TiTiTi is the Slovenian free improvising trio of reeds player Jure Boršič and the rhythm section of the Drašler brothers – double bass player Jošt and drummer Vid, who collaborated before in the Oholo! Band (Mnogobolje, Zavod Sploh, 2020), and all owe much to local hero, Zlatko Kaučič’s school of free music. The debut album of this trio, Štafelaj (painting easel), is influenced by the great and self-taught Slovenian painter Jože Tisnikar (1928-1998), best known for his paintings of ravens and dark images of the dead, funerals, landscapes and self-portraits. The title of the trio refers to the name of the painter (Ti-Ti-Ti-Ti-Tisnikar), and the cover art is the painting Muzikanti (Musicians), the last, unfinished work of Tisnikar, which remained on the master’s easel after his tragic death in a traffic accident. The album was recorded at Cankarjev dom in Vrhnika in October 2021.
The rich musical backgrounds of Boršič and the Drašlers embrace free jazz, contemporary music, free improvisation and even fusion. The trio host the like-minded multidisciplinary Serbian pianist Marina Džukljev and Slovenian poet Tomislav Vrečar. The unfinished painting of Tisnikar symbolizes the aesthetics of TiTiTi, a restless and intense search for meaning and an elusive sonic entity, that steadily meanders between tradition and freedom. It is the very essence of free improvisation, or, as poet Muanis Sinanović, who wrote the liner notes, puts it: «a humanism that knows that being a human being is precisely not fully learning what it means to be human».
As a tight unit deeply influenced by the themes of the paintings of Tisnikar, TiTiTi constantly moves between the structured and the familiar to the free and the abstract, and from the intimate and the melodic to the rough and intense. Sinanović describes this existential musical quest as «a striving for a sphere in which life is not whole without that beyond life and where that beyond life does not mean its end». «Tisnikar», with Džukljev and Vrečar, deconstructs and reconstructs the painter’s name into poetic and colorful rhythmic ideas and is the most compelling piece here, balancing beautifully between engaging ventures into ‘in’ and ‘out’, body and soul. The last, most lyrical and touching piece, «Peš (On Foot)», sounds like a farewell song for Tisnikar and is a fitting conclusion for this beautiful homage to the inspiring painter.
Jure Boršič (as, cl), Jošt Drašler (b), Vid Drašler (dr), Marina Džukljev (p), Tomislav Vrečar (v, poetry)