A panoramic "wide screen" music, as cinema fans might say, and which sounds like the missing link between the grandeur of Richard Warner and the orchestral work of someone like Nick Cave.
This is the ambition underlying Rite of the End by the Polish composer Stefan Wesołowski, the second album to be released at Ici d'ailleurs after Kompleta in 2015.
Since they started in the early 1970’s, ECM has been giving the world one excellent jazz piano disc after another–significant names include Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, and Paul Bley, more recently Anat Fort, Bo Stenson, and now Julia Hulsmann. Leading a trio on her ECM debut, THE END OF SUMMER, Hulsman displays a graceful, muted, and melancholy air. In the manner of Stenson and Bley, Hulsmann expresses maximum emotion and mood using the fewest (but well-placed) notes. Unlike the aforementioned gentlemen however, Hulsmann favors almost folk-like, affable, and concise melodies. Her bassist and drummer seem subdued at times, but they’re constantly lending the tunes a sense of forward motion.
Before migrating across the ECM continent, Stephan Micus outfitted some of his most formative expeditions in the territories of the JAPO sub-label. On these albums one hears Micus at his most elemental, turning every gesture into inter-spatial awareness. The album’s duration of 36 minutes only serves to deepen its intimacy as a space in which the listener might catch a cushion of meditation in a world of splinters. Micus’s practice has always been to render the stem before the flower, and in the album’s title track a table harp provides that very illustrative function. Its dulcimer-like heart beats a rhythm at once ancient and fresh, curling as the scriptural page, its edges darkened from constant contact with the hands. Those same hands cradle a method of speech so musical that its melody is discernible only in the freedom of solitude.