Aurogeny (Infrequent Seams)
Released at the very end of 2023, new album Aurogeny from Berlin-based American Ben Richter spans two and a half hours and is as epic in scope as that length implies. Richter’s compositions are often performed by Ghost Ensemble, in which he’s director and accordionist; Aurogeny, released under his own name, comprises a disc of solo recordings and one where he’s joined by the Koan Quartet and a larger grouping, The Orogenies.
You’ll have to majorly appreciate the sound of the accordion, and its powers of deep, sustained drone – think Pauline Oliveros, who Richter studied under – to get the most out of the solo set. For my money, it’s some of the most powerful experimental music of the last 12 months or more, 74 minutes of dramatic, sweeping tonality that nods to and builds on pioneers like Tony Conrad and La Monte Young. Aurogeny the track sees this aesthetic adapted for cello, viola and two violins, before subsequent pieces introduce a horn section and sparse, jazz-adjacent percussion and piano; Aurogeny is then reprised, played this time by an octet and a concluding triumph in sawing suspense.
words NOEL GARDNER