Monday, 9 February 2009

Blank Disc

Having started activities in 1997, Blank Disc are Srđan Muc (guitar) and Robert Roža (no-input, electronics, objects). I first met them in alliance with German saxophonist Georg Wissel under the name “Blank Disc Trio”; last summer (…sigh…) the chaps from Zrenjanin (Serbia) were kind enough to send me a couple of CDs, respectively from 2008 and 2006, which show the level of improvisational adulthood attained with a few technical means and copious doses of shrewdness.

Acoustics is defined as a “homage to Zoran Mirković”, the latter’s “Protophysics” trilogy (completely unknown to this reviewer) constituting the focal motivation behind the music comprised by the CD. We’re dealing with a brand of well-organized abstractness principally based upon the consecutiveness of savagely customized guitar tones and mystifying soundscapes in which rumbles, hums, pops and crackles carry the same weight; the whole doesn’t sound like anything even tenuously comparable, though. At one point, in the initial part of “QWERTZUI”, a truly blissful resonance – think of those grandiose chordal washes by Fred Frith - opens up in awe-inspiring fashion but is instantly scratched by a weird electronic interference, almost to break a magic spell with a touch of irony. This is an exemplification of the “never say never” mindset of the nice pair, whose clear-sightedness in terms of juxtaposition of unusually suggestive timbres renders this humble-yet-significant recording a first-rate introduction to their musical aesthetic.

XII contains four tracks as a duo and three as a trio (not with Wissel: the saxophone duties are in fact handled – rather cleverly - by Andrej Gigić). This record is (slightly) less “abnormal”, not so oriented towards infiniteness and, in a way, more concrete than Acoustics, yet attention-grabbing nonetheless. Crippled shapes and peg-legged manipulations of the strings appear as distant from chaos as a previously delineated scheme; most of this music sounds at least to some extent composed despite its unrestricted freedom, inventiveness channelled in a logical astuteness that transforms every little event into something to observe and file conscientiously in the archive of our unaware reminiscence. Again, no useful association came to mind over the course of several spins: what better compliment to accentuate individuality?

Blank Disc’s work justify serious consideration: in spite of a relative unfamiliarity, their artistic vision leads to states of indispensable pureness that many “names” just dream about.