Thursday, October 25, 2012

Olbrzym i Kurdupel - Six Philosophical Games (Electric Eye, 2012) by Dirk Blasejezak

Olbrzym i Kurdupel (duo)

Marcin Bożek - bass guitar
Tomek Gadecki - tenor saxophone

Six Philosophical Games (Electric Eye, 2012)



By Dirk Blasejezak

I have to admit that I didn’t play all the philosophical games on this record … but most. If you only read the track titles - i.e. the game instructions - you most probably get the impression that it’s not meant too seriously, and I wouldn’t call those game “philosophical” either. But the whole concept of the album raises one truly serious philosophical question and that is the one regarding the role of the observer in any art and in music that of the listener in particular. Music is the most transient of arts, it only exists in the moment it’s played - so how you “consume” it makes a difference and this is what the two are probably up to with this record.

Most of the games you have already played - intentionally or not. Everybody listens to music with someone he or she knows well most of the time. And most people have already listened to music in the bath tub or a cosy armchair or danced to it - but did you try that with free jazz or any other form of improvised music? Dancing in particular is fun ...

The game I love most is their first game, although I doubt that many of the listeners are able to fulfill it. I have an e-drum kit at home where I can loop-in any music, and indeed I quite often use it exactly for this “game”. You get a deeper understanding of the music when you try to play along, to become a part of it, because you have to listen differently - is there a beat, who’s leading, what are the others doing, where is the music going, etc. So if you ever get the chance to play this game try it out!

But the music on this album is not only demanding in terms of the tasks the listener has to fulfill, it’s also demanding when it comes to the music itself. Tomasz Gadecki on the baritone saxophone and Marcin Bożek on the bass guitar play some heavy stuff here. What first hits the ear is of course the saxophone. It’s powerful with a warm note, and what separates Tomasz Gadecki from many other free jazz saxophone players is his melodic approach. Only seldom he overblows to the roof or “brötzes”, instead he uses the wide tonal range of his instrument to create appealing music - as free as it gets. 

What I miss a bit especially in the first two games is the bass. When Marcin Bożek is to be heard more in the later tracks you immediately know why these two are happy together as a duo: they accompany each other in a way you won’t achieve easily with more musicians. And one shouldn’t assume that Marcin takes the runt part because of his skills (Olbrzym i Kurdupel means Giant and Runt in Polish), his speed and variability are astonishing. And his understanding for the situation and the direction of play makes him the perfect duo partner for Tomasz Gadecki.

So if you aren’t afraid of some humour in music and like to actively listen to some nice but free music, this album is definitely worth your time! 

Video with interview:



A live recording:



Tracklisting: Game 1 play with us a drummer; Game 2 get into a hot bath and listen with your ...; Game 3 sit comfortably in a cosy armchair, let ...; Game 4 listen to the whole part after a long run; Game 5 listen with someone You know well; Game 6 let's dance solo or in pairs


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