There are sections of this new collection of never heard before works by Catherine Christer Hennix’s ensemble The Deontic Miracle that are amongst the most powerful and exhilarating examples of drone I’ve ever heard. Magnetic, vast unwavering blocks of slowly progressing columns of sound, like huge slow pans over monumental horizons.
The Deontic Miracle was a group composed of Hennix (amplified Renaissance oboe, live electronics, and sine wave generators) alongside her brother Peter Hennix (amplified Renaissance Oboe) and Hans Ingren (amplified sarangi). This double album offers two huge 40 minute + tracks that the trio played live, one mind-expanding night in Stockholm in 1976. Fittingly each piece title comes from Japanese Gaguku, a form of ceremonial classical music, creating endless expansions from rarefied moments.
Music of Auspicious Clouds fills the first disc for 41 exhilarating minutes. However, it doesn’t establish the assumed skyscape as quickly as expected… The opening minutes feel like the first curling rays of sunlight searching across the deep space blue, described in squirreling oboes. Slowly the droning elements emerge around 7 minutes in and the edges slowly solidify. Part laser beam, part buzz saw, but wholly a depiction of scale that dwarfs us humans. But like the huge cathedrals of air borne vapour the title frames, huge banks of material ebb, flow, integrate and dissolve. Solid white bodies of cloud and their edges that peel off into the comforting blue infinite.
Whatever frame the piece creates, 15 minutes in and it’s a stunning thick spine of sound that exists outside whatever grouping of sound generators it’s made from. A soundtrack to the passing of time made hallucinatory, filmic and frankly gorgeous.
The sounds wrap around each other in huge threads – creating a rope of spinning unison, joining dots in the universe. And as the magic washes over you, it’s a jolt again to remember it’s not some carefully layered studio construction but 3 people live on stage concentrating with the intensity of meditating monks. Any wrong footing here, even a tiny deviation would break the spell – but the control and focus is awe inspiring – 3 minds alpha waving on a pinhead.
If huge forms dominate the first piece, then the second grows out of lyrical spirals. Waves of the Blue Sea is the slow camera pan out from an electron microscopic view of a unicellular soul to the windscreen gulf of an ocean. The elements quickly stretch out causing ripples of agitation as the forms elongate. At time the sound has a rough surface texture as frequencies saturate before opening out into huge pools of calm. Imagine Terry Riley’s Poppy Nogood slowly interpolating Jim O’Rourke’s Happy Days for 44 minutes…
Clearly, what Hennix has masterminded here, again highlights her scientific approach to composition, after all, she is also a mathematician and this collection deals in a very pure beauty. The deliberately limited sonic palette zoning in on the microscopic hoops of fire that sound jumps through when, its activated on such a short lease.
Consistently, everything I’ve heard of her work though, forms a controlled blossoming into an incredible deeply emotive, psychedelically hued world. There are touches of the ever-rolling moment, of Indian and middle eastern spirituality, of brains and ears bathed in simple pleasures achieved in complex ways, the micro and macro. A music of pure high. Selections from 100 Models of Hegikan Roku is nothing less than an 85-minute invitation to fly across the porous surface of sound. The view is incredible.
Selections from 100 Models of Hegikan Roku is out now here