Thursday, November 24, 2011

DM&P Trio - Insular Dwarfism (AudioTong, 2011) by Bartek Adamczak

DM&P Trio (band)
Pawel Dziadur - electronics: wave_attack improvisation software, laptop, synth, controllers, feedback loop, miking

Slawomir Maler - tenor saxophone, alto saxophone
Philip Palmer - alto saxophone, found objects

Insular Dwarfism (AudioTong, 2011)

A while ago I've wrote about this Krakow-based group's performance - half torn between appreciation for their experimental and no-compromises attitude and struggle to absorb and get through the wall of abundant and invasive wall of electronics.
Pawel Dziadur created wave-attack software as a tool for electro-acoustic improvisation that allows for real-time sound manipulation without any presets or pre-recorded materials and his scope is to achieve and explore the level of swiftness that was supposedly available only performing on acoustic instruments. And quite simply he's close to it - on the stage his gesture control interface is impressive, as is the number of ways he's able to transform and disfigure any musical input to the point it's impossible to individualize its connection to the source material.
Slawomir Maler and Philip Palmer are in clear connection as they react to each other spiralling their saxophone lines together, around (the coda in "Trepanning for Dummies"), echoing each others longing notes or exchanging spitting notes ("Glass of Water") or meandering together through the labyrinth of echoes and silence ("Reason in Question"), the swirling melodic series remind me of Steve Reich music for example. But this trio's focus is on the electro-acoustic merger and Dziadur is there to invade, expand, enhance, alienate, penetrate the acoustic reality with his output. Sometimes with a subtle loop, echo, or an uneasy background noise, creatively colouring the main lines ("Medicine Man"). And I find the music is the most inspiring at those minimalistic or chamber-like segments. At other times Dziadur goes all the way wreaking havoc with a full-scale noise attack (one second interruptions in "Wok Wet to Sing"). "Trepanning for Dummies" starts exactly as the title suggests but if you withstand the initial brutal force you are rewarded with the echoes of beauty in the serene conclusion.
It's much easier to appreciate this trio's music in small doses (a big difference between the extended and continuous live performance and the 9 tracks on the cd clocking total under 40 minutes). And, although the initial goal of no aesthetic limit to the produced sound stands, there's much more subtlety and intimacy to the music on the cd that the one I remember from the concert (or my memory doesn't serve me well and the feeling of intimacy was simply achieved through multiple listenings). Still the minimalism achieved (represented superbly by the cd's cover) makes the moments of expansive expressivity even more relevant in my opinion, if still hard to digest.
As challenging as this music is, its radicalism is also quite refreshing. I kind of feel a need to watch a stupid teen comedy after that as an antidote but one could say that in the world where everything comes easy and is supposed to be so a challenge like this is a true antidote, just to keep some balance. Not for the faint of heart, but for those who like to be challenged - it might not all work but it does surprise you. A daring statement.

*Insular Dwarfism: The process whereby animals living on small islands or in other environments with constrained gene pools reduce in size over time through a process of natural selection.

Author: Bartek Adamczak

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