Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Jakub Gucik - Vastitas Borealis (2020)

Jakub Gucik

Jakub Gucik - cello

Vastitas Borealis

IPT 4/2020 CD

By Adam Baruch

This is the second album by Polish cellist/composer Jakub Gucik, following his debut released earlier in 2020, this time recorded completely solo cello, without any electronics. The album presents ten tracks, named after features of Martian landscape, all assumed to be by Gucik (although nothing is specifically mentioned on the album’s artwork, which is as cryptic as the music).

The music is quite fascinating, although solo cello can by trying for even the toughest listeners. With the minimalist and quite meditative character of the music, it requires patience and concentration, but eventually is very rewarding. Obviously Gucik is very courageous to expose himself in such “naked” environment and such unconventional music, and Avant-Garde is supposed to be groundbreaking, which in this case fully justifies the circumstances.

The ten tracks offer pre-composed structures, which are then improvised upon and explored, although not in the conventional Jazzy approach, but rather extensively using contemporary Classical Music toolbox, or spontaneous invention. There are some elements of serialism and minimalism of course, but nothing justifies the classification of this music as belonging to a specific genre. It is first and foremost something created by Gucik’s inner feelings and associations, being of course quite remarkable, as such.

This is a very personal and delicate music, which requires total submission on both emotional and cerebral plains, in order to "get" this music in the first place and then enjoy it, for what it is; repeated listening sessions might prove to be necessary. Overall this album is a bold, risky statement, which deserves praise both for its originality and intrinsic beauty, which combined with the debut certainly marks Gucik as an Artist worth attentive following. Two hits in a row in one year do not happen that often these days.

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