Saturday, November 12, 2016

Modular String Trio – Ants, Bees And Butterflies (2016)

Modular String Trio

Sergiy Okhrimchuk - violin
Robert Jędrzejewski - cello
Jacek Mazurkiewicz - contrabass, electronics
Łukasz Kacperczyk - modular synth

Ants, Bees And Butterflies


By Adam Baruch

This is the second album by Polish/Ukrainian Improvised Music ensemble Modular String Trio, recorded live at the legendary Warsaw Pardon To Tu club, the home base of the Polish avant-garde scene. Contrary to its name the ensemble is not a trio but a quartet, and includes a string trio: violinist Sergiy Okhrimchuk, cellist Robert Jędrzejewski and bassist Jacek Mazurkiewicz, but also the modular synthesizer/electronics manipulator Łukasz Kacperczyk. Together they perform eight improvised pieces, which are co-credited to the quartet members and are nameless, but cryptically sequentially numbered.

The music ranges between completely free and open improvisations and more structured, either rhythmically or melodically, pieces. For listeners unfamiliar with Improvised Music this is probably beyond bearable, but connoisseurs of the genre should find this music quite fascinating. It combines the Jazz and Classical Music elements unlike the music of other such ensembles, due to the specific string trio sound and interplay, and as such is pretty unique.

There is a distinct mutual understanding and a high level of musical conversation between the ensemble members, which results in a coherent and plausible musical progression, which the listener is able to follow. Mazurkiewicz is definitely the anchor of the music, supplying the basic pulsations, without which the music would have become way to abstract. As usual the important question is if this music is communicative enough to contribute beyond the closed circle of the musicians involved in making it. The quandary as to the existence of a listener who would like to listen to this music more than once or even repeatedly remains open of course.

Personally I enjoyed listening to this music, but I hope these still young musicians will eventually find a middle way between total and unconditional freedom and some form or structure, to make their music closer to the listeners without compromising their artistic vision. Radicalism for the sake of radicalism is usually the problem rather than the solution.

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