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Ecstasy Project Trio: Realium

Michael McCaw By

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If the Ecstasy Project Trio recorded for a label along the lines of Thirsty Ear rather than Polish Jazz, the group would surely garner some worthwhile press attention in the US. Nonetheless, with releases like Realium this may be a mute point before too long.

Featuring instrumentation that varies from moment to moment but centering around violin, bass, and drums, Lukasz Gorewicz, Patryk Weclawek, and Rafal Gorzycki create music that may not be as stylistically "out" as many Thirsty Ear projects are—however, they do achieve a similar musical amalgamation that bridges modern musical aesthetics with an established medium. Gorzycki describes the project as "the way to peace and harmony. A retreat from the avant-garde and the music achieves this aesthetic but does not rest there. These players are well aware of where different genres of music have been and what they have accomplished. They are also well aware of where they are interested in taking their style of music and how to utilize these various elements to achieve it.

Although Gorzycki provides all the compositions, classically trained violinist/guitarist/pianist Gorewicz provides a lot of the calculated aural impetus. His keyboard playing can easily be identified as a relative of electronic chill music or drum 'n' bass—as can many of the bass parts—and his violin playing usually provides a lyrical arc that exemplifies the moods of Gorcycki's compositions, from heartfelt elongated tones to dissonant passages.

The key to success here, though, is the way the recording is layered and the way it uses space between instruments and passages in a fashion similar to the so-called "ECM sound." And in the end, the compositions entitled "Realium 1-8," carry the weight of all these references beautifully.

The album is a journey, opening with a dirge-like organ sound that builds like an electronic piece of music to "Realium 5," which opens with strummed guitar backed by snare rolls that provide a light propulsive groove. As the music moves forward, the violin enters to state a theme, followed by a wah-wah guitar solo that never betrays the time or feel of the song but seemingly lifts the track and lunges it forward. Gorewicz is leading here once again, featured on both guitar and violin, and he does so with grace and vigor. Throughout, the band bridges silence, avant leanings, and unabashed lyricism, pacing and molding a consistently engaging and thoughtful album.

Gorzycki took over a year to craft this recording, and the results reflect a shifting landscape of sound that can be identified as part of numerous musical contexts. Even within the same song, instruments flow to and from the foreground with a sense of pacing and spatial design. And while the settings are varied, Gorzycki's violin provides the real arc, sometimes plaintive, other times dissonant, but always reflective of his surroundings. Ultimately this is a unique album which ought to be particularly rewarding for listeners interested in discovering what jazz and its many variants have to offer outside of the US.

Visit Ecstasy Project on the web.

Track Listing: Realium 1; Realium 2; Realium 3; Realium 4; Realium 5; Realium 6; Realium 7; Realium 8.

Personnel: Rafal Gorzycki: drums and electronics; Lukasz Gorewicz: violin, guitar, piano; Patryk Weclawek: acoustic and electric bass.

Title: Realium | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Polish Jazz

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