STEVAN TICKMAYER: Gaps, Absences.
A beautifully recorded and produced cycle of pieces that combine complexity and precision with rich and unfamiliar timbres. The ensemble pieces amplify and enrich a core piano with various combinations of harmonium, double bass, violin, percussion, Hungarian zither, citara bassa, bowed cymbals, alto clarinet, melodica, sampler and field recordings, all sparsely but powerfully deployed. This is a deep and powerful music with both crystalline clarity and cinematic low frequency power. And no fat or redundancy. By combining the edgy presence of acoustic instrumental performance with the width and depth of electroacoustic processing, it confounds all genre typing; it’s fiendishly complex but it grips like a thriller as it unfolds and twists, in ten dense chapters. It’s that rare thing today, a living music. Born and schooled in Novy Sad, in the former Jugoslavia, Tickmayer can safely be counted amongst the best of that late generation of east block composers who combined a fearsome education with an aesthetic that drew even-handedly on the most austere contemporary music, free jazz, rock and ’60s electronics. Above all this, a CD of prodigious performances and great imagination.