I review the Scott Robinson / Frank Kimbrough Afar CD this month (here) with this similar disc, Záhadná, by saxist Robinson and keyboardist Emil Viklickýy. The Afar critique will fill you in on Robinson's background, but I first ran across Viklický in a treasured 1980 vinyl release featuring him, Bill Frisell when he was in his crazy-as-Fripp period (although he occupied a Larry Carlton turn of mind here), Kermit Driscoll, Vinton Johnson, and Jan Beranek. The LP was titled Okno (Window) and is VERY hard to find in vinyl but was re-released on CD along with Dvere (Door) on the same disc, though that twofer may well be out of print now as well. Sigh! Why is it some of the coolest music is the hardest to find while the junk can be stumbled over day in and day out?
As with Afar, Záhadná is not at all for everyone, just the hard-core, the eccentrics, and the loons, the last of which I count myself among. Completely spontaneous improv but thankfully not once under the most extreme noiseur pretension of never sounding at all musical, this is actually work of a very high caliber oft whimsically or impulsively wrought and then instantaneously cybernetically transmitted, ideas and directions ceaselessly bouncing back and forth, subject to abrupt intermittent eruptions or vacancies, both of which work beautifully. I have to say this kinda stuff fascinates the hell out of me, and, when I start listening to it, I can't stop, so I'll also throw on Lol Coxhill, Paul Bley, Greg Mills, Jarrett's piano solos, Capt. Beefheart, or even Terje Rypdal. The Dark Ones will explain that last reference, a cross between Rypdal and moody Impressionism, but it also calls back to the disc's title, which means "mysterious, eerie", and Viklický more than once sounds like the Phantom of the Opera when he jumps on the organ, Robinson waxing plaintive and spacey above and beneath.
When I interviewed guitarist Kevin Kastning, he asserted, quite rightly, that all music is improvisation, considering that you start with nothing and make songs in the same way a graphic artist starts with blank paper and creates/improvs from the moment the pencil touches the white surface. Záhadná is way beyond that, but it embodies a paradox once wittily laid out by actor Christopher Walken when he responded to a question, saying "No, improvising is wonderful, but the thing is that you cannot improvise unless you know exactly what you're doing". It's a zen thing, living in the moment but perfectly prepared to do so, not at all slacking. This includes not bucking the need to become orthodox every so often, as in Lásko, Boze Lásko. If you're familiar with the Signal to Noise magazine and its favored weirdnesses, this is 138% up that alley.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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