Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Zlatko Kaučič/Tomaž Grom – Torn Memories of Folklore (Zavod Sploh, 2021) ****½

By Fotis Nikolakopoulos

In the liner notes by Martin Küchen the Slovenian duo of Zlatko Kaučič (drums and percussion) and Tomaž Grom (double bass, cacophonator II) is described as a “dresser of massive possibilities”. I couldn’t have said it better that this. Just before the turbulence of the pandemic this duo presented The Ear Is The Shadow of The Eye, a set of magnificent homemade improvisations that I reviewed and made it in my best of for 2019. This is the time for another great one…

As someone who his mother language is not one that a lot of people speak, I really enjoy the fact that all the titles of this release (plus many others in the label’s catalogue) are presented in the musician’s language. It offers me a sense of warmth and geographical orientation. But, since that improvisation is a universal way of communicating, the aforementioned fact doesn’t allow any chauvinistic implications. It is just a reminder that the improvisational ethos isn’t a working method (a chosen preference maybe) of the western world, but a way to produce art in almost all cultures.

Again in his liner notes, Küchen describes how, when listening to the album on headphones, the ambience of the environment integrated in most of the tracks and how the music welcome this, supposedly, unwelcome interference. My relationship with this cd (there are some numbered LP’s as well, which I suggest to buy) came from a whole different perspective. I listened to it at home, while working or relaxing, and gave to it a lot of attention, because, as with his predecessor, I was and still am, quite amazed from the richness of the final result.

The recording seems less home made this time and more focused probably. It’s, though, amazing the way you can be deceived if you do not know about the instrumentation. They way they utilize their instruments –they bend them, pressure them, using hands, bow, sticks or whatever else is available- produces too many noises (to be a bit blatant here) for the ear to comprehend –yes, it’s just two musicians. I felt continuity in the succession of the tracks, but the titles made me wonder, all the time, if there are small stories to be told. Being not familiar with the language, all non sonic possibilities (to quote Martin Küchen again) seemed real.

Wood, cymbals, sticks, bows, fingers, thoughts that integrate spontaneous reactions, drums, strings. Everything, again like their previous cd, is in the right order but quite chaotic and not at all orderly.

Dig in here: 


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