This anniversarial and celebratory reissue on DAIS marks the fortieth year since the original release of Sand by Ragnar Grippe. A seminal debut that continues to be lauded by connoisseurs of minimalistic sonic expressionism. Born of the 1970’s sound/art zeitgeist and the collaborative experimentation of the musique concrète school. These two side length tracks took inspiration from paintings of Viswanadhan Velu, as featured on the cover. The compositions are a vintage which has aged well and in maturity, remain avant garde.
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- Sand by Ragnar Grippe
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I was still hanging out in Bardo, waiting for my parent's cells to come together and give me a body when this came out on the legendary Shandar imprint back in 1977. Shandar was home to the likes of Terry Riley, Albert Ayler, Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, La Monte Young, Stockhausen, Steve Reich etc. This is one of the more obscure gems in their visionary catalogue - the first album from Swedish composer and electronic music pioneer Ragnar Grippe. Sonically, ‘Sand’ really stands out amongst the free jazz, fire music and early minimalism on the label as being singular. You'd be looking at around £130 to bag an OG copy of this, and the first pressing of this reissue, unsurprisingly vanished ultra quickly.
Over two side-long two parts, intricate, clockwork like percussion twinkles, flutters and echoes like falling grains of sand. The first ten minutes or so something like a playful, minimal jam between Basic Channel, Porter Ricks and Dopplereffekt. It could almost pass for long lost Chain Reaction record. As it reduces towards the later half, it shows its age a wee bit, but still sounds pretty sweet.
Part two begins luxuriously dreamy, building into an almost Manuel Göttsching / Berlin school, flavoured melody which plays over the delicate percussion. It’s very hypnotic and easy on the ears until the last part which gets a bit more zoned and eerie. Apparently composed to be played at a Sand painting exhibition - I can well imagine it soundtracking a chemistry or physics documentary with visuals of dancing particles.
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