Konstrukt & Peter Brötzmann – Dolunay

Posted: 16 August 2022 in Albums
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Karlrecords – 26th August 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Konstrukt – the Istanbul-based collective led by multi-instrumentalist Umut Çağlar and reeds player Korhaan Futaci have, in their fourteen-year career amassed an impressive catalogue of works, many in collaboration with international luminaries of the experimental / jazz scene.

As the accompanying notes detail, ‘The German Free Jazz titan [Peter Brötzmann] was invited to the Deneyevi Studio in the Turkish capital in November 2008 where they recorded Dolunay, an album that was released three years later on a small label in Turkey only. Back then a quartet with drums AND percussion, guitar, reeds but NO bass player, KONSTRUKT and their iconic guest took off on a session full of fire and fury: shrieking reeds, thundering drums andandand… Free Jazz of the wildest, most energetic and kathartic (afterwards) kind!

And so, eleven years after its release, and a full fourteen since its recording, the epic that is Dolunay finally gets a vinyl release, having been remastered for the format. Karlrecords haven’t skimped, either: the six tracks, spanning just short of an hour, has been laid across four sides of 180-gram vinyl.

Now, oftentimes, double-vinyl pressings feel like a bit of a cash-in geared at audiophile snobs and hardcore collectors – you know the kind, who will drivel on endlessly about the superiority of gold-plated plugs and shit (and I say that as both a vinyl fan and owner of separates, but also someone who accept the limitations of human hearing, especially after years of live music) – butt this, this truly deserves the treatment.

Because of the slightly awkward track lengths in relative terms, they pack ‘Dolunay’ and ‘Siyah’ – at ten-plus minutes apiece onto the first side, but the advantage of this that the listener gets to feel the cumulative power of the slow-simmer of the wandering discord. Thee drums clatter and roll, but they’re subdued and distant on the title track while the brass weaves frantic. As one saxophone withers and slumps, puffed out and weary, another rises in its place to honk to the heavens. ‘Siyah’ is sparse and slow to begin, and almost smooth at times, before an unexpected twist toward the humming, thrumming, cacophonous a few minutes in – and by the mid-point, it’s a sustained explosion of sound. ‘Kurtlar’ nags and spirals with a twist of Eastern exotica, but then… then…

No, I don’t love this kind of thing – I often find it too much – way too much. I spend so much time just willing for it to end. But then, equally, I find myself marvelling not at the musicianship, but the audacity. And then along comes along a piece like ‘Makinalı’ and for all of the hectic rolling percussion and wandering reeds, there’s some tranquillity, at least to begin, and the breathing space allows time for reflection, and the realisation that this s quite remarkable, in technical terms… but then before long it’s a swarm of hornets in your head and aaaagh!

In its field, its exemplary, and pushes the parameters of free jazz to the max – but that also means that it is challenging, hard work even – but of course, hard work always brings its rewards.

AA

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