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På skive



The first recorded duet of German reeds player Frank Gratkowski and Austrian pianist Elisabeth Harnik was captured of all places in Canberra, Australia during the SoundOut festival in February 2020. This duo of experienced composers-improvisers-sonic explorers, often focuses on creating multifaceted, interdisciplinary, and genre-bending works and continue to perform even these days.

The title «Burrum-bah» refers to «Where the kangaroo, the wallaby, bounces over the rocks» in the local language of the Ngunnawal peoples of Canberra. This title visualizes the hyperkinetic spirit of this free-improvised meeting, where both musicians keep bouncing ideas around. During this 25-minutes live recording, Gratkowski and Harnik never suggest a conventional phrase, coherent narrative, or familiar dynamics.

The two pieces, «Macropus giganteus» (eastern grey kangaroo) and «Cacatua galerita» (sulfur-crested cockatoo native to Australian region), are an inspired free-improvisation where the risk-taking and invention senses of both musicians make beautiful use of the extended technique. Gratkowski and Harnik converse in a natural, imaginative and colorful lingo of their own, full of passion, intelligence and eccentric humor. Gratkowski’s alto sax is often turned into an advanced wind machine that produces an array of expressive sounds and human voices and Harnik’s piano into a complex of highly resonant and sensual, percussive sounds.

Their interplay is so nuanced and quite often you may wonder where one idea began or finished as so much fascinating musical, intellectual, and emotional information is being exchanged at every given moment.

Eyal Hareuveni 

Frank Gratkowski (as, v), Elisabeth Harnik (p, v)

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