Dutch master flutist Mark Alban Lotz is a true musical nomad, seeming to have played with musicians from all over the world, and feeling free in any musical setting, whether it is solo performance, free or mainstream jazz, contemporary new music or African, Balkan, East-Asian or Indian traditions. Istanbul Improv Sessions May 5th documents highlights of his meeting with some of Istanbul's great exponents from its vibrant improvising scene, many of them members of the musical collective and label re:konstruKt, which co-released this album.
The ten improvisations feature Lotz in duo, trio, quartet and sextet formats. The opening "North Star," the disc's longest, features guitarist Umut Çağlar and trumpeter Can Ömer Uygan, who both add subtle electronic manipulation to their sounds, enhancing a meditative, distant drone sound that blurs and melts the sounds all three musicians produce into an otherworldly sonic entity. The trio's second improvisation, "Animal Rites," is more playful, and stresses the close interplay between Lotz and Uygan.
Three improvisations featuring Lotz with Çağlar, Uygan and clarinetist Alexandre Toisoul, cover different musical terrains: "Ursuppe" is an atmospheric sound poem, interrupted by spiky guitar lines; "Küsendem" is focused on extended techniques of producing sounds through the mouthpieces, while Çağlar injects distorted noisy sounds in between; and "Open Air Party" is an energetic, sometimes chaotic free improvisation.
All six musicians collaborate on two short improvisations. "Friction" sound as if they are testing the sonic possibilities until they take off, while "Sintactics" has a loose construction and spare rhythm, demonstrating how musical improvisation is, indeed, a common international language, regardless of musical heritage and education.
Istanbul Improv Sessions May 5th is an imaginative, surprisingly accessible and masterful demonstration of truly adventurous musical minds.
Track Listing: North Star; Animal Rites; R.R.L. Rahasaan; Ursuppe; Küsendem; Dr. No; Open air Party; Friction; Sintactics; Soroaster.
Personnel: Mark Alban Lotz: piccolo, c, alto, bass and prepared flutes; Alexandre Toisoul: clarinet; Can Ömer Uygan: trumpet, analog effects; Umut Çağlar: trumpet, analog effects; Umut Çağlar: electric guitar, analog effects; Michael Hays: upright bass; Florent Merlet: drums.