Japanese pianist-composer matched Polish, Kraków-based sax player Paulina Owczarek and French, Lille-based Peter Orins (who plays with Fujii in the KAZE quartet) when she invited them to play in the Satoko Fujii Orchestra Berlin. A few more concerts and two records of the Orchestra later, and in 2019, Owczarek, who is the founder and conductor of Krakow Improvisers Orchestra, an ensemble dedicated to conducted improvisation, and once a member of London Improvisers Orchestra, invited Orins, one of the founders of the musicians-collective Muzzix and the Circum Disc label, to play a solo concert in Kraków. At the same time, Owczarek and Orins also tried the duo format.
«You Never Know» was recorded two years later, in February 2021 at la malterie arts center in Lille. Orins mixed, edited and did the graphic design of the album. This album reflects Owczarek and Orins’ focus on the patient investigation of timbres, sonic experiments and resourceful extended breathing and percussive techniques as well as their fondness of total freedom from any genre conventions. Owczarek plays the alto sax (she also plays the baritone sax) and Orins employs his frum set as a sonic playground with many objects.
The title of the album captures faithfully the unpredictable and risk-taking approaches of Owczarek and Orins. The first of five free improvisations, «What Might Happen», sketches an abstract and ethereal ambiance comprised of almost silent breaths and minimalist squeaks of objects. The following extended «How People Behave» builds on the minimalist and abstract textures but slowly and methodically ornaments it with more tangible sounds and delicate melodic veins. The short «On Anything» dives back into abstract, sparse and minimalist territories, but the extended «Three Rules That Live» patiently releases the raw energy of this duo and briefly relates to the saxophone-drum duo in the legacy of free jazz. Owczarek and Orins close their challenging meeting with «In The House Next Door», which begins in a typical austere and cryptic manner but surprises with a playful rhythmic coda.
Paulina Owczarek (as), Peter Orins (dr)