Multi-instrumentalist and composer Werner Durand is the latest artist to contribute to REMAIIN’s essay series.
Entitled Disoccidentation, Durand’s essay details his travels to cities such as Paris and Berlin, and his developing interest in traditional instruments from around the world. Accompanying the text is the new track Soft Turbulences, which was recorded on the Pan-Ney – an instrument of his own design. Listen below.
Durand begins his essay by writing about his interest in music from India, Tibet, Iran and Indonesia. “In 1976 I went to live in Paris to study with a French saxophonist whose style seemed to be a perfect symbiosis of Terry Riley, jazz, and Indian music, Ariel Kalma,” he writes. “His teaching method was similar to what I would later encounter with my teachers of Indian music, repeating phrases as if learning a language. I went to study bamboo flute in India in the winter of 1978/79 and after my return decided to move to Berlin, since my Indian teacher told me that his own teacher would be there for a residency.”
He continues to detail his move to Berlin, his involvement with the concert association “Freunde Guter Musik” (Friends of Good Music) and how it influenced his own musical development. “My own musical development proceeded parallel to all of these discoveries and exposures. I had started playing around with tape delays and echo machines from the time I began playing an instrument,” he writes. “My saxophone playing was based on what I had learned on the bamboo flute, playing strictly modally, raga based. By the mid 80s I gradually opened up to other influences inspired by the almost polyphonic styles of Evan Parker, Ned Rothenberg, or Jon Gibson.”
The essay also contains reflections on the past five decades, his work and the categorisation of “world” or “non-Western” music. He continues: “I wonder where they put traditional music from Sardinia, Estonia or wherever else from Europe. And why this is placed in opposition to other music, be it jazz, classical or new music. Too often, when I went to record stores and found these musics in the last corner on the floor, I had to bend down.”