Friday, August 14, 2015

Łukasz Górewicz - The String Of Horizons (2015)

Łukasz Górewicz

Łukasz Górewicz - acoustic & electric violins, guitar, piano, percussion, programing, loops

The String Of Horizons

Big Flow Records

By Ian Patterson

Active in both classical and contemporary music, Polish violinist/composer Łukasz Górewicz is perhaps best known abroad for Ecstasy Project, the unique experimental chamber/avant-garde jazz ensemble formed in 1999; its albums such as "Realium" (Polish Jazz, 2005) and "Reminiscence Europae" (Fonografica, 2008) underlined Górewicz' credentials as one of the most arresting violinists of his generation, regardless of genre. On "The String Of Horizons" Górewicz steps out alone, composing, arranging and producing the music, in addition to playing all the instruments. Needless to say, Górewicz' highly lyrical violin is central to these contemporary, atmospheric compositions.

Górewicz hits the ground running on "New Bike" with multiple, layered violins creating a bewitching sonic tapestry. Sustained notes and pizzicato rhythm form the bed from which Górewicz electric violin blooms. Bottom-end piano makes a brief but incisive appearance, percussive rhythm emerges and a grungy guitar riff saws through the dancing waves. Strings duly relieve the guitar riff and the numerous violin voices converge in a rising, climactic wall of sound. It's a dramatic opener that sets the bar high.

On the whole, however, the music is too serene to be indie-rock and the loop-layered violins employed sparely enough that to call it contemporary chamber ensemble music doesn't quite paint the whole picture either. Górewicz may be a one-man band but it's his unadorned, loop-free playing that shines brightest on cinematic tunes like "Green Moon" and "Melting Snow" where delicate piano, drone and achingly lyrical violin converge. Minus drone, violin and piano embrace on the brief yet poignant "Marta". For all his technical virtuosity, it's Górewicz' finesse and compositional nuance that are foregrounded.

There's more meat and gristle on "Ada", where ambient, computer-generated effects reminiscent of Radiohead's "Kid A" (Parlophone, 2000), a repeating piano motif and a crushing, two-note electric guitar mantra underpin several interweaving violin lines. Likewise, the layers of the rhythmically punchy "K Flow In Berlin" and the haunting "Flying Through The Darkness" marry programmed effects and Górewicz string-rich textures. Regardless of the density of the musical architecture, Górewicz lyricism constantly illuminates this almost suite-like recording.

Nowhere is this inherent lyricism better illustrated than on the brooding "Kind of Time," Górewicz striking tribute to the Polish jazz violinist Zbigniew Seifert, who died in 1979 at the age of thirty two. Seifert still exerts a significant global influence, as witnessed by the inaugural Zbigniew Seifert International Jazz Violin Competition held in Luslawice in 2014, a competition that drew scores of applicants from around the world, including Górewicz. Górewicz was one of ten finalists who made it to Luslawice and arguably the violinist there closest to the spirit of Seifert. Like Seifert, as "The String Of Horizons" demonstrates in spades, Górewicz is, above all else, an original voice.

On "The String Of Horizons" Górewicz reveals his mastery of multiple musical strands. Folkloric, classical and avant-garde colors merge completely to form a subtle yet persuasive language that is melodious, atmospheric and edgy. An impressive, intimate recording that should propel Górewicz to a wider international audience.

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