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    Details – SARIANI

    Since launching in 2018, Pieter Jansen’s yeyeh label has excelled at delivering unusual and inspired collaborations between artists who have never worked together before. Jansen’s desire to bring together musicians, composers and producers from different disciplines – for example classical Theremin player Carolina Eyck and previously club-focused electronic musician Eversines, or legendary Dutch jazz singer Greetje Bijma and off-kilter ambient artist Oceanic – has resulted in some genuinely magical, transformative and unusual music that defies categorization. To continue the series, the Amsterdam-based curator and label owner has looked East to the Polish jazz underground.

    ‘Sariani’, yeyeh’s latest collaborative release, brings together two stalwarts of Poland’s vibrant experimental jazz scene: saxophonist and composer Jerzy Mączyński, who impressed with his 2019 debut album ‘Jerry&ThePelicanSystem’ and Waclaw Zimpel, a much-travelled clarinet player whose most recent releases cleverly combine the slowly shifting electronic textures of ambient with his deep-rooted love of experimental and free-jazz.

    ‘Sariani’ has its origins in the friendship between Mączyński and Zimpel that developed during the early stages of the global Coronavirus pandemic. After many happy hours spent discussing life, music and Indian culture – the latter a shared interest that would shape future recording sessions – Mączyński offered Zimpel the chance to join forces on what he initially intended to be his second solo album. Over the eight months that followed, recording sessions in two separate Warsaw studios saw the set – a far-sighted meditation on Mączyński’s travels to India – develop into a genuinely collaborative production and a unified artistic vision.

    The pair lay down a marker on opener ‘Raga or Raga’, a musical translation of the Book of Rag where increasingly expressive saxophone – a mixture of undulating, stretched-out solos and droning motifs – metamorphose as the track progresses, cleverly matching the increasing intensity of the trance-inducing modular electronics that bubble beneath before surging forwards towards a breathless conclusion. You’ll find a similar musical narrative – albeit with bolder free-jazz notes and more intense electronics – on the album’s closing track, ‘Pools Games’.

    ‘Temple of Jetsu’, an especially spiritual composition, fuses the melodic cycles of classic minimalism with similarly slowly unfurling electronic motifs and luscious ambient textures, while the title track – a meditation on the plight of women in India – delivers a beautiful but sometimes uneasy mix of densely layered minor-key sax sounds, exotic and intoxicating solos, off-kilter electronic rhythms and enveloping synthesizer textures.

    Guest musician Szymon Wójcik, who had previously travelled to Nepal with Mączyński, provides glistening guitar textures on ‘Everest Inn’, a kind of musical translation of a Himalayan sunrise. Like the track that follows, the tactile, soft-touch joy of ‘Katakhali Masks’, ‘Everest Inn’ offers a new blueprint for ambient jazz. It’s this distinctive musical fusion – the acoustic and the electronic combined with the mystical and far-sighted – that marks out Mączyński and Zimpel’s first collaborative work. It’s a genuinely revelatory and intoxicating album.

     

     

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