(Another Timbre)

Slovakian Adrián Demoč, born in 1985, is an artist who observes, learns, broods, maybe suffers in silence sometimes. The pieces emanating from his impressions of aliveness are nourished by carefully selected instrumental voices, their movements in general quite intelligible to a trained ear. However, those combinations are anything but simplistic or frail. As one is settled in minimalistic suavity, it is not uncommon to be awakened by a dissonant flow that, more than a “disturbance”, seems to represent a reminder of the materiality from which a sensitive person frequently tries to escape. The title track, lasting nearly 20 minutes and cleverly placed in the middle of the program, is a fine representation of that evocative realism.

Three of the four scores are performed by Apartment House (Reiad Chibah, viola; Mark Knoop, piano; Heather Roche, clarinet; Mira Benjamin, violin; James Opstad, double bass). The fourth — the rather mysterious “Lešenie K Zahĺbeniu” — features a number of students of Brno’s Janáček Academy of Music. The album’s sonorities describe a twilight-like dynamic course, possibly symbolizing our fading will to comprehend at all costs. The pellucid melancholy transpiring from the beautiful opener “Ma Fin Est Mon Commencement” is progressively replaced by overlapping timbres generating tenuous clusters and spurious vibrations, alternating with quieter spots where memories of the preceding difficulties linger on. In such junctures, even the shortest pitches can weigh as boulders on the listener’s doubtful expectation. The two-part “…Mit Simon Und Jürg (Und Philip Ist Auch…)” represents the opposite extreme of what initially appeared as clear as pristine seawater, privileging a nebulous contiguity over the identification of distinct contrapuntal paths facilitating a brain’s relief.

Demoč is open to the hypothesis that the music itself is what dictates meanings perhaps not originally intended by its engenderer. As far as the individual receivers are concerned, changes in mood, lucidity, and even weather may be reflected in greater or lesser perceptual openness to the sonic implications. Of one thing we can be sure, though: Hlaholika does not contain a single note thought out or written in a superficial or hasty manner. It conveys a reserved, almost resigned profundity whose repercussions abundantly repay, in the long run, the efforts to come to terms with its lack of immediate disclosures.

Contriving a review during a writer’s block, a cyclical occurrence for this swiftly ageing man, is in itself exhausting. If, moreover, the writer in question faces a recording not exactly throwing light on its mysteries — that’s the case of Hlaholika — the risk of reaching a crisis level becomes tangible. As it often happens the sounds themselves came to our rescue, faithfully detailing a few states of mind that the composer wanted in some way to share, without hiding any feeling.