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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Nor Cold - Nor Cold (Multikulti, 2013) ****½

By Stef  

"So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth" (Revelation 3:16) is the inspirational title coming from the bible, yet indirectly via the novel "Warm and Cold" (Pol. "Ciepło, zimno") by the Polish author Adam Zagajewski. The music itself is based on sephardic songs from the Balkans, and on folk songs.

The band are Olgierd Dokalski on trumpet, Wojciech Kwapisiński on guitar, Oori Shalev on drums, and my compatriot Zeger Vandenbussche on saxophones, clarinet and Jew's harp.

Sure, the four musicians tapped into some deep cultural roots to bring their music, but what they bring to the surface is innovative, moving and strong. In contrast to much of Zorn's Radical Jewish Culture series, the music brought here is more eclectic, broader and rhythmically more subtle.

The result is melodious, free and beautiful, with an approach that's maintained throughout the album, and with tunes that you will go back to, just for the sweetness of their sounds, the beauty of the solos cutting loose from the themes, the mesmerising hypnotism of the guitar that acts like a bass at times, the great drumming and the perfect interplay between the horns. And this full of joy for the music itself, full of passion and empathy.

Some people believe that music is all about technical skills on the instrument. These four guys demonstrate that real artistry is somewhere else, in a place with deep emotion, sonic beauty and spiritual resonance.

A great album by an unknown band. Another discovery from Poland (and Belgium).