Thursday, November 27, 2014

Mazur Neuringer Duo – The Krakow Letters (2014)

Mazur Neuringer Duo

Rafał Mazur - acoustic bass guitar
Keir Neuringer - alto saxophone

The Kraków Letters


By Adam Baruch

This is the fourth release that documents the music of the duo comprising of Polish Avant-garde/Jazz acoustic bass guitarist Rafal Mazur and American saxophonist and interdisciplinary Artist Keir Neuringer. The duo has been active since 1999 after meeting in Krakow. The album presents four lengthy improvised pieces, recorded live, all credited to both partners.

There is no doubt that these two musicians communicate on a telepathic level and their virtuosity is simply stunning. However, listening to this music might prove to be way beyond even most adventurous listener because of its incredible intensity and total dedication. The music is completely devoid of melodic element and the staccato lines lasting for quarter of an hour are a challenge.

But on purely artistic level and for diehard Free/Improvised fans this music is simply phenomenal. The sheer "impossibility" to actually play it already makes it fascinating and considering the rapport and dialogue present herein at every moment simply nail it completely. There is an intrinsic intellectual beauty to this music, even if the totally emotional form might exclude intellectualism by definition. Nevertheless this fascinating contrast keeps the listener on his toes for the entire duration of the album.

Since I'm not familiar with their previous adventures, I'll definitely have to investigate those now, after listening to this album. The other enigma is of course the ability of Neuringer to play in an uninterruptable stream lasting for many minutes. Is he using circular breathing?

Perhaps this music is primarily meant to be heard live, and a recording transfers the listening experience with some, if not a significant loss of the overall effect. If this album is a "muffled" experience, the real deal must have been totally scary. Ye brave hearted free spirits unite!

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