Eva-Maria Houben + John Hudak – Paloma Wind (LINE, 2024)

Musik | LINE (

Joshua Minsoo Kim:

„Paloma Wind is one of the year’s most mystifying albums […] What immediately stands out about Paloma Wind is that it feels like a decidedly different sort of album than the ones that either artist typically makes. […] There’s a sort of magic to the way the chimes ring out, and you feel how weighty it is when the album fades to silence and you contend with the sounds in your own immediate surroundings.“


Boomkat Product Review:

Spellbinding, spectral elisions of percussion and field recordings by veteran minimalists Houben & Hudak make a sterling new addition to Richard Chartier’s label, Line. 

“This piece concentrates on the act of listening and on the process of a gradual emergence of a “we” (including both composers and listeners), which is based on the longings for a free and unlimited listening experience allowing various kinds of associations, visions and day-dreams. The two composers in co-operation are listeners—and the listeners will become composers while listening. Therefore, the composers do not try to describe in a detailed way the origin of the basic sounds and the work of converting sounds. A precise description would not allow people to imagine freely for themselves.

The composers focus on the development of a community of listeners and on the quality of the material. The piece sounds out the aesthetic potential of the sounds and attempts to sensitize the ear of the listener to the acoustic possibilities. The aim is to support inner and outer listening. Following this path to free listening, sonic material and musical material melt. In our listening, we may find mixtures of various sounds belonging to different social, cultural, musical, sonic environments. All kinds of objects are suitable to widen our sensitivity.”


Eva-Maria Houben – finding some stuff  (Sawyer Spaces, 2024)

Matthew Blackwell

As a member of experimental group the Wandelweiser collective, composer and organist Eva-Maria Houben flirts with silence, letting long tones fade away into, or small spectral sounds arise from, a static hum. “Music may exist ‘between’: between appearance and disappearance, between sound and silence, as something ‘nearly nothing,’” Houben is quoted in The New Yorker. In a long and prolific career, she has explored this idea with a range of instruments, ensembles, choirs, and orchestras. On finding some stuff, she continues her investigations with, well, stuff she has found: bits of metal and wood from old machines discovered in Bretagne, France. Nature sounds from Greece, The Netherlands, and Germany form the background of the piece, and organ tones drone over top. Each layer of the composition unfolds gradually, slowly revealing new depths in barely perceptible shifts. This creates a calm, contemplative atmosphere in which even the most mundane sounds (crows cawing, sirens in the distance) become major events. As with the best Wandelweiser pieces, finding some stuff can easily slip out of awareness, but it can just as easily return to dazzle with moments of rare beauty.