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This is collective improvisation at its finest, where each musician is free to express thoughts without encumbrance or restriction.

Music Review: Barry Guy, Maya Homburger, and Zlatko Kaučič – ‘Without Borders’

Creating an atmosphere of collective improvisation is drummer Zlatko Kaučič‘s artistic endeavor. Freedom of expression driven by a stream of consciousness is the mode of operation that Kaučič and his collaborators utilize in their latest recording, Without Borders. The spontaneity in the verses crosses into vanguard territory reminiscent of post-modern artisans. Listeners are enticed to take note of the way Kaučič’s percussive tools crinkle and shimmy, Barry Guy’s double bass throbs and pulsates, and Maya Homburger’s baroque violin arcs and genuflects throughout the pieces. Each instrument is used to communicate personalized thoughts, as the trio explores the multiple textures and sonic range of their individual tools.

The nine tracks move into one another seamlessly as though they are autonomous parts belonging to one body. The splashing of Kaučič’s cymbals along “Footfalls III” is joined by a bevy of percussion instruments that squeal and clink like a horde of chainmail. An irregular meter presides over the piece, which is a recurring theme throughout the recording. The tracks are not singularly defined. They each emote various temperaments, articulated by impromptu curves, brusque crests and lulls. The direction of the tracks are governed by the individual musicians, switching course with a whim and presenting dynamic shifts off the beaten path.

The resounding echoes of gong-like pistons sounding off along “Footfalls IV” produce an eerie vibe through the track, welded to the lightly bowed strings of the bass. The soothing tone of the violin through “Art” displays a lyrical musing interwoven with reflexive impulses from the bass and percussion, causing no one to be drowned out by another. These episodes of spontaneous raptures and interceptions do not interfere or interrupt the discourse of the tunes but have the effect of giving the pieces depth.

The music moves with an unrehearsed parlance, as the musicians mitigate melodic phrases and patterns that do not adhere to a discernible script. Each member of the trio demonstrates a mind of their own without expressing conflict or distress in their dialogue. Out of three voices come three distinct voices, each holding their own while forming a common ground where they all can be heard simultaneously. This is collective improvisation at its finest, where each musician is free to express thoughts without encumbrance or restriction.

Musicians:
Barry Guy – double bass, Maya Homburger – baroque violin, Zlatko Kaučič – ground drums, homemade instruments, and el Zyther

Tracklisting:
“Shadow Fragment,” “Footfalls I,” “Footfalls II,” “Celebration,” “Peace Piece,” “Footfalls III,” “The Seeker and the Search,” “Footfalls IV,” “Art”

About susanfrancesny

Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in eastern Long Island.

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