Monday, July 20, 2015
Itaru Oki & Axel Dörner - Root Of Bohemian (Improvsing Beings, 2015) ****½
Axel Dörner is a trumpet-player whose music and art on the instrument no longer needs any introduction. If it does, please check here for a broader review or check the search engine on this blog. The same goes for Itaru Oki, whose music is luckily well represented by the French label "Improvising Beings" as with this album.
Both musicians are absolute masters of their instrument, and together they keep pushing the boundaries of what these can do, but the objective here is not to demonstrate the art of extended technique, but rather to perform music that would not exist without extended techniques and that gives us, listeners, a totally different picture of what it means to create sound.
The album contains five improvisations whose titles illustrate the fragility, complexity and organic nature of their sonic universe : "Spider Strings", "Space (Change From Silence)", "Kazaana" (wind tunnel). The music leaves lots of space and evolves at a slow pace, without any rhythm at all, more like the cadence of a conversation between the two instruments, with sudden pauses needed to reflect, and then longer sentences followed by a reaction, even if that is slightly wrong because we don't get real dialogues, but intimate interaction to a create subtle artistic spontaneity, which could go in any direction, leading to surprises along the way in terms of volume, tonality and even change of instrument when Oki suddenly picks up his shakuhachi, yet the overall scope is sufficiently focused and coherent as you can expect from such seasoned artists.
Fans of either Dörner or Oki should not miss this albums. Music lovers unfamiliar with them, I would recommend to start with some of their more accessible material.
You can listen to the full first track "Spider Strings" here on Bandcamp.