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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Artur Majewski - Day 1 - Artur Majewski & Jan Słowiński - Sloma + Artur Majewski & Vasco Trilla - The End of Something (Sound Trap Records, 2022)

 By Stef Gijssels

Today we review two trumpet-percussion duos with Artur Majewski on the horn, the first with Jan Słowiński on drums, and the second with Vasco Trilla. For good measure, we also add a third CD, a quartet in which Majewski equally performs. 

We've followed Majewski over the years, from his earlier work with the Mikrokolektyw, with the Foton Quartet, in collaborations with other Polish artists such as Gerard Lebik, Anna Kaluza, Kuba Suchar, Rafal Mazur or international free improv luminaries like Agusti Fernandez and Barry Guy. 

Artur Majewski & Jan Słowiński - Słoma (Sound Trap Records, 2022)

On the first album, the interaction between cornet and drums is as you would expect a cornet and drums duo to sound: clear sounds on the horn, rumbling drums, and strong interaction. The playing is excellent, consisting of welcoming and open-ended improvisations. The music is stripped to its core essence of two artists enjoying their and each other skills, moving together, listening, reacting. This is not genre-breaking or discovering new sonic horizons, but that is also not their aspiration. 

It's entertaining from beginning to end and highly enjoyable. The kind of music that puts me in a good mood. 

Listen and download from Bandcamp.

Artur Majewski & Vasco Trilla - The End of Something (Sound Trap Records, 2022)

The duo with Spanish percussionist Vasco Trilla is of a completely different nature. Majewski's cornet is played with a delay pedal, allowing for many layers of sound to arise, expand and disappear again. Vasco Trilla is on equal footing with Majewski, being a kind of sound architect himself, with the skills to make his percussion do many things, including ringing and singing. 

With this approach, the intimacy and directness of "Słoma" is contrasted with the spaciousness of electronic sound altering and sonic resonance. The delay pedal also allows for repetitions, creating a rhythmic effect that acts as the foundation for improvisations on both the horn and percussion. Majewski again demonstrates his incredible technical skills including the more extended use of his horn at various moments during the three lengthy pieces: and he gives it all: high pitched screams, muffled whispers to deep growling sounds and many hard to describe sounds. 

On the last track, Trilla takes the lead with a solid drums intro, welcoming the trumpeter who makes this both jubilant and fierce. Interestingly, the ferocious drumming slows down allowing the cornet and its mirror images to develop into a world of serene calm, and even silence. 

This album is definitely more daring and more exploratory, showing another side of Majewski's many artistic languages. 

Listen and download from Bandcamp.