystal singing bowls and flutes in an entirely new way, inviting us on a meditative journey. The vibrations from the bowls have a deeply relaxing effect on body tissues, and the elegant musical patterns played on the smaller bowls combined with the simple, sometimes raw tones from the flutes have a hypnotic effect on our minds.
These sounds carry us into new dimensions in which anything is possible. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, open your ears, and let go of the past and the future…

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blumlein CD-A011 – Der Dichter spricht / Thus speaks the poet…

Thomas Franke – Baritone
Newena Popow – Piano

This CD presents two wonderful cycles by Robert Schumann: the “Dichterliebe” (Poet’s Love) for voice and piano, and the “Kinderszenen” (Scenes from Childhood) for piano solo.
16 songs with words by the poet Heinrich Heine belong to the composer’s most deeply felt works. Resembling tiny jewels they evoke the kaleidoscope of feelings of the poet in love, like the shimmering of light under the canopy of the woods.
12 scenes from childhood complete the circle with “Der Dichter spricht” (Thus speaks the poet). They are far more than simple tunes, reaching the complexity of a deeply meditative layer of sound.

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blumlein CD-A012 – Die Winterreise

Thomas Franke – Baritone
Newena Popow – Piano

One of the most famous Lied cycles of all times, Franz Schubert’s “Winterreise” (Winter’s Journey) portraits the lonely and aimless wanderings of a man who has lost his love. It is sad, but very beautiful!

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blumlein CD-A014 – Claude Debussy | 24 Préludes pour piano

Jean Cocteau (1926): “Le rappel à l’ordre”

Debussy existed long before Debussy. There was architecture reflected in water. There were ocean waves rushing and abating, branches bent in in slumber, plums tumbling to the ground to bleed golden juice… All of nature murmured but indistinctly, without a human tongue to express it’s flow. A myriad of wonders have now found their interpreter.

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blumlein CD-A015 – Lascia Ch’io Pianga
Featuring Zsuzsa Bereznai, Jan Westendorff and Christian Ruvolo

This session with arias and duets for soprano, baritone and piano, was recorded on November 07 2008 at the chamber music hall of the Musikhochschule Lübeck. The miking was puristic, with a spaced pair (51.5 cm) of omnidirectional microphones custom-built by United Minorities and two spot microphones placed under the piano (DPA 4060). There was no artificial reverb added in post.
Tracked with the outstanding ULN-8 by Metric Halo, bounced in real time with outboard summing, then carefully dithered with the MBIT+ algorithm, the sound is as pure as it gets. Enjoy 🙂

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blumlein CD-A018 – Danish Border
Featuring Peter Ablinger & Sven-Åke Johansson

The opening concert of the blurred edges 2007, the 2nd year of Hamburg’s festival for contemporary music, was recorded live to multitrack by Andrew Levine on March 21st at the Forum Neue Musik, Christianskirche. Tracks 02 and 04 are substituted from the original recordings of “Das Buch der Gesänge, für zwei Lautsprecher” (The Book of Songs, for two Loudspeakers) by Peter Ablinger. Used with kind permission.

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blumlein CD-A021 – Diversions – Autour du hautbois
Featuring music by contemporary composers from New Zealand

“Diversions – All around the oboe” contains a unique blend of chamber music either for or with the oboe as part of the group and was instigated by the French oboist Dominique Enon, dedicatee of several of the works. The CD presents the works of composers that have a close association with New Zealand: all were either born there, have resided there at some time or are presently living there. Additionally all works on the CD were composed after 1999, and while stylistically and aesthetically varied reflect the maturity of each composer’s musical oeuvre.

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The works on the CD were presented together in a concert on March 7th 2010 as part of the 10th Festival Oboe. All of the music on the CD features Marika Lombardi, the Artistic Director of “Festival Oboe”, playing in two separate formations: a duo of oboe and piano with the pianist Debra Takakjian and a quintet with Erika Bliznik (clarinet), Joe Ichinose (viola), Charmian Keay (violin) and Raphael Schwab (double bass), conducted by Nigel Keay, the composer of one of the works.
Besides being in charge of the mix and mastering of the entire album Andrew Levine recorded Nigel Keay’s “Diversions” and the three pieces from Jonathan Besser’s “Ecstasy suite” at the magnificent residence of the ambassador of New Zealand in Paris.


blumlein CD-A023 – Nigel Keay | Music for Small Groups

Music for Small Groups presents five works for various formations by Nigel Keay composed between 1995 and 2009. Nigel, New Zealand-born composer and viola player today lives in Paris, France. He has been composing music for over thirty years writing primarily for orchestral instruments, from small ensembles to larger groups, and often participates as a viola player in performances of his own works.
The various groups on the disc, a duo, three trios, and a quartet were formed through the collaboration of talented young French musicians and European-based New Zealand musicians. This production of the disc was supported by the New Zealand-France Friendship Fund.

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The five works were recorded in Paris between 2nd December 2009 and 7th March 2011 at three different venues; the magnificent residence of the Ambassador of New Zealand to France in Paris, the Atelier de la Main d’Or in Paris & the Maison du Quartier La Plaine in Saint Denis. Besides being in charge of the mix and mastering of the entire album Andrew Levine recorded Nigel Keay’s “Trio for Clarinet, Viola & Piano” and “Terrestrial Mirror for Flute, Viola & Harp.”

Musicians: Erika Bliznik, clarinet | Nigel Keay, viola | Jeffrey Grice, piano | Anastasiya Filippochkina, violin | Gabriel Casalis, cello | Debra Takakjian, piano | Simone Roggen, violin | Cyprien Busolini, viola | Eugene Lee, violin | Charmian Keay, violin | Joe Ichinose, viola | Paolo Vignaroli, flute | Delphine Latil, harp


blumlein CD-A025 – Benoit Cancoin | instants miniscules – solo pour un

“The elaboration of this stratagem has required quite some time of reflection. Playing at my brothers and sisters during what I called “The families’ tour” had been a powerful experience. It made me choose four very important persons in my life as a double bass player and perform at their homes for about fifteen minutes each.” (Benoit Cancoin)

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blumlein CD-A027 – Leben, wie wundervoll | Life, how wonderful!

The songs of Fritz Karschner (1886-1970) were all but forgotten after the 2nd world war. Luckily the composer’s niece did not rest until this collection was released. Enjoy the wonderful performance by Joachim Duske (tenor) and Mari Adachi (piano)!

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blumlein CD-A029 – Kaleidoscope Songs

In the course of four weekends Andrew Levine produced the album by the Hamburg based a cappella ensemble Cantaloop. Recorded puristically with a central Blumlein configuration and four spots within each of the four segments the choir did an amazing job at realising their complex arrangements!
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