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Zlatko Kaucic: Tolminski Punt

Budd Kopman By

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Tolminski Punt is a very intense work from drummer/percussionist Zlatko Kaucic, taking its inspiration from a peasant revolt in the city of Tolmin in 1713. Actually the culmination of a long series of uprisings caused by issues like taxation and repression, this particular revolt was brutally crushed by the Imperial army, its leaders beheaded.

The question that arises when an artist asks the listener to accept the connection between the abstraction of music and a concrete place or happening is whether the music can stand alone, apart from its inspiration. For this work, the answer is most definitely yes, although attempting to listen and pretend to not know the music's background feels strange.

Kaucic is not afraid of presenting unconventional music as Golden Boat 2 (Splasc(H), 2006) and Pav (Splasc(H), 2007) demonstrate. Tolminski Punt is a unified work employing the forces of a string section (Rahela Grasselli: violin, Barbara Žorž and Eva Julija Rečnik: cello) and special guest Peter Brötzmann, who plays tenor saxophone, clarinet and tarogato.

Emotions such as sorrow, rage and anger can be identified as well as physical fighting and its aftermath. However, mentally removing the associations and just listening to the sounds brings the music's structure and movement to the fore. The first four, short sections (Punts 1-4) are scored for just percussion and strings, using techniques such as glissandos and tremolos along with various degrees of line independence. That the strings can be heard as people discussing their abject condition is almost beside the point.

"Punt #5," at almost forty minutes, takes up more than half of the seventy-six minute program. Brötzmann, known for his unstoppable power, crushing tone and inexhaustible energy presents the expected from the moment he begins, closely followed by Kaucic to produce a vast wave of sound. However, he also becomes plaintive and melodic during the sections when he plays tarogato and clarinet.

This kind of unscripted, intense emoting might seem to easily become mere unstructured blowing, but Brötzmann knows what he is about and presents ideas and development to lead us forward. Kaucic pushes and pulls him as the two become one. The crowd, obviously knowing and feeling the historic referent with a deep cultural pride and independence, responds strongly to this musical incarnation.

Punts 6 & 7 take up twenty minutes and feel like a natural release and response from the previous intensity. The strings return, now sounding plaintive and anguished, while Brötzmann actually wails at times. While the music can be heard as the shock following the crushed rebellion, again the music stands on its own.

Gauging the audience's response at the end of the performance, Tolminski Punt succeeded in making a strong impact through the mix of structured and free emotional sound—the definition of music.

Track Listing: Tolminski Punt #1; Tolminski Punt #2; Tolminski Punt #3; Tolminski Punt #4; Tolminski Punt #5; Tolminski Punt #6; Tolminski Punt #7.

Personnel: Zlatko Kau?i?: drums, percussion; Peter Br�tzmann: tenor saxophone, clarinet, tarogato; Rahela Grasselli: violin; Barbara �or�: cello; Eva Julija Re?nik: cello.

Title: Tolminski Punt | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Splasc(H) Records

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