To keep the train on the track during the Covid lockdowns, artists must think outside the box. Such is the case with this first volume of duets performed by renowned Slovenian guitarist Samo Salamon and European guitarists via the Internet by using web-based meeting programs and file-sharing processes. And besides performing on acoustic and electric guitars, Salamon incorporates a Moog synth on several tracks, largely used for textural backdrops. He also uses the body of his acoustic as a percussion instrument.
Many of these musicians are well-known in Europe and the US as each player projects a distinct style along with tidbits of indigenous music extracted from their respective homelands. No doubt, several of these Salamon composed works are executed with ferocity and gusto, evident from the first piece featuring Austrian guitar hero Alex Machacek's scorching single note flurries on the opener, "Miss Sarcasm." However, Turkish artiste Cenk Erdogan's fretless ax on "Crooswijk" provides a slinky and tangy soundstage, sparking a romantic flair, infused with inward-looking thematic forays and classical overtures within a multi- rhythmic format atop the leader's sweeping synth lines.
ECM Records artist Jacob Young's placid phrasings with Salamon on acoustic guitar elicits imagery of the duo performing on an expansive field with mountains decorating the perimeter. Young's medium-toned soloing complements the Salamon's brusque acoustic chord voicings, as they amp it up during the bridge with elements of folk jazz injected into the mix. But prog rock with jazz clauses highlight "Seven Cats," featuring Serbian guitarist Dusan Jevtovic's swift flurries, augmented by Salamon's corpulent lower register Moog parts. Here, the twosome punches it out with fire-breathing improv and good-natured mayhem. And "Monked" is a genial spin on Thelonious Monk-isms, costarring Swiss guitarist Philipp Schaufelberger, complete with odd time signatures and witty intricacies along with a simulated Monk-like piano run, performed on guitar of course.
At the time of this writing, the second volume of this series has been released. In general terms, this inaugural outing is primarily genre neutral, although the artists do cover a provocative crossbreed of stylizations amid their superb interplay and clever detours exhibited throughout Salamon's engaging compositions.
Miss Sarcasm; Nightmare; Crooswijk; Awkwardly Placed; Coalition of the Mistaken; Looking Back;
Maine; Seven Cats; Not Too Late, Not Too Soon; Monked; Northern Wind.