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Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Adam Rudolph/Tyshawn Sorey – Archaisms I (defkaz Records, 2023)

By Fotis Nikolakopoulos

Living in the periphery of Europe, it makes me really happy that a label from Thessaloniki, Greece releases such a musical statement. Tyshawn Sorey and Adam Rudolph are accomplished percussionists, two of the musicians that everything new under their name attracts my full attention. Being, especially, a fan of Sorey’s journeys into the black tradition (into music I should just say?), there is no doubt that he is one of the most important musicians of his generation.

But this is a collective work of the highest order. This collaboration of sorts was recorded live in concert in NYC as 2021 was ending, and is one continuous small scale journey into spontaneous compositions. The final result, cut into two 180gr vinyl sides, is worth the repeated listening that today’s hectic normality denies.

Apart from Rudolph’s overtone flute, both musicians utilize various percussion instruments. Bypassing the constant threat that this instrumentation can bring –a boring linear rhythmology- their playing comes to the listener’s ears as an inseparable entity. They play in unison and they both admit it willingly.

I really can’t be sure, since I have no images of the live setting, if the music was dialectical, like two friends exchanging ideas (reminder: John Stevens’ description of his duo playing with Trevor Watts on Face to Face), but, certainly, the music flows like one entity linking every second of sound with the next one.

Like Adam Rudolph comments on the label’s bandcamp page, they approached the music and their interaction with open hearts. And a willingness to interact, speak through the non-verbal language that music is, I dare to add, communicating their truth, ideas and sentiments. Even though there seem to be distinct sections within the recording, it is, or at least it feels like, one continuous piece. Archaisms I is one of the best records for 2023.

Listen and buy here: