Danish sax player-free-improviser-educator Lotte Anker needs no introduction. Still, the discography of this master musician is, unfortunately, not as rich and extensive as the ones of other male, European free-improvisers in her calibre. Therefore an album as «Plodi» gives many reason for celebration. This album features the refined art of Anker at its best, in different halls and settings.
«Plodi» was recorded at the Slovenian Brda Contemporary Music Festival in the village Šmartno on September 2016. The first three pieces feature Anker playing solo at the local 19th century Saint Martin’s church, designed by notable Viennese architect Otto Wagner. Anker uses wisely the reverberating qualities of the church’s hall to sketch loose narratives comprised with fragmented phrases, patiently weaving these echoing, vibrating phrases into coherent textures. Each of these free-improvised pieces has a distinct character. The first one is more dense and expressive. The second one has an almost reverent tone. Anker employs different extended breath techniques to create a quiet and minimalist piece. The third piece distills Anker experience from the previous improvisations to suggest a beautiful, surprisingly melodic piece that makes full usage of the resonating hall of the church.
The next four improvisations are duets with local Slovenian, idiosyncratic drummer-percussionist Zlatko Kaučič, recorded at local house of culture. Kaučič is known from his collaborations with master European improvisers as double bass players Barry Guy and Joëlle Léandre, reeds player Ab Baars and pianist Agustí Fernández. Anker and Kaučič connect organically, enjoying the intuitive, immediate adventure of simply following and sharing sounds, in the most generous manner possible. On the first improvisation both experiment with different dynamic before bursting with an energetic, fiery duet. The second improvisation has an enigmatic tone. Anker and Kaučič sound as sonic shamans preparing some mysterious, potent ritual. The third improvisation shifts the ritualistic dimensions, dictated now by Kaučič thunderous pulse, to a fast string of dense, uncompromising sonic collisions. The fourth and last duo improvisation with Kaučič resumes the experimental mode of the first one, but now both Anker and Kaučič enjoy the playful, highly inventive interplay that they have been solidifying throughout this meeting.
The last improvisations, still in the same location, brings together the duo of Anker and Kaučič with Polish acoustic bass guitarist Rafal Mazur and trumpeter Artur Majewski. Mazur and Majewski collaborated before on many recordings, including a recent one with Agustí Fernández. This piece begins with minimalist, loose sonic searches. Slowly the four musicians settle on a faster, energetic dynamics and conclude this piece with an ecstatic storm.
Lotte Anker: (s), Zlatko Kaučič (dr, perc), Rafal Mazur (bg), Artur Majewski (tp)