Bulgarian guitarist Atanas Ourkouzounov has gained a reputation, deservedly so, for being one of the forerunners in the avant-garde/contemporary music scene. His published works have appeared in these review columns many times – not an insignificant number written by myself – and his music gets played internationally by leading names in the guitar world.
Babini Devetini, which I think translates out as ‘old Wives’ tales’ is a five-movement composition which utilises extremes of modern techniques from the flautist including ‘souffle’/,slap tongue’; ‘whistle tone’; and the distressing-sounding ‘tongue ram’. The guitarist doesn’t come off lightly either with some extremely difficult passages in harmonics, left hand alone, percussion, etc. Given all this blended in with quite difficult rhythmic episodes and we have a work only in the domain of the very high standard duo.
The musical language employed here by Ourkouzounov is far removed from traditionalism but his skillful employment of the musical lines and interplay between flute and guitar well illustrate the potential of these two instruments. This is not music to entertain, in fact it is as un-entertaining a piece of music as I’ve come across in quite a while; rather it is intriguing, thoughtful music, even, dare I say it, intellectual.
I don’t see Babini Devetini taking the world by storm but I can see the attraction it may have for aficionados of ‘modern’ music.