Die Liebe wird siegen

A 13 track avant garde jazz album (1h 19s) — released February 17th 2023 on JazzWerkstatt Records

KARL WILHELM KRBAVAC viola da gamba (1-7,9,11,13) · e-guitar (2,8,12,13) · piano (1,3,10,12)

CLEMENS SALESNY alto saxophone (9,12) · tenor saxophone (2,4,7,8,11-13) · bass clarinet (1,6,12) · clarinet (1,5,7,10) · crackle box (3) · gong (1,13) · flexaton (13)

NIKI DOLP drums (1,2,5-13) · percussion (kabalonga, ching cymbals) (1,7) · piano (3,4) · kalimba (1,3)


WOODY SCHABATA vibraphone (8-10,13) SARA KOWAL harp (11,13)


#1-3, 7, 11, 13 recorded March 10th, 2022 live at Porgy & Bess, Vienna by Jakub Velikovský & Oliver ,Öli' Kamaryt

#4-6, 8-10, 12 recorded February 8th & 9th, 2022 at Highhat Studio by Markus Wallner
Mixed & mastered by Markus Wallner
Artwork & Graphic Design by Hanna Hollmann
Photo by Rania Moslam
Produced by Krbavac/Salesny/Dolp

KRBAVAC SALESNY DOLP: An orgy without casualties. Just let it hurtle by. Continual red alert, nothing is unthinkable, everything imaginable coming around the next corner – on a scale of tsunami to chamber-musical delicacy. You cannot be angry at this music. Ideally, just hold your breath.

Clemens Salesny and Niki Dolp have reawakened the old madness, in the person of Karl Wilhelm Krbavac, who – silenced by the pandemic – was on the point of selling or mothballing everything. Krbavac has been improvising for 50 years and has an archive of 6500 notated compositions. He has played unbridled blues, twelve-tone music, early music (in order to refine his extreme bowing technique). After mastering double bass, piano, harpsichord, and cello, he transformed himself into the world's first free-jazz gambist, severing the viola da gamba from its roots in the Renaissance. For decades he was a member of the Reform Art Unit, an avant-garde collective that boasted over 200 collaborators during its existence, including numerous giants of the scene. "Karl had an unusually strong voice and artistic identity in this large formation," relates Niki Dolp, a Reform Art Unit alumnus himself. "He's incredibly stubborn, musically radical, and extremely motivated. His ideas are hyperactive in a sense, but you can't leave any of them out." "At the same time," adds Clemens Salesny, "he never plays over anyone else; he hears everything, and he communicates. The younger scene doesn't have much contact with this first generation of free jazz musicians. We absolutely wanted to do something with him." Their gut feeling was right. Clemens Salesny is a co-founder of the JazzWerkstatt Wien and one of Austria's most sought-after saxophonists and clarinetists; Niki Dolp has rapidly established himself as one of the top drummers in the scene. Both are known for their pursuit of nontraditional sounds and explorations of roads less traveled. The guiding principle of this trio was that each member should have the freedom to do whatever they wanted at any time, a condition giving a free hand to their propensity for exploring outside their comfort zones – not just on their usual instruments, but on crackle box and gong (Salesny) and piano (Dolp).

Die Liebe wird siegen (Love Will Prevail), in its range and intensity, shows just how far free improvisation can go. The electricity that sparks between KRBAVAC SALESNY DOLP from the first moment of the album is a phenomenon requiring complete mutual trust – and a cosmic stroke of luck. "We had endings that were just magical, sometimes all together in a single stroke," says Niki Dolp. "When you think about how many moments in an improvisation are potential endpoints…these precise endings prove that we're all feeling the same dramatic arc, that we're all breathing together." Each of the three musicians is a master of their instrument(s); each has long since arrived at the rarefied level of mature artistic personality. In order to act freely at such a high level, an immensely strong aural connection must be forged. At the same time, each of the voices has its own choreography and could well exist independently of the others.

The energy conjured by this collective takes on a life of its own. The guests on Die Liebe wird siegen don't sound in the least like afterthoughts; they are integrated into the matrix from the first moment on. You can hear it when the uncommonly high-caliber vibraphonist WOODY SCHABATA launches directly into a breakneck downhill run, a 24-second miniature apocalypse. The bell-like tones of the vibraphone, the angelic harp, the smooth-operator bass: "We make a lot of noise," says Salesny. "It's good for us to add some gentler, softer elements." SARA KOWAL, one of a very few harpists able to improvise at such a level in such a musical context, delivers a bizarre complementary layer to a snake-skinning piece. And by the way, when was the last time you heard a harp together with a drum set? RAPHAEL PREUSCHL slides along the strings of his bass guitar, his deeply grooving line doing a series of 180-degree turns on the way to heavy metal. This track is also a good example of the way the album was created: all the requirements for unfettered music-making arrayed in the studio or on the stage, ready for use. The musicians switch instruments, sometimes in the midst of an improvisation, and, in their mania for novelty, allow themselves the freedom of becoming unknown, even to themselves. A minimum of predetermination ­serves as a springboard for each piece – the first chord, for example – and even these minimal stipulations are only democratic suggestions; no one is obliged to follow them. Before its debut at the JazzWerkstatt Festival 2021 the trio rehearsed for a quarter hour ("Piece of cake," was Karl Wilhelm Krbavac's comment). After that, there was no rehearsal until the studio recording, and again none before their first evening-long concert in the Vienna club Porgy & Bess. Young lion LUKAS KRANZELBINDER played the encore that night, and his contribution – thrilling and unapologetically sentimental – was chosen as the album's closer. In keeping with the jazz tradition, KRBAVAC SALESNY DOLP was captured both live and in the studio; from 28 improvisations (ranging from 24 seconds to almost nine minutes in length), 13 found their way onto the album. Thirteen unique performances, never again to be performed the same way but connected by their shared musical DNA and intuitive memory. Niki Dolp has provided them with cryptic titles, in the hope that they will one day be deciphered.

Die Liebe wird siegen rockets directly to chaos/nirvana, without resorting to autopilot for a single second and with zero inhibitions about complexity. We are transported by the harmony of uproar through every imaginable state, from psychedelic film to improvised chamber music. The three masters of mayhem are all of one mind: "We only hear structure" and "Love will prevail".

Kristin Gruber

(Translation: Philip Yaeger)

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