Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hera - Where My Complete Beloved Is (Multikulti, 2011)

Hera (band)

Wacław Zimpel - clarinet, bass clarinet
Paweł Postaremczak - soprano and tenor saxophones
Ksawery Wójciński - double bass
Paweł Szpura - drums

Where My Complete Beloved Is (Multikulti, 2011)

This is the second album by Polish avant-garde ensemble Hera, led by multi-instrumentalist / composer Waclaw Zimpel, one of the most important representatives of the European Improvised Music scene in the last decade. The album comprises of four extended pieces (three of which have a duration of about 20 minutes), as appropriate for this kind of music, where space and freedom are of the essence, which were recorded live. The first piece was composed by Zimpel, the following two are credited as group compositions and the last is a Russian folk song. Zimpel plays bass clarinet and harmonium and the ensemble includes also saxophonist Pawel Postaremczak, bassist Ksawery Wojcinski and drummer Pawel Szpura. Guest musicians include Sara Kaluzna, who plays tampura on one track and Maniucha Bikont, who sings the vocals and plays harmonium on the last track. 

The music of Hera completely escapes any attempt of classification and is so incredibly rich and amalgamated that expanding on the subject would be pretty futile. After all music is intended to be listened to, not written about, and great music has a tendency to slip through words trying to encapsulate it. There is no doubt that the atmosphere and modus operandi of the ensemble is influenced by Indian and other Far East Cultures, where extended improvisation and contemplative treatment of musical pieces is a way of life, with time playing little or no role at all. The music starts and continues and comes to an end when it naturally concludes its intrinsic message. 

Naming the pieces after titles of poems written by the Indian mystic poet Kabir are ample evidence as to the intended aesthetic prevailing herein. The meditative / contemplative nature of the music does not mean it lacks excitement, quite on the contrary, it is full of passionate improvisations, which appear on a separate plane, as if floating above the firm recurring basis, complementing the overall result. This is truly a music of the "higher spheres", which requires total attention and acquiescence from the listener joining the musicians in the process of aural communication. Absolutely brilliant stuff wholeheartedly recommended to bold souls with refined taste!

Track list: 1. Wacław Zimpel - In That Place There Is No Happiness Or Unhappines; 2. Hera - No Truth Or Untruth; 3. Hera - Neither Sin Or Virtue; 4. There Is No Day Or Night, No Moon Or Sun (Traditional)

By Adam Baruch

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