Friday, December 30, 2016

DEK Trio - Burning Below Zero (Trost, 2016) ****


DEK stands for the first names of Austrian drummer Didi Kern and pianist Elisabeth Harnik and Chicagoan reeds player Ken Vandermark. Since Austria, and especially Vienna, have become one of Vandermark main stops during his busy touring schedule, establishing ongoing collaborations with local musicians was only natural. Vandermark performs there on a regular basis, records in the fine studios there, works with a local label, Trost, and collaborates with others local musicians such as Christof Kurzmann in the Made to Break quartet.

DEK Trio began to work in September 2014 bringing together a wide range of backgrounds and influences. Harnik, known as a new music composer and free-improviser who collaborates with double bass master Joëlle Léandre, fellow Chicagoan reeds player Dave Rempis, is a member of the Plasmic and Barcode quartets and the interdisciplinary Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose project which is inspired by the work of Gertrude Stein. Kern has worked with alternative Austrian bands as the noise-rock trio BulBul and the genre-defying Broken.Heart.Collector and collaborated in recent years with Mats Gustafsson (check their Eissalon (Live), Rock is Hell Records, 2013); Vandermark charges this trio free-improvised interplay with his diverse experiences, ranging from the intricate minimalism of AMM’s pianist John Tilbury to Afro-beat of late Ethiopian sax player Gétatchèw Mèkurya.

The trio debut album was recorded live recorded shortly after its establishment on October 2, 2014 at the RAJ hall in the southern Austria town Klagenfurt. The three “RAJ” free-improvisations highlight the organic, instantaneous interplay of this trio, expressive and powerful one, open-ended and curious. On the opening, extended “RAJ One”, Kern keeps challenging Vandermark's rhythmic attacks and subtle sonic searches with fast-shifting rhythmic ideas and colors spiced with healthy doses of humor, detail and invention while Harnik frames their muscular, game-like interplay in a structured narrative, introducing into it delicate sounds extracted from the piano strings. The following, extended “RAJ Two” suggests a more “burning” interplay, way beyond zero, where each musicians feeds the other with intense energy in an intensifying cycle. This pieces stresses the versatile, rhythmic sensibility of the DEK trio, moving freely from driving-stormy eruptions to gentle, lyrical touches. The last, short “RAJ Three” is a cathartic outcome of the expressive energy of this great trio.

1 comment:

  1. Wieder mal ein beispiel dafür, wie musik auch funktionieren kann. 3 instrumentalisten, freilich jeder für sich ein individueller zeitgenosse und meister an seinem instrument, kommen zusammen und führen eine diskussion. fragen, antworten, widerworte, beifall, mono- und dialoge, doch stets frei von der leber weg; intelligent, packend und vor allem: voller energie. heutige musik, gespeist von traditionen, doch am ende un-erhört, voller einfälle und varianten. und das allerwichtigste - energie, power, überzeugungskraft; alles, was ich mir von heutiger musik erhoffe, doch nicht sooo oft eingelöst bekomme.
    was daneben auch noch besonders erfreulich ist: die bereitschaft, in jedem moment kommunizieren zu wollen, zuhören, reagierend agieren.
    kurzum: musik, für die ich fast immer zuzuhören bereit bin, einfach deswegen, weil sie echt ist und ohne widerstände den weg ins zentrum findet ... wp

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