My Ears Has Got Sharp Edges
Sploh ZASCD 012

Together for five years, the close-knit improvisational aptitude Slovenian trio Trojnik exhibits on this CD affirms just how sophisticated Free Music practitioners are in locations away from the major Jazz centres. Shamefully it also confirms how little known are improvisers east of major western European centres.

Ranging through 11, mostly restrained and pictorially-titled group improvisations, My Ears Has Got Sharp Edges (sic) demonstrates the trio’s close partnership. Each member has extensive experience. Tenor saxophonist Cene Resnik for instance, has recorded brawnier sets with foreign players such as violinist Emanuele Parrini and bassist Giovanni Maier. Percussionist Vid Drašler, a member of drummer Zlatko Kaučič’s Kombo, has recorded a solo set and is also active in fusion and Rock settings. Meanwhile bassist and electronics-manipulator Tomaž Grom as well as being involved organizational matters and sound installations, has also played with the likes of French saxophonist Michel Doneda and Swiss accordionist Jonas Kocher.

There’s little indication of sound design on this CD and only fleeting doubling or challenging of acoustic timbres by electronics. As a matter of fact, like a wise driving instructor who holds back unless needed, only rarely do Grom’s voluminous string stops or cranked narrow string slices re-orient the improvisations. Drašler and Resnik on the other hand perform individual quick-change acts, at points uniting for a Balkan version of reductionism, all unaccented vibrations and single rhythmic pops; at others letting loose with accentuated textures, corporeal enough to suggest the 1960s glory days of Sunny Murray and Frank Lowe.

That sort of interface arrives on track 3, with the saxophonist overblowing a collection of volcanically fired squeaks, sparks and snorts while the percussionist appears to be emphatically hitting every resonating surface he can, although with the finesse of a probing scientist, not a distracted toddler. In stark contrast, track 6, which including undulating static-linked processed oscillations is more than lower-case improv. It’s animated by unbroken, scarcely heard reed breaths and hollow-resounding percussion strokes. Evoking a spring-loaded release from Grom’s bass, the track sounds near is ceremonial, whatever that would mean in an eastern-European context.

Trojnik’s appeal is telegraphed with these tactics, with this duality nearly always expressed on alternating tracks. Any trio that can bring jeweler-like delicacy or soccer-player-like ferocity to its material with the same prowess is worthy of celebration. More generically, even when an awkward scenario arises, as in the transition from track 8 to 9, where gentle tone squeezes give way to snarling sax vibrations, high-pitched string stretches and drum rattles, the three always maintain their distinctive tinmbral blending.

My Ears Has Got Sharp Edges appears to be Trojnik’s first recording opportunity. Hopefully the band’s progress will be able to be tracked via many more, though perhaps with more idiomatically correct English titles.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Electronic Waveform Drawing #1 2. Electronic Waveform Drawing #2 3. Electronic Waveform Drawing #3 4. Electronic Waveform Drawing #4 5. Electronic Waveform Drawing #5 6. Electronic Waveform Drawing #6 7. Electronic Waveform Drawing #7 8. Electronic Waveform Drawing #8 9. Electronic Waveform Drawing #9 10, Electronic Waveform Drawing #10 11. Electronic Waveform Drawing #11

Personnel: Cene Resnik (tenor saxophone); Tomaž Grom (bass and electronics) and Vid Drašler (drums and percussion)