Music is still one of the best options when we need to escape from daily reality, especially the current one of the repeated Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns. Serbian pianist-educator Marina Džukljev has used music to solidify bonds with like-minded, creative and resourceful European musicians during the last year. She is an active performer in the fields of free improvisation, classical, contemporary and applied music, member of fellow-Serbian violist and double bass player Szilárd Mezei ensembles (quartet, septet, tentet and the large ensemble), and collaborator of innovative European free-improvisers, including percussionist Vasco Trilla, vocalist Isabelle Duthoit, cellist Tristan Honsinger and electronics player Christof Kurzmann.
Last year Džukljev released two albums that documented remote, improvised sessions conducted from her home in Novi Sad with Berlin-based Danish sax player Mia Dyberg («Circumscription», 2020) and with Dyberg and Austrian drummer Rudi Fischerlehner («Diving Bell», 2020). «Štrudel»is the third album in this series of remote recordings, capturing a free-improvised session from October 2020 with Viennese turntablist dieb13 (aka Dieter Kovačič), known from his collaborations with Mats Gustafsson, Ken Vandermark and audio-visual artist-partner Billy Roisz. The title, «Štrudel», refers, obviously, to the much loved Austrian and Serbian delicacy, but it also means a maelstrom in German.
And, indeed, «Štrudel» offers a unique series of delicate sonic maelstroms, all corresponding with the current confusing and unsettling times. Džukljev plays a prepared piano and creates delicate vibrations with objects and sticks attached to the piano strings, later expanded by minimalist and repetitive gestures, some are gamelan-sounding and ripples-like and others are more urgent and loud ones. dieb13 intensifies these reverberating storms with layers of vibrating sounds of his own – sampled, manipulated and processed from three turntables. There are times when it is difficult to know who is doing what, and more importantly, when the acoustic sounds or the rhythmic patterns are extended organically by the sampled and processed ones, and vice versa. Other times, dieb13 sounds like injecting a sober, ironic perspective to Džukljev’s attempt to discipline this session in a ritualist form.
Trust this arresting and most tasteful «Štrudel».
dieb13 (turntables, klopfer); Marina Džukljev (prep. p.)