Zavod Sploh

Luka T. Zagoričnik: Deepening A Confined Space

Liner notes for the album Confined Movement by Tomaž Grom and Axel Dörner

Within the context of free improvised music, a duo is always a meeting, a collision with the other - the other being partially unknown and unpredictable - therefore simultaneously combining risk and responsibility. Despite the bold pattern of a communal sound flow and harmony, this collision is embodied and constantly realized within the music. The duo’s common space isn’t confined to sound, it also includes the interweaving of individual histories, modes of expression, thinking, ideo-logies, cultural backgrounds, and aesthetic preferences as well as the social and symbolic status en-joyed by the co-musicians. Of course, in a more formal sense, it also relates to the acoustic charac-teristics of the musical or sound instruments, their technical limitations and advantages as well as the their creative approaches and principles. Within the context of the concert, all of these enter into a space defined by dispersed lines of force, with its stage and audience, the acoustic characteristics of the space, and the amplification and recording technologies that capture it, as here in the example of this present album. In this meeting, there are always remains, something that is left out from the collision, the gaps in the sound and silence, a fragile field of the predictable and unpredictable, a silent potentiality which underlines the emerging music and is embodied in the moment of creation before being transformed by the recording. This may be the field of “confined movement” from the album’s title, a space which is limited but not completely so, allowing it to widen and deepen due to its partially porous state.
Here, the Slovenian contrabass player, Tomaž Grom and German brass player Axel Dörner, present the results of their first ever concert meetings which took place in May 2019 in Slovenia (Klub Šta-la) and Italy (Dobialab). Every improvising musician is originates as a solo player, with their own sound, techniques, background and sensibility, pushed into the concept of “being alone” before joining the field of “being together”. The field of free improvisation is in a state of constant flux, slippery, divided between individualism and collectivism, between singular and plural. Throughout their musical careers, Dörner and Grom have developed their own recognizable, idiosyncratic style, their individual playing techniques and principles regarding the expansion of acoustics, as well as the dissemination and decomposition of the sound potential through electronics, leaving an imprint on stage and on sound mediums. No expression of sound emerges in a vacuum, even though it’s personal, it integrates into a wider field of different sound and musical histories as well as expres-sions, joining a line of predecessors and contemporaries. Nor does it appear from nowhere, even less so, instead it carries all their personal history and pedigree with it as it enters the collision field, that is the meeting. Sound expression within free improvised music is a form of personification; the personal sound becomes a persona, a first and last name, a person who becomes almost the only carrier of that sound each person almost becoming synonymous with the players. When transferred into the field of a duo, it can be heard as a unique assembly in which the puzzle pieces are already known, recognizable expressions forming a common sound entity, however due to its fragile nature of “being together” within a given moment, that instant of sound, this expression constantly inter-venes into the field of its own dissolution and restoration. A duo has a much more ingenious dy-namic than just the idealized embodiment of “being together”. This “being together” is always in harmony with “being alone”, constantly integrated into a shifting and subtle hierarchy of inferiority and superiority. These dynamics and relationships reveal themselves as much on the sound level as on the silent level, which encircles the entire situation, defining it and creating hierarchies within the common sound, and simultaneously its component part, although silent. This is affected by the social and symbolic backgrounds, personal characters, organizational principles, production meth-ods, conditions and support systems, the musicians’ status on the local and international scenes, the generational differences, esthetic preferences, as well as the market value and “in demand” factor. Within free improvisation, the principle of an individual in a group actually drives the fact that your status within a certain scene or market is not just determined by your own expression but also by that of your musical partner, by the other. Here, we are once again in a collision, a field of “con-fined movement” which can spread and deepen only through sound, as in the recording on this pre-sent album. It is in itself already a selection, confined in comparison to the original event, already shaped  by the taste and sounds heard by the two musicians. Tomaž Grom and Axel Dörner expand those limitations; the present album is the first ever recording of a duo with contrabass in Dörner’s rich opus, this time partially enriched with an expanded electronic sound. This deepening doesn’t just unfold in the field between the collision and harmony of two sound expressions, divided be-tween noise and tone, silence and sound, nor solely in the rhythm partitions and the colour of sound, the repetitions and patient deepening in the texture, but above all in the movement of both, between the textural, modulated tonality and progression within the sound dynamic. In this movement, the duo creates a space that allows the possibility of “being together”.

Luka T. Zagoričnik

Translated from Slovenian Mirella Habr

Cover photo: Bernhard Hinz_Design: Vesna Bukovec and Matej Stupica
Cover photo: Bernhard Hinz_Design: Vesna Bukovec and Matej Stupica

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