Friday, July 12, 2013

An On Bast / Maciej Fortuna – Live (2013) ***1/2

An On Bast - electronics
Maciej Fortuna - trumpet


By Adam Baruch

This is the second album by the Polish duo, which consists of ambient / electronic music artists An On Bast (a.k.a. Anna Suda) and Jazz trumpeter / composer Maciej Fortuna. The album includes ten tracks which were composed and conceived by the duo, all recorded live on two different occasions. The last track is a tribute to the memory of the great Polish Jazz trumpeter / composer Andrzej Przybielski, who died in February 2011.

This album continues the direction set up by the duo's debut album, which combines electronic / synthesized ambient vistas with trumpet solos stating the melodic elements of the music. Although not completely innovative, this music differs from most similar projects since it involves a virtuosic player like Fortuna, who is capable of lengthy and complex improvisations, keeping a clear tone and superb fluency at all times. Although this music is not very easy to listen to, requiring maximal attention blended with fruitful imagination, it speaks to a wider population of listeners than the very limited Jazz audience. Ambient / electronic music gained quite a following in the last decades and therefore there is a good chance this music might be appealing to them as well.

Of course the trumpet parts played by Fortuna are the focus of this music, as the melodic sounds he produces are what the human ear is used to, much more so than the ambient sounds in the background. And yet an experienced listener quickly discovers the symbiotic relationship between these two layers, which enables the existence of one only in the presence of the other. The combined sound is dense, engaging and aesthetically pleasing, even at its darkest moments.

The fact that Fortuna is engaged in this project in parallel to his numerous other, mostly Jazz oriented activities proves his diversity as an artist and his open-mindedness, which is often quite limited among other players. Overall this is a project that deserves to be heard and praised for bridging the cross-genre gaps and exploring uncharted territory.

This is definitely worth investigating, especially for the more adventurous listeners, who are willing to take certain risks in order to gain new experiences.

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