Uruguayan guitarist Santiago Bogacz, who sometimes goes by the stage name of Matador, is an inquisitive sonic explorer with a versatile creative vision. Bogacz uses a range of folk influences and styles to enhance his genre-bending solos without sacrificing his spontaneity. On his few duet outings he has proven to be an intrepid improviser, and does so again on this contemplative album.
Joining Bogacz is the Czech-Pakistani saxophonist Salim Javaid. The camaraderie is seamless. The opener "El nuevo tema" is a dialogue of almost zen quietude. Bogacz's strings chime and reverberate in sparse chords as Javaid counters with flittering notes. Even when their musings flirt with dissonance the piece remains captivatingly serene. With delightful elegance, the two men push the boundaries of their respective instruments,uncovering layers of sonic colors and emotions.
Such a poignant start does not mean, however, that the momentum slacks during the remainder of the album. "Unmixed, Unshared" for instance is an energetic stream of consciousness conversation that is simultaneously reserved and provocative. Javaid's mournful and meandering saxophone lines simmer with passion within Bogacz's shimmering and angular phrases. The tune is, perhaps, the most unfettered on this otherwise free-flowing release as it allows the musicians to showcase their individual musical personalities, that are synergistic but also feed off one another.
Joining the Bogacz and Javaid on three tracks is the like-minded Belgian pianist Marlies Debacker. The dramatic "Muchos Nombres" features Debacker percussing and manipulating both the keyboard and the insides of her piano. To this Javaid contributes melancholic squawks and wistful honks and Bogacz strums and plucks a crystalline melody. As the mood becomes darker the overlapping extemporizations grow in angst and depth concluding on a solemn tone.
Recorded in Cologn, Germany where Debacker and Javaid reside the album is a mature work of improvised music. Although it is definitely cerebral and requires immersive listening, it also packs a visceral punch and is lyrical and poetic. It is, without a doubt, Bogacz's best disc to date and it introduces two equally talented and imaginative artists who deserve wider recognition.
El nuevo tema; I.II; Subsol Soup; Unmixed, unshared; Espacios entre medio; 2 años después; II.I; Muchos
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