Saturday, March 29, 2014

Oles Brothers – Other Voices Other Scenes (2010) ***1/2

Marcin Oles - bass
Bartlomiej Brat Oles - drums

and others


By Adam Baruch

This is a double CD compilation of works by Polish Jazz musicians: bassist Marcin Oles and drummer Bartlomiej Brat Oles, collectively known as Oles Brothers. It includes thirty six short pieces of music, which are parts of eight separate soundtracks created to serve as music for theater, film and animation, which were premiered between 2004 and 2009. The entire music was composed and performed by the duo, with four guest musicians participating on some of the tracks. They both play several other instruments apart from the obvious bass / drums, including keyboards, guitar, marimba and others.

Polish Jazz connoisseurs are of course well aware of the Oles Brothers achievements, especially in view of their status as the most formidable Polish Jazz rhythm section, which played over time with a plethora of local and international musicians. However this album focuses more on the music composed by them rather than on its execution. Of course Oles Brothers were also the composers of part of the music played on their earlier albums, but this album really puts their excellent compositional skills right in the focus of the listener's attention.

Stylistically the album covers a very wide range of different genres / influences / atmospheres, which encompass contemporary Classical, World Music, Jazz of course, Ambient and minimalistic / incidental music. It is often very melodic and even when there are no clear melody lines present the overall atmosphere is serene and inviting.

Music, which is meant to serve as a soundtrack is not really required to stand alone, when separated from its visual / theatrical component. But in rare occasions it does possess an intrinsic value, which allows it to be fully meaningful and complete on its own. The music included on this album belongs to that category, which of course is quite remarkable. But on the other hand it is definitely not for a casual listener, and as such has a limited accessibility.

With this album Oles Brothers firmly establish their position on the contemporary Polish music scene, beyond their initial Jazz association. They are definitely a musical force to be reckoned with and one can only hope that their future project will be every bit as ambitious and meaningful as those presented on this album.

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