Ekstasis was a re-imagining of a solo by long-time Graham dancer Virginie Mécène, conjured from photos and to music (also recomposed) by Ramon Humet reminiscent of John Cage with the sounds of water and rain sticks.
dancelog.nyc. 28 February 2017
Ekstasis is not the first solo to be reimagined through photographs and written descriptions, and there’s no way to prove how faithful to the original Mécène’s version can be, even though she has done extensive research. It is not performed to Lehman Engel’s original score, but to the spare and mystical “Interludis meditatius – VII,” one of the interludes that punctuate the songs that comprise Ramon Humet’s Homenaje a Martha Graham (an inspired choice). What Mécène focused on is the counterbalance between the dancer’s jutting hip and the shoulders that pull the opposite way. Confined to a spotlight, Chien-Pott, slender and lithe, dreamily accentuates this S curve in sculptural ways. You can’t take your eyes off her.
Deborah Jowitt. Arts Journal. 19 February 2017
This lovingly packaged new 2 CD set captures Humet’s shimmering sonic world in demonstration quality sound with the bonus of downloads in HD FLAC Stereo and Surround 5.1. Mario Lucarda’s poem resonates with Zen Buddhist doctrines, and a lineage extends from Martha Graham through her pupil Merce Cunningham to John Cage, whose music embraced change and impermanence. As Mario Lucarda points out, only what changes remains. (…) This outstanding new release by Ramon Humet, Mario Lucarda and Neu Records reminds us that the only truth is change. The classical music industry should take note.
Bob Shingleton. On an Overgrown Path. 31 January 2017
This second release focuses on Ramon Humet (b 1968), who studied at the Barcelona Conservatoire and has latterly been influenced by the sonic and spiritual concerns of the late Jonathan Harvey. This is evident throughout the three works featured here – not least Four Zen Gardens (2008), in which three percussionists pursue a wide-ranging discourse unified by their deftly heterophonic interplay over four main sections linked by three interludes of gently resonating timbres. This fastidiousness is no less to the forefront in Garden of Haikus (2007), whose 10 brief yet continuous movements -each evoking a specific mood – unfold as might a sequence of interconnected Japanese poems. The haiku is the determining element of Petals (2009), whose three lengthy movements transmute Bankoku's text in ways which, for all their indebtness to Oriental practice, constitute a unified as well as evolving conception that is inherently Western both in its formal and expressive concerns.
Richard Whitehouse. Gramophone. January 2014
Ramon Humet's Four Zen Gardens opens this arresting compilation; nine short movements for three percussionists. A solitary rainstick adds a splash of aqueous colour to the metallic textures, dominated by vibraphone and gongs. The music feels static, ritualistic, recalling John Cage's Ryoanji. You're curious about how it's been notated, the effect seeming both improvised and carefully structured. The quiet fade is haunting.
Humet's Garden of Haikus adds a piano trio to the percussion. A sequence of ten brief movements feel like a succession of iridescent miniatures, the silences carrying as much weight as the sounds. Most rewarding is Petals; a three-movement piano trio based on an 18th century haiku. Writing for a conventional ensemble hasn't hampered Humet's musical imagination; this is refined, magical stuff, as elusive and potent as the brief poem which inspired it.
Graham Rickson. theartsdesk.com. 4 January 2014
Listening to Humet’s delicate, spaced-out Quatre jardins zen for three percussionists (2008) is a bit like an extended sensation of tingling, as though you’re being exposed to the aural equivalent of gentle spray on sensitised skin.
Michael Dervan. The Irish Times. 29 November 2013
The recording is spectacularly vivid, and it's easy to appreciate the exotic soundworlds Humet invents in Quatre Jardins Zen (for three percussionists) and the crisp imagery of the 10 miniatures of Jardin de Haikus.
Andrew Clements. The Guardian. 17 October 2013
One of the early releases from this contemporary music label dedicated to surround-sound recordings, Niwa features the London Sinfonietta playing chamber works by Ramon Humet, a Catalan composer with a Japanese influence. The percussion suite Four Zen Gardens features bell and bamboo timbres in perfect equilibrium, sustaining the poise suggested by the title, while modulating from Yamash'ta-esque industry to resonant high-register tones. Garden of Haikus offers 10 short movements picked out in cryptic collusions, while the three sections of Petals represent individual lines from a Bankoku haiku performed by violin, cello and piano with a sombre grace. Exquisitely simple, but endlessly deep.
Andy Gill. The Independent. 11 October 2013
Meditative atmospheres, a sober design, harmonic refinement, transfigured echoes of traditional Japanese music (especially of the bamboo Shakuhachi flute), and an equilibrium between sound, resonance and silence are elements that demonstrate obvious parallels to the aesthetic of Toru Takemitsu. The silhouette of Japanese music can be perceived above all in Four Zen Gardens, in which the image of the Japanese garden does not act in a descriptive sense but as a metaphor for the fleeting, the impalpable and the tenuous. The poetic genre of the haiku stands as the structural principle of a musical form articulated in short sections. The result is not so much a succession of autonomous episodes as a fluid succession of musical figures. While Humet’s music obviously comprises the chief attraction of Niwa, further elements contribute to the excellence of the final product. Such is the case of the publisher’s exquisite presentation. Worthy of note, too, are the superb performances by London Sinfonietta, one of the most highly renowned groups devoted to the contemporary repertoire. And, finally, the extraordinary sound recording, which benefits from the latest technological innovations: high definition and surround sound. This is a great success in all its aspects. Rate: 5 / 5
Stefano Russomanno. ABC Cultural. 10 November 2012
Ramon Humet’s work has the makings of great music. His personal world immediately goes beyond Cagean and orientalist dividends and dives into a world of resonances, timbres and meditative silences.
Juan Francisco de Dios. Diverdi. October 2012
The music of Ramon Humet (Barcelona, 1968) has, on occasions, been aptly defined as an immense oriental landscape, a garden of time, metaphor for a far-reaching fascination with sound. The poetic discourse of his music, in comparision to many other voices prominent on the musical scene, seems to be a declaration of intentions: music which is unpretentious, does not seek to build systems nor present irrefutable axioms. On one hand, what we find here is the importance of rigour, demonstrated by a highly refined craft. On the other hand, there is evidence of an expressive poetics charged with resonances from far away, filtered by an extremely contemplative, idiosyncratic voice which turns the music’s temporal material into a fresco of subtly graded inks and brushstrokes. Its rhythmic development of inter-cutting, spontaneous lines, which has little to do with the usual rigidity and dispersion of western music, concentrates the rhythmic energy of these pieces with an air that combines expressive warmth and harmonic resonance. The relationship with spectralism - which Humet recognises -, above all in the model represented by the English composer Jonathan Harvey, is perceptible here as a kind of background vibration, diluted, but flavouring even the smallest details. Humet’s art resembles the art of calligraphy, an art of gesture of the most precise kind, rigorous, and at the same time free, unfettered by any kind of catagorisation.
Vicent Minguet. Sonograma. December 2012
A disc of the highest order, completely in tune with the intention of Humet’s music, which is, in large part, to make contact with the heavens. The extremely careful production by Neu Records, together with London Sinfonietta’s impeccable performance immerse the listener, literally –through the use of surround sound 5.1, for which the right system is required– in a fascinating world. A world of perceptive fineness which runs though each of the disc’s three works from beginning to end, between which a track of silence has been recorded so that one’s body can internalise the musical experience just lived.
Josep Barcons Palau. Revista Musical Catalana. September 2012
Forward-looking Spanish label Neu Records’ second release explores the music of Barcelona-born Ramon Humet, a composer (&, says his bio, engineer) with a strong interest in Japanese philosophy & thought. The album explores three substantial works of Humet’s, including his remarkable Quatre jardins zen, a large-scale meditation for bright, resonant percussion (favourable comparisons with Claude Vivier’s Cinq chansons come to mind). Alongside the miniature Jardí de haikus they vividly enunciate Humet’s evocative compositional voice.
Simon Cummings. 5against4.com
Exquisite presentation and attractive design are evident qualities of this new work by the record label Neu Records. (…) The English group give an excellent interpretation, both in terms of beauty, and for its transparency, eloquence and sinuousity of timbre. (…) It is the product of a jeweller -almost an act of devotion- which catapults Neu Records into the sphere of today’s most attractive record labels. A revelation and fully recommended.
Santi Riu. Segarra. January 2013
These three works portray the creative stamp of Humet, for whom music is "a metaphor for life". Many of his scores are musical landscapes; detailed X-rays, subtle and transparent, of space and time.
Susana Gaviña. ABC. 29 September 2012
The chamber works brought together in Niwa represent Humet’s most recent words, perhaps the most subtle given the material worked on, in which he shows the importance of resonance and of silence as generative forces. A highly significant silence marks the breaks between Four Zen Gardens (a subtle percussion piece), Garden of Haikus, and Petals.
Jorge de Persia. La Vanguardia. 28 November 2012
Like a Japanese garden, the music of Ramon Humet is beautiful, refined, transparent, and often playful. It is so, both in intention and in the measured use of the means employed, –I cannot but relate his music to Joan Miró’s series Constellations. His work is capable of conveying the happy fascination of a child making a new discovery: music of magical smiles built on a foundation of solid technique. Music that flows naturally, –a feat in itself!– that seems to disguise the hours of experimentation and careful thought that went into its composition.
Josep Maria Guix. Liner notes. March 2012
This is music full of vitality, imagination and energy, the work of a composer with charisma, with clear ideas and his own identity in the contemporary panorama of Spanish musical creativity
Javier Pérez Senz. Liner notes. February 2012
What is it that confers on this music its incisive nature and extraordinary precision?
Lluís Nacenta. La Vanguardia. 15 September 2010
Humet’s music is atemporal, luminous, highly coloured. It addresses not the rational but, rather, the sensory self. It is highly meditative and organic. It is not at all difficult. An open mind is all one needs to be able to enter this music.
Pablo González. El Periódico. 24 September 2010
Music that is teeming, subtle, living, sensitive to the world’s breathing. A spread of different qualities crowned by a rare capacity to bring together opposites, lightness and depth, objectivity and expression.
Philippe Danel. 3 January 2008
Those who fear contemporary music should have seen the audience’s enthusiastic response to the premiere of Transparent Wind. Humet’s developing career should be followed closely; he knows how to transmit his musical thought charismatically, through fascinating technique and expressive means. Attracted to Japanese philosophy and musical traditions, his new piece displays a refinement of timbre, subtle atmospheres and magical soundscapes. In the face of such an arsenal of poetic and aural images, the work, which lasts only ten minutes, seemed short.
Javier Pérez Senz, El País. 16 August 2008
The oriental influence of the title, Garden of Haikus, was apparent above all in the exquisite way he knew exactly how to use silences and sounds (emptiness and fullness), perhaps one of the greatest complexities in music, generating an atmosphere that was, at the same time, playful and sophisticated.
Leticia Martín Ruiz. Scherzo. April 2008
Ramon Humet's music is delicate and subtle, with high poetic imagination. Humet is a hope for the future; he has a fine ear, and a spirit full of light.
Jonathan Harvey. Liner notes. July 2007
This highly talented composer combines admirably the elements that reflect birdsong and their orchestral treatment. He controls silence and time equally well, an exquisite quality”
Cristophe Huss. Montreal. 11 January 2007
It shows a striking ability to control rhythm and the development of material. It is one of those pieces which, rather than making an immediate impact, draws you in and arouses your curiosity about this composer.
Martin Adams. The Irish Times. 20 March 2003