Serbian violist Szilard Mezei trio with double bassist Ervin Malina and drummer/percussionist Istvan Csik, in two extended works that blend seemingly chaotic approaches to improvisation with subtle and spacious playing, a tremendous achievement.
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Label: Aural Terrains
Catalog ID: TRRN1031
Squidco Product Code: 21985
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at Studio Vilenjak, Novi Sad, February 23rd & 24th, 2010 by Sasa Milankov.
Istvan CsikŠdrums, percussion
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1. Secret Life 29:26
2. Valiants At The Depot (No answer) 25:26
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"Escorted by loyal comrades Ervin Malina on double bass and István Csík on drums and percussion, violist Szilárd Mezei gives yet another demonstration of critical profundity in a work where earnest inspiration stays unhindered by technically advanced elaborations. A virtuoso as humble as the little knight from Vojvodina is currently pretty hard to find: endowed with a supernatural control of the arco, capable of eliciting thousands of diversely shaded harmonics, aware of the "intrinsic flow" at any moment. The democratic leader of variously populated ensembles still exudes the authority of an educated investigator of atmospheres, cultures and traditions, subsequently merged in unique sets of flexible rules.
Secret Public consists of two tracks lasting respectively 29 and 25 minutes. "Titkos Élet" begins with frantically bowed strings, Mezei and Malina looking for combinations of impulses, partials and particulars as Csík examines the subtlest nuances of his percussive arsenal with light brush touches. The tense feeling inevitably produces an escalation, broken by a collected drum solo followed by the trio's reaffirmation of the initial instability. However, things quieten down after a while, just like rain diminishing its intensity towards the end of a storm. A perceived uneasiness turns into veritable richness thanks to Mezei's atonal agility, the latter providing guidelines for a disciplined use of unusual intervals, both in the collective segments and during the solitary disquisitions (including Malina's). This is music that silently incites to think differently, growing stronger as the time elapses.
"Vitézek A Lerakóhelyen (Nincs Válasz)" - dedicated to Serbian writer Danilo Kiš - displays a mere fraction of the preceding agitation. Its large part feeds in fact on melodic variations over a lean pulse occasionally shaped as a fixed bass vamp. The lights are relatively dimmer here, but the group's dissonant poetry remains in absorbing evidence, notwithstanding brief upsurges of fervency delivering the composition from any trace of schematism. The finale, a fascinating rallentando, finds the performers scattering pitches and gentle noises with gradually decreasing frequency. Silence falls; the lingering scents are strong."-Massimo Ricci, The Squid's Ear
"Born 1974 in Senta, Serbia (then Yugoslavia) as a member of the Hungarian minority in the multiethnic region of Vojvodina. Completed his violin studies in Senta and Subotica and studied composition for four years at the University of Arts in Beograd under prof. Zoran Eric. His orchestra plays contemporary improvised music, mostly performing his own compositions. As a composer, Mezei is interested in exploring the relationship between improvisation and composition (similarly to Witold Lutoslawski's aleatoric and Anthony Braxton's creative music methods), incorporating elements of jazz and authentic folk music as well. As a young musician he followed the path of B.Bartók and Gy.Szabados. Mezei is also very actively involved in composing scenic music (among others with Josef Nadj). He has released CDs with labels like Leo Records, Not Two, Creative Sources, Red Toucan. Played so far with musicians/improvisors like Matthias Schubert, Tamás Geröly, Róbert Benkő, György Szabados, Tim Hodgkinson, Albert Márkos, Peter Ole Jörgensen, Jens Balder, Joe Fonda, Michael Jefry Stevens, Joelle Leandre, Hamid Drake, Herb Robertson, Frank Gratkowski, Charles Gayle. His writings on music have been published in many journals and magazines in Former-Yugoslavia and Hungary."-Aural Terrains
At The Squid's Ear!