“The cybernetic composer does not resort to a preordained program. Instead, he must continuously rebuild his field of action out of a primordial chaos.” (Roland Kayn)
Originally released as a 6-LP box by Colosseum in 1984, and reissued as a quadruple CD by Barooni thirteen years later, Tektra stands as Roland Kayn’s most staggering creation. Now, at long last, it is published in a definitive 5-CD version sourced from the master tapes. Upgraded by Jim O’Rourke’s remastering skills, scrupulously respecting the composer’s vision, the new edition comprises five minutes of previously unheard material and restores the correct track sequence, mistakenly modified in the Barooni set.
The name Tektra derives from the initials of the six movements: Tanar, Etoral, Khyra, Tarego, Rhenit, Amarun. The composer leaves any significance to our personal interpretation. The stirring mass of sound is essentially shapeless, its dynamics in frequent metamorphosis. By the way of loudness, the speakers want to break open, barely accommodating the electroacoustic currents generated by Kayn’s devices.
Tektra is wholeness and nothingness, ultimate fullness and absolute void. It may transfer breathtaking emotions, or disconcert to a point of rational standstill. It leads across unknown depths, radically altering the postulation of commonly intended “music”. It’s a fundamental chapter in the evolution of listening, amplifying the perception of otherwise invisible realities inside a multidimensional aural perspective. Given its non-intellectual complexity, it’s not surprising that this masterpiece remained undiscovered for so many years.
“Tanar” engages the extracorporeal channels via an interpenetration of obscure clouds, cyclical noises and subsurface meanings. A tenuous hissing of spiritual union connects unlabeled “acoustichemical” constituents. What once was “harmony” becomes a fluorescent liquid carrying the shades of a contaminated solar spectrum. That torrent of fluctuating tonalities suggests the uncomfortable pathway to a perturbed stasis.
“To the question of whether my music tended more towards so-called tonality or towards atonality, my answer was always “totality”, that is, the applicability of all acoustic and physical means to the maximal extent.” (Roland Kayn)
The transition from mere abstraction to boundless immensity finds an extraordinary symbolization in “Etoral”, its excruciating profundity impossible to render in words. Choral overtones and drifting glorioles keep orbiting around one’s innermost core. We outstretch our quintessence in a vain attempt to join a moving communion of elusive creatures. There’s no benefit to enjoy, if not by offering our dwindling self to the music. When everything’s over we return to utter solitude, incapable of retransmitting messages snatched from the jaws of oblivion.
The outset of “Khyra” introduces a transfigured timbral cast. Vocal eidola to metalloid emanations, dissolving strings to radical synthesis. A reciprocal chase of power and ecstasy, amplified by swift dynamic changes and tonal impermanence, the unhurried oscillation that seems to represent the anima mundi in Kayn’s oeuvre. The unclassifiable electroacoustic organism reacts similarly to a body undergoing severe testing, while its firm mind pursues ataraxy. The vital wires are in tension, repeatedly stressed by the “acousmatic spirits”. Ineffable vocal forms inhabit the mutability of hallucinatory string sections. Multicoloured flashes inform our system of intuition. Supernatural visions emerge with increasing intensity, then simply evaporate. The metaphysical consequences are huge, the inexplicable beauty of this music unparalleled.
In the final part, chaos and indeterminacy reaffirm their worth in an establishment regulated by a superior intelligence. Vortexes of disfigured bodies, geometries and meanings may throw the hypersensitive into mild anxiety. However, the materialization of archaic orchestral designs embedded in an unforeseeable future prompts awareness to regain its authority. The breathing slows down, managing both the unexpected and the residual echoes from the past. In conclusion, sounds may disappear gradually like a setting sun, or as quickly as shooting stars. We have witnessed prodigious phenomena, but remain frustrated by the impossibility of learning more.
“The chain of reflections regulates the relationship of the subject to the object, up to what appears to be an intersection of the two. Under appropriate conditions, however, it transpires that this apparent intersection is not a fixed point, and a phenomenon occurs in which, the closer the two approach each other, the further apart they become.” (Roland Kayn)
“Tarego” begins with the system getting closer to overload, unremitting exhalations troubling peace for a while. Dynamic discrepancy and repetitiveness turn the cybernetic apparatus into an imposing “minimalist” structure, facilitating our resistance to the pain of human cluelessness.
The second part is quieter if still intense, conveying a charged composure. Hundreds of underground streams join a river of transcendence, concreteness apparently handy yet escaping from our virtual fingers like a liquid from a clenched fist.
The third section represents one of the cardinal moments in Kayn’s self-regulating science. It implies perfectly developed processes that never reveal the mystery of their genesis, known only to their engenderer. The extreme spheres of our feelings are upraised by awesome cosmic glissandos. The psychophysical balance is restored, the tissue of emotional control regenerated.
The next stage in our ascension is “Rhenit”. The aggregate of preceding events is synthesized in a “spurious purification” – or an apparent liberation, if you will. A drifting sonic composite shuts the door to the external world, revealing a formula for disconnecting the brain once and for all. The body floats at unprecedented altitudes, never challenging the flux. Beyond the sound, the imaginary figuration of a divergent universe is disclosed. One feels like attempting to stare at the sun, but the light of “Rhenit” cures blindness.
“Amarun”, consisting of a pair of sections – the second divided into two further units – starts in precarious stillness. The vocal mirage is preponderant, surrounded by diversified sonorities possibly originating from strings or brass. As always, this is pure speculation: the befogged frequencies render the picture unclear. The timeless journey continues, the limited physical space on disc notwithstanding. And yet, across a dazzling sequence of realities too remote for interpretation we have probed just a tiny chunk of eternity. Even so, the conceptual dissolution is still replete with information.
The dramatic intensity at the start of “Amarun II” builds the foundation of some of Kayn’s future works, the Electronic Symphonies among them. It also predates by many years an abundance of replicas by musicians who barely scratch the surface, whereas Kayn’s fingerprint could be detected even in the switches and knobs of his machinery. If the final frames of “Amarun” – and of Tektra as a whole – still show some surprise, even a slight degree of ruthlessness, the lingering sensation is that of waters beginning to settle down. The unconscious remains expectant, without unwarranted illusions. The impassive motion of the cybernetic ensemble cuts every peak, allowing wide vistas at varying altitudes, like a glider pushed by a perpetual wind. Only at the very end does one realize about that increased life force, as we scan the repercussions of an unspeakable radiance on our being. In rigorous silence, until the next phase.
“My music always arose under the aspect of innovation, a kind of pure research: music as freedom of the individual.” (Roland Kayn)