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Banausoi — Imagines
(Circum-Disc microcidi022, 2021, CD / LP)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2021-07-28Imagines is the opening full-length salvo for this amazing Czech-Slovak trio (yes, members from both countries are here), and for fans of avant-progressive improvisation this should be the Rx that delivers the goods in vital quantities without overdose. They have only been together a couple years, and because of the pandemic, they haven’t played out that much (the Hear Me! Festival and a few other dates) but instead spent most of their time holed up in the studio recording this debut LP, which came out in May 2021. The band is Petr Vrba on trumpet, clarinet, and electronics, Václav Šafka playing drums and percussion, and Ondrej Zajac on guitar and voice, although there are no vocals per se — this is an instrumental endeavor beginning to end, so the voice must be controlling something else that doesn’t sound like voice at all. The six song titles seem to be inspired by Greek mythology, though when the listener is confronted with their free-improv style that really doesn’t make a lot of difference — their music is what it is. The nine minute opener “Aeneas Tacticus” is one amazing journey, and certainly not as abrasive as some improv-based music can get, the nuanced turns and twists as the piece goes forward makes for a truly interesting listen, building slowly until at its midpoint seems to erupt into a chaos of drums and screaming guitars, with the trumpet carrying a slow evolving melody behind it all, eventually dying down as the journey’s end approaches. With “Periegesis,” another nine-minute monster, droning electronics backs the sound of clarinet and an interesting drum pattern as the guitar slowly makes its presence known. There are interesting periodical howls throughout, punctuating a more gentle overall sound, perhaps some electronic artifact or effected guitar is responsible. A more experimental and abstract sensibility is on offer throughout “Dialogues of the Dead,” stretching time and space as bizarre sounds populate the fractured foreground. The mysterious droning throughout portions of “Phaenomena” almost sounds like massed bowed strings, with the clarinet and guitar offering a gentle repose as it unfolds. Imagines offers an open window into new ways of appreciating innovative sounds.
Related artist(s): Banausoi
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