What happens when the voice is not used as a voice and the guitar is not used as a guitar? In a nutshell what happens when voice and guitar are not used idiomatically? It happens that we enter unknown and exciting territories where the combinations and possibilities can be infinite with the the most disparate results.
Let’s start with the album released by the trio composed by Roomet Jakapi (voice / electronics), Niels Preastholm (bass / electronics) and Mart Soo (guitar / electronics), their CD Beek!, made by Improtest Records in November 2019, was one of the last breaths of fresh air in 2019.
Beek! is a record that creates an alienating sensation for the listener, the voice does not sing a text and the music does not accompany it in the canonical sense of the term. There is no song form and it is not clear if this music is born from free improvisation or if the trio follows a text composed in a rigorous and detailed manner.
All three instruments (voice, bass and guitar) are pushed to the extreme limits of their sonic credentials, their sonic combination seems the result of more than an instantaneous and unavailable interplay, something telepathic that smells of pure 360 degree experimentation. Electronics play an important role here, it is used as a fourth destabilizing and at the same time unifying element, a glue and a multiplier of the ideas that are invented by the three musicians. It is a very compact choral album. Really interesting.
Something similar happens with Iva Bittova and Paolo Angeli. Here experimentation, folk, Mediterranean and Balkan music and improvisation come together in something unique that bewitches and touches our souls. “Sul Filo” is a record in continuous suspension, not surprisingly recorded in concert, a sort of “best of” extracted from several live moments between 2015 and 2017.
Paolo Angeli is as always struggling with his prepared Sardinian guitar from which he has now managed to derive a simply incredible arsenal of sounds. Iva Bittova is divided between her violin and her voice which she uses as a real instrument. Here too, electronics play an important role. It is used as a multiplying factor of sounds and ideas, it is present, but it is not intrusive. It is a record that has a European flavor, but where geography becomes liquid, mobile and changing.
Folk, ethnic and popular elements that are different and distant from each other thousands of kilometers come together, merge and collide on a precarious and exciting game. Here too improvisation and interplay become decisive and, at the same time, guarantee an alienating geographical phenomenon and combine world music and avant-garde, ethnomusicology and experimentation in an exciting and amiable mix. Don’t miss it!
More about Mart Soo:
- When the melody goes beyond sentimentalism and becomes a positive thing: Mart Soo’s Kulg and Kulg II
- Voice and guitars, two examples of possible contemporaneity: Beek! by Jakapi-Praestholm-Soo and Sul Filo by Iva Bittova and Paolo Angeli
- Three Free Radicals: avangarde ambient music, Scott L. Miller & Mart Soo
- “Sõnastik” by Weekend Guitar Trio, Bella Musica, 1995