Orchestra Nazionale della Luna There’s Still Life on Earth

BMCCD288 2020

Facing what our world is becoming, the four members of the Finnish-French-Belgian Orchestra Nazionale Della Luna felt that their music had to join the global appeal for deeper consciousness and more urgent action. There Is Still Life On Earth – published by BMC Records – presents an exciting fusion of traditional and futuristic instruments, Middle Eastern and Western scales, Arabic rhythms and swing, bansuri and Moog synthesizers, illustrating that mankind has reached a turning point. Their contrasting sound paintings are outlined in one moment by the crystal clear sea and weightlessness, in the other, melting ice sheets and desertification.


Manuel Hermia – saxophone, flute, bansuri
Kari Ikonen – piano, moog
Sébastien Boisseau – double bass
Teun Verbruggen – drums

About the album

Compositions by Kari Ikonen (1-3, 6, 9, 11, 12), Manuel Hermia (4, 7, 8, 10), and Kari Ikonen & Manuel Hermia (5)
Recorded by Viktor Szabó at BMC Studio, Budapest on 19-20 June, 2019
Mixed and mastered by Viktor Szabó
Artwork: László Huszár / Greenroom
Project coordinator: György Wallner
Artwork: László Huszár / Greenroom 

Produced by László Gőz
Label manager: Tamás Bognár


Peter Slavid - londonjazznews.com (en)

Olivier Sauveur - maisondujazz.be (M. Hermia interview) (fr)

Stuart Nicholson - Jazzwise (en)

George W. Harris - jazzweekly.com (en)

Claude Loxhay - jazzaroundmag.com (fr)

Claude Loxhay - jazzhalo.be (fr)

Nicolas Dourlhès - CitizenJazz (fr)

Guy Sitruk-Dolphy - Jazz à Paris (fr)

bak - Concerto **** (de)

Wolfgang Giese - musikansich.de (de)

Georges Tonla Briquet - jazzhalo.be (M. Hermia interview) (nl)

Jordi De Beule - jazzandmo.be (nl)

Georges Tonla Briquet - jazzenzo.nl (nl)

Jean-Claude Vantroyen - Le Soir (nl)

Herman te Loo - JazzFlits (nl)

Pentti Ronkanen - SuomiJazz.com (5 stars) (fi)

Harri Uusitorppa - Helsingin Sanomat (pdf) (fi)

Juha Seitz - Ilkka-Pohjalainen **** (pdf) (fi)

Matti Komulainen - Turun Sanomat (fi)

Jyri Ojala - Keskisuomalainen **** (fi)

Jan Granlie - salt-peanuts.eu (no)

Robert Ratajczak - LongPlay (pl)

Dionizy Piątkowski - jazz.pl (pl)

Patrick Španko - skjazz.sk ****1/2 (sk)

Olasz Sándor - Riff.hu (hu)

Dr. Nagy Sándor - JazzMa (hu)

Komlós József JR - Alföldi Régió Magazin (hu)

3500 HUF 11 EUR

Orchestra Nazionale della Luna: There’s Still Life on Earth

1 There’s Still Life on Earth 0:44
2 Kääpikkäät 6:53
3 Al Bahr 6:13
4 Ecocracy 6:00
5 Melting Poles 3:54
6 Myrkkysienikeitto 6:11
7 Internal Duality 3:37
8 Al Qamar 8:49
9 Prophètes 11:00
10 Out of Gravity 5:31
11 Cannon Canon 3:37
12 There’s Still Life on Earth 1:49
Total time 60:07

The album is available in digital form at our retail partners

Facing what our world is becoming, the four members of Orchestra Nazionale della Luna felt a common desire to put their music into a dynamic relationship with the outlook for the future, and give it some clear meaning, leading to a musical adventure which is also a contribution to the global appeal for deeper consciousness and more urgent action.
The opening and closing track There’s Still Life on Earth is actually a miniature song, with Kari Ikonen’s lyrics: “There’s still some life on earth, no need to be sad, all is fine.”
That reflects people’s attitude towards the ongoing ecological crisis on Earth – we all know that we should act radically, and right now, but we don’t want to worry, or change anything in our lives, as long as there’s some life left, as long we can’t see the catastrophe in our own backyard. That attitude has to change!
Kääpikkäät is one of Kari Ikonen’s rhythmic inventions. With time signatures that didn’t exist before, it was not the easiest piece to play at first sight, but eventually it swings in a very special irregular way. Neither did the word Kääpikkäät exist before.
Al Bahr is Kari’s first composition for the device maqiano, his new invention allowing him to play the Arabic maqamat on grand piano. The title means “the sea” in Arabic, referring to the Mediterranean, which has always been of great importance for connecting Europe to the Arabic world, and which now, in these crazy times, has also become the grave for far too many refugees.
This piece written by Manuel Hermia talks about changing. Three melodies, never really played the same way from one time to the next. We have to learn to change. We have to force ourselves to change our way of thinking, consuming, producing, of understanding life as a whole. Ecology should be the new priority.
Melting Poles
This co-composition depicts the melting of our poles and the infinite sadness of this disaster, which we have generated as human beings. Someone said experience is the sum of our mistakes. Humanity is for sure accumulating a lot of experience in our present time…
Myrkkysienikeitto is a very special kind of soup that, depending on the variety of toadstool it’s made with, gives you either hallucinations or death. To be consumed with caution.
Internal Duality depicts our inner duality between wisdom and blindness, as well as individuals within a species, or as a generation in our own species.
Al Qamar means the moon in Arabic. Both Kari and Manuel are passionate about maqams, the Arabic scales, sometimes containing quarter tones that we both can play with the moog, the bansuri, and now also with the piano thanks to the maqiano Kari invented. Those Arabic influences definitely enrich our range of colors.
If we continue to burn our forests and use intensive agriculture, the desertification of our planet will dramatically increase… Who knows, our planet might one day look like the moon, seen from there…
Prophètes was originally written as a duet for clarinet and Moog synthesizer, and performed on Kari’s album Ikonostasis with maestro Louis Sclavis. Here we have an acoustic version of the same composition.
Out of Gravity
This piece is built on a melodico-harmonic system called rajazz, created by Manuel Hermia. Rajazz 25 to be precise. The same scale/color is always used, but switching from one tonality to another, without the feeling of a harmonic center, which creates this feeling of floating in the atmosphere, beyond the reach of any gravity.
Cannon Canon is two different canons put together, separated by a cannon shot. In the first part three instruments play the same melody in different positions, an eighth-note apart from each other. The second part is a prolation canon, where the same melody is played in three different speeds and positions... and the uppermost part has three variations.
Manuel Hermia and Kari Ikonen

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