Once in a blue moon a prophet comes along. Most musical visionairies seem to have fallen out of time, some of them even out of space. Whether they appear as cosmic messengers transmitting the knowledge of a distant future or as descendants of old tribes handing down ancient wisdom, many moons have to pass until their oracular qualities become fully evident.
Moondog and Sun Ra are such enigmatic figures. Though by far not as prominent and eccentric as these two, Ariel Kalma is a musical prophet in his own right. From the early seventies onward, the Parisian composer anticipated sounds which would later re-emerge in the New Age movement. The increasing interest in his obscure output slowly brings to surface his comprehensive work. More...
Some of the most organic electronics we've ever heard – all material pulled from the private archives of Ariel Kalma, and issued here for the first time ever! Kalma's a hell of a compelling artist – one who had both ties to the more serious world of European electronic composition in the 70s, as well as a trippier, more spiritual underground – both of which seem to factor strongly into the sounds in this set! At some level, the music is very meditative, but it's hardly new age at all – as Ariel's got a very sophisticated approach to the way he blends sounds and space – often using keyboards with reverb and echo, in minimal territory that echoes Terry Riley or La Mont Young, but which has a much more personal vibe. The range of expressions here is really great – and far more than that minimalist reference might imply – and titles include "Almora Sunrise", "Echorgan", "Sunset Inside", "Rainy Day", "Sister Echo", "Enuej Elleiv", "Les Mots De Tous Le Jours", and "Les Etoiles Sont Allumees".
-> Review on Bandcamp by Dublab, Future Radio, Los Angeles
Ariel Kalma’s belief in the limitless potential of music connectivity alongside his virtuosic poly-instrument and synthesis skills allowed him to produce a nearly private universe of open-eyed wonder in earshot of the great ‘70s minimalist masterminds. An Evolutionary Music (Original Recordings: 1972 – 1979) collects Kalma’s unheard endeavors in ecstatic form, leaving no turn on his illuminated path uncharted.
-> Review on Bandcamp by John Cratchley
A true polymath and a "world" musician before we all knew what that (now discredited) term meant!
His influences are truly eclectic but he managed (and still manages) to somehow blend them all into a coherent whole. This album is obviously retrospective but the music stands the test of time, I think, and doesn't feel dated (at least not in spirit...I expect instrumentation has changed a lot in the interim)... a testament to his foresight, then (or his karma).
-> Il forum di ondarock (Italian)
Compositore parigino tra i più vicini a Pierre Henry, impara fin da giovanissimo a suonare il sassofono, il flauto e tantissimi altri strumenti a fiato, oltre alle più svariate tecniche di registrazione.
-> freq.org.uk by Michael Rodham-Heaps
Ariel Kalma first came to my attention after snagging myself up his 0smose re-issue some years back, a startling re-imagining of ambient music from 1978 centred round the rainforest sounds of Borneo, a strung-out beauty well ahead of its time, and a revelation I was happy to hear more of. Now fast forwarding to 2014, the New York RVNG INTL. label have just unearthed a perfect prescription to enhance those otherworldly vibes, a 17 track, two disc epic that glimpses into the Kalma soundscaping of the Seventies. A document that attempts to throw light on his Kalian approach to the notion of ambient, his desire to suspend your disbelief or extend it on the tensile drop of rain from a leaf’s tip or the fluxing contours of cloud-gathering skies.
It’s a sedate affair as you would imagine, the tramlined contours and jetting streaks of “Almora Sunrise” so thick with insect life you can almost feel the warmth of the rising sun around them. The subterranean minimalisms of “Rainy Day” and its hazy saxophonic auras savannah-stretched like a leisured cat. The zero gravities of “Les Étoiles Sont Allumées” and its Laika-like float of bewitched cosmonautics wound round Kalma’s word weaves. A near-perfect nailing of tranquillity considering the primitive tools he was dabbling with, even the tidal samples which the preceding decades have reduced to a boring cliché here seem to gleam with fresh life, its sand-sucking toll paired with the pattering betweens of prayer wheels on “Voltage Controlled Wave” or “Yogini Breath”‘s temple shells trapped in its gentle whip. A lapping that mysteriously belays a Tangerine Dreamed peppering, leaping white with soft-coloured vocal harmonies and sweeping paper planes. More ...
-> seaoftranquility.org by Ryan Sparks
An Evolutionary Music compiles two discs of unreleased, archived music from the multi-textured, chameleonic universe of Ariel Kalma. The archive installment series from Brooklyn based label RVNG Intl has created the perfect outlet to bring Kalma's eclectic and unique sounds to the forefront where they belong.
Born in France, Kalma is the true definition what it means to be a "world citizen", as his travels have taken him to places all over our planet, since he first began honing his musical craft at the famed INA GRM studios in Paris in the early 70's. If you're familiar with his vast body of work, you're probably keenly aware that not only does his music blur the lines of ambient and electronic music, but also that it stretches outside of the physical realm and possesses spiritual qualities that probe the cosmos and tap into the hypnotic capabilities of the mind. If you haven't experienced the later, than hopefully one listen to this fantastic compilation should change your mind or at least bring you to more of an awareness of what it means to experience an artist who has stuck to his vision and belief that spirit and music are one in the same.
The twenty one compositions offered here are compiled from Kalma's privately pressed records and limited cassette tape releases, that highlight his love of the natural sounds of field recordings, looped sax and modal flute melodies, coupled with ambient electronic and world music elements. Although at times the source recordings may come across as sounding a bit spotty, it is the spirit of the music and the time and place in which it was created that is what is really important here. Any source limitations are quickly forgotten and eclipsed by the truly magical, thought provoking and hypnotic performances captured on these recordings. Ariel Kalma has always been a pioneer and these recordings are a testament to that.
As with their previous releases in this archive series RVNG have once again done a fantastic job with the packaging on the physical edition. The double disc CD version comes housed in a sleekly designed slip case and the booklet contains not only some great B&W photos, but the liner notes reveal a plethora of information that not only provides insight into his recording techniques, but also offer up a concise overview of his career as well.
-> Expose, Exploring the Boundaries of Rock - by Jon Davis - Ariel Kalma — An Evolutionary Music (Original Recordings: 1972 – 1979)
Ariel Kalma is a figure of contrasts: a restless spirit in search of calm, a student of tradition prone to tinkering with technology, a deep-space traveler rooted in earthly environments. These contrasts are on display in this collection of recordings from the 70s, only one of which has appeared on public release before.
Some of Kalma's early experiments with loops of magnetic tape strung between to reel-to-reel recorders are presented, along with experiments involving the earliest drum machines, field recordings, and all manner of commercial and self-devised electronic gadgets. When instruments are involved, they are generally woodwinds — saxes and various kinds of flute — or keyboards, sometimes percussion or voices.
Given the nature of these recordings, details are sparse as to where and when each track was laid down. There are times when it seems there are collaborators present, but even on his own, Kalma is quite a broad talent. Many of the pieces involve drones topped by a wide variety of compositional and improvisational techniques, sometimes involving brief phrases interlocking like something Philip Glass might write, sometimes involving meditative explorations on flute or sax, sometimes featuring the sounds of insects or birds.
The liner notes detail Kalma's travels around the world, and how his musical journey parallels his wanderings. He is a singular entity in the evolution of world, ambient, and experimental music, and this collection does much to fill in gaps of his contributions. And it even holds together as a listening experience in its own right. Recommended for cosmic travelers everywhere.
-> slog.thestranger.com by Dave Segal - The Track of the Day Is Ariel Kalma's "Ecstasy Musical Mind Yoga" - Listen on YouTube
Well, 2014 was loaded with amazing reissues, particularly of thecosmic/ambient bent: Brian Eno's The Shutov Assembly, Z's (aka Bernard Szajner's) Visions of Dune, Emerald Web's Whispered Visions, and Joel Vandroogenbroeck's two volumes of Meditations and Biomechanoïd, among many others. But the most revelatory archival release in this vein may have been Ariel Kalma's An Evolutionary Music (Original Recordings: 1972-1979) (RVNG Intl.).
A French native who made the most of his wanderlust in terms of accruing musical knowledge, Kalma created several albums of spiritual, blissful ambient and astral jazz that, at their best, sound like an ideal fusion of Terry Riley and Don Cherry's most hallowed works. "Ecstasy Musical Mind Yoga"—off An Evolutionary Music—represents a pinnacle of Kalma's deep-breath radiance, exalted melisma, and peace-mongering tonal feng shui. This track accomplishes the nearly impossible: It transports you to a holy place in an irredeemably profane, fallen world.
-> thefourohfive.com - Watch director Matthew McGuigan's fantastic documentary on experimental musician Ariel Kalma
One of experimental music's most noteworthy forerunners, Ariel Kalma, has been the recent subject of director Matthew McGuigan. Shortly after Kalma re-distributed much of his long-sought work from the '70s - An Evolutionary Music (Original Recordings 1972-1979) - McGuigan brought out his lengthy piece on the Paris-born marvel, taking a look at his all-world inspirations and impossible vision.
Kalma's career, while seeing a momentary resurgence, is remarkably undiscovered. McGuigan's task to indulge in upwards of four decades worth of iconoclastic movements is relatively impossible, but for his credit he allows Kalma to speak for himself roughly the entire time.
For the curious and music snob alike, Kalma's impassioned and impressive work is so furiously dense that any documentary won't die it justice in its entirety. But McGuigan does bring a fantastic re-introduction for him.
... one thing is for certain this is a must see documentary about Ariel Kalma entitled ‘an evolutionary music’. Billed as a day in the life of Ariel Kalma it portrays the legendary musician talking about music and what it means to him, his early experiences in the 70’s, the factors that have shaped his unique style and musical tongue – in this case Indian music and its transcendental qualities along with the use of field recordings of nature’s songs (birds etc…..) – a very rare treat – should you need reference points with which to start your journey into Ariel’s musical world so lazily described as world music yet in truth it’s the joining of the great divide between the ancient East and the modernist West being crafted into something bordering on spiritual at times then we suggest making your way towards his extraordinary ‘les temps des moissons’ which found the subject of a limited re-issue.
-> thequietus.com - Into The Wilderness: An Interview With Ariel Kalma
With an archive release of his music out last month on RVNG, the Paris-born musician talks to Russell Cuzner about his label Music Mosaic, music therapy and his transglobal experiments in sound.
An Evolutionary Music is a beautiful, beguiling volume of timeless pieces that resound from a solitary path emerging just beyond the crossroads of free jazz, psychedelic rock, West Coast minimalism and European electro-acoustic composition. Indeed, many of its tracks are hypnotic enough to induce states outside time with their combination of looping saxophones, spiralling electronic rhythms and mesmeric synth lines. For many (myself included), this release, which covers original recordings made between 1972 and 1979, will be a first encounter with Ariel Kalma's rich blends and bold experimentations - perhaps a symptom of his defiantly individualistic attitude that so informs his unique sound. As he reveals in the informative booklet accompanying the release:
"as was my motto at the time, 'Why earn a living when we already live?' I would not compromise to the expectations of music busy-ness. As I resisted learning to read and write music, I remained autonomous in order to express my own sound as it came from inside. I love the freedom to go anywhere. With no expectations, we have no disappointments." More ....
-> KCRW Music Blog by Mario Cotto - Ariel Kalma’s Harmonic Waves of Evolutionary Music
An enigmatic musician who has played everything from pop to prog rock to free jazz and everything in between, multi-instrumentalist Ariel Kalma‘s work is for the most part unknown, as he produced and released most of it via his own private press Astral Muse imprint throughout the 70s.
Kalma’s work defies definition as it is rooted in and has hints of world and jazz, but it actually is mostly meditative music. More ....
-> tinymixtapes.com by Ross Devlin
What Ariel Kalma learned from spending hours preparing a piano, only to watch an “amazing piano player” smash the thing like orange juice would come out: “Crazy people can do crazy things, and have a career out it.” More ....
-> Pitchfork.com by Andy Beta, Nov 2014
Tracing the trajectory of French-born musician Ariel Kalma does not yield a straight path. Which makes sense for an artist prone to world travels and crafting a strain of music that acts as a peregrination through numerous musical forms of the late 20th century: free jazz, progressive rock, drone, tape-loop based minimalism, electroacoustic composition, field recordings, new age meditations, and more. His name crops up as a sideman for the likes of bossa nova guitarist Baden Powell, Belgian pop crooner Salvatore Adamo, and prog rock guitarist Richard Pinhas, while his own recorded works are ludicrously rare, released in small batches that now fetch astronomical sums online. Saying that Ariel Kalma is underappreciated isn’t quite right in that most of his work remains unheard. More ....
-> The 405 by Nichloas Glover, Nov 2014
The bones and sinew of Kalma's '70s output feel pleasingly familiar today, at least to those raised listening to the more scratchy, sound field-sampling house, hip-hop and ambient electronica. The French-born 'multiversalist' certainly wasn't the first to employ tape looping and drone, but he did originate his own heady mix of Orientalist self-annihilation, combining these elements with Stone Age synthesised drums and live percussion - comfortable touchstones for listeners of Terry Riley, Parmegiani and his ilk. More ....
-> derstandard.at by Christian Schachinger, Nov 2014 (German)
Ariel Kalma ist außerhalb von New-Age-Kreisen kaum bekannt. Mit "An Evolutionary Music" sollte sich das ändern. More ....
-> Factmag.com by Joe Muggs, Oct 2014
RVNG Intl. have also delivered a nice one-two. As well as the Bing & Ruth, they’ve dug up something very interesting for their Archival Series. An Evolutionary Music (Original Recordings 1972-1979) by Ariel Kalma (who they describe as a “multiversal artist”) is, frankly, a revelation.
Given references to ‘Ecstasy Musical Mind Yoga’, ‘Sunset Inside’, ‘Yogini Breath’ and so forth, you might think that this is just another blissed-out new age kook. And there is plenty of that in here: the 20 minutes of ‘Yogini Breath’ will give you all the zero gravity sinewave glissandi and overtone-singing angelic voices welcoming you through the gates of enlightenment you could ever wish for.
But Parisian-born Kalma is a very hardcore musician, having studied with the electro-acoustic gods of the Group de Recherches Musicales, jammed with Don Cherry and Richard Pinhas and hung with the Arica collective, whose creative philosophies directly inspired Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain.
So yeah: not just some vapidly-beaming hippy, and his music has a lot more to offer than an aural Radox bath. This stuff really is magic, and the collection manages to float alongside the very best of Terry Riley, Cluster, White Noise and a whole lot more, as well as coming uncannily close to the unique world of Arthur Russell in the utterly delightful ‘Sister Echo’.
-> Lux resonare, radio station in Santa Fe, USA (Spanish)
Rastreando la trayectoria del músico nacido en Francia, Ariel Kalma no cede un camino recto. Lo cual tiene sentido para un artista propenso a los viajes mundiales y a la elaboración de una cepa de la música, que actúa como una peregrinación a través de numerosas formas musicales de finales del siglo 20: el free jazz, rock progresivo, drone, minimalismo basado cinta de lazo, composición electroacústica, grabaciones de campo , nuevas meditaciones de edad, y más. Su nombre surge como acompañante para los gustos de la bossa nova guitarrista Baden Powell, el cantante pop belga Salvatore Adamo, y el guitarrista de rock progresivo Richard Pinhas, ... lanzado en pequeños lotes que ahora recuperan sumas astronómicas en línea. Decir que Ariel Kalma es poco apreciada no está del todo bien en que la mayor parte de su obra permanece inédita.