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Album Review

Liudas Mockūnas & Arvydas Kazlauskas: Purvs

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Liudas Mockūnas & Arvydas Kazlauskas: Purvs
Purvs is a collaboration between two outstanding Lithuanian saxophone players, Liudas Mockūnas and Arvydas Kazlauskas. Despite being friends for a long time they have never played together before.

The album was made in two parts. The first recording took place in the autumnal splendour of Latvian marshland, the second in an ampitheatre made of peat, named Saulgrieži (Solstice) and created by Latvian artist Janis Gutans-Grass. Two remarkable places to make a record, which is also special in that the titles of the compositions are written in three languages—Latvian, Lithuanian and Old Prussian. It's a symbolic way to commemorate the past the and the present of the Baltic nations.

The album begins with Liudas playing into water and Arvydas accompanying him on baritone sax. It's a pleasant reminiscence of Liudas diptych called Hydro. By the way, composition Strāuwa starts with a fragment particularly from the first volume of Hydro. And this is not the only inclusion from the past. Šmėkla ends with a melody of composition Ghost Saga composed by Liudas back in 2006.

In fact, Purvs dovetails nicely with nature and not just because of water. Due to being recorded outdoors, gusts of wind can be heard. These windy notes make the record exceptionally vibrant. Furthermore, the duo's phrasing and timbre often sounds more like birds singing or animals roaring than regular saxophone performances.

Analysis of Liudas and Arvydas album based only on scales or chords perspective would not be an appropriate approach. Essentially, the album is about sound itself. The compositions, for the most part, are not bounded by conventional structures or time signatures but focus on the exploration of sound, embracing an exceptionally wide dynamic range in the process. This is particularly clear on such tracks as Taka or Urwan, which gravitate towards field recording and noise aesthetic instead of being limited by free jazz rules. At the same time, Purvs also characterized by fairly conventional compositions such as nostalgic bluesy track Madla.

Purvs is truly unforgettable. We have heard duos such as John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, Mats Gustaffson and Colin Stetson, Anthony Braxton and Evan Parker. But Liudas and Arvydas open the gates to a new space for fresh and unique sound, a new chapter in the history of saxophone music.

Track Listing

Atavaras; Gilluwā; Taka; Madla; Urwan; Duobe; Deja; Drugys; Turbs; Šmekla; Zilās Sūnas; Strāuwa; Gyvatyne; Kupsts

Personnel

Liudas Mockūnas: saxophone; Arvydas Kazlauskas: saxophone.

Additional Instrumentation

Liudas Mockūnas: sopranino, soprano, tenor, bass and keyless overtone saxophones. Arvydas Kazlauskas: soprano, alto and baritone saxophones.

Album information

Title: Purvs | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Jersika Records


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