Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Olbrzym i Kurdupel - Work (2014)

Tomek Gadecki - tenor saxophone
Marcin Bożek - bass


By Adam Baruch

This is the third album by Polish Avant-garde/Improvised Music duo Olbrzym i Kurdupel, or saxophonist Tomasz Gadecki and bassist Marcin Bożek. It captures a live performance by the duo at the legendary Alchemia club in Kraków, which is edited into six separate parts, but the entire performance can be seen as a musical continuum. Although not specifically attributed as such, the music is obviously co-created by the duo members. Gadecki is a very active and prolific member of the Polish Avant-garde scene and takes part in several other small experimental ensembles, like 250 KG, TRC Trio and Sambar.

The duo has been playing together for about six years now, a period of time which was definitely sufficient for them to develop their own specific stylistic mannerisms and approach to collective improvisation, which by now is pretty recognizable. This is quite an achievement, as Improvised Music may sound pretty undistinguishable in most cases. The staccato bass pulsations and dramatic saxophone cries are most effective tools to capture the listener's attention and create an emotional upheaval.

Improvised music is of course above all a team effort, and as a team they are simply "as one man", no pun intended. I have always admired the intimacy of their almost telepathic sharing of ideas and on this album it is more strongly evident than ever before. Additionally their music is completely non-aggressive, almost "romantic" at times, and as absurd as it might sound, it is pleasurable and comforting; definitely not a typical paradigm in Improvised Music.

The Polish Avant-garde scene is obviously quite en extensive field of activity, still growing against all odds. Dominated mostly by relatively young musicians, it is vital and impressively creative. I find Olbrzym i Kurdupel to be a perfect personification of that wonderful phenomenon, always looking forward to their new work. I can only wish that their music will be discovered by as many open-minded music listeners as possible, as it certainly deserves it.

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