Monday, March 2, 2020

Modular String Trio – Chlorofil (2019)

Modular String Trio

Sergiy Okhrimchuk - violin
Robert Jędrzejewski - cello
Jacek Mazurkiewicz - double bass
Łukasz Kacperczyk - modular synth


AUDIO CAVE 2019/007

By Adam Baruch

This is the third album by the Polish/Ukrainian Avant-Garde/Improvised Music quartet called Modular String Trio, which combines a string trio: violinist Sergiy Okhrimchuk, cellist Robert Jędrzejewski and bassist Jacek Mazurkiewicz and the modular synthesizer player Łukasz Kacperczyk. As appropriate for the genre, the album was recorded live and presents five spontaneous pieces, attributed to all four members of the quartet.

The music of the quartet tries to balance the trialogue within the string trio with a dialogue between the trio and the synthesizer, which often requires quite an effort from the listener, following the twists and turns of the plethora of sounds being created in tandem. The beauty of it is that the acoustic sounds of the string instruments and the electronic sounds of the synthesizer amalgamate together almost effortlessly and even "harmoniously", even when conventional harmony is not part of the happening.

It is difficult to talk about beauty in the conventional sense as far as this music is concerned, but personally I found most if it aesthetically pleasing. The individual contributions of all four participants are electrifying and highly dexterous, as is the level of the "telepathic" interplay between them. Personally I appreciate the role of Mazurkiewicz as the anchor of the entire live event and both his arco and plucking technique are what keeps the music together.

Before listening to the music I read my review of their previous album, and to my surprise it seems that the quartet found in this music some of the elements that I pointed out as missing then; this music is definitely more structured and intrinsically more coherent, which immediately results in it being more accessible that the two earlier albums. Of course this is by all means still a hard-core Avant-Garde, which eschews almost all conventional musical means of expression, but on the other hand a much wider circle of open-minded listeners should be able to "get into" this music without much ado and perhaps even truly enjoy it.

While exploring this album I soberly reflected on the contrast between the emotional and intellectual effort involved in listening to this music and the nihilistic effortlessness involved in listening to thousands of almost identical conventional mainstream Jazz albums out there… thank God for the ability to think outside of the box…

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