ink on paper |cs173








































[...] TiIt's an angular approach of sudden shifts, sharp shocks and elegant sustains, constantly working the gesture. A bold, playful yet utterly serious exploration. Gail Preist (Real Time)

Stunning and subtle. In both the solo performance and in the group … he focuses on textures, mostly playing with the bow, though he is capable of producing a full bodied bass sound too. I don’t know many bass players with such a command of extended and alternative techniques. Arie Altena (DNK-Amsterdam)

Solo double bass. Majkowski is a youngish (27), Australian musician, new to me. On a couple of pieces, including the lengthy title cut, he finds a fairly unique area of high, quick bowed sounds, several tonalities rapidly interspersed (via overdubs), connoting activity not unlike the dozens of ants prowling the disc's interior sleeve. Personally, I didn't find this ground so interesting, however. On others, he quite ably plies a kind of approach I might think of as pre-Guy, free playing, somewhere between Malachi Favors at his driest and, say, Peter Kowald. On the last track, he takes his time, investigates the properties of the instrument more concentratedly, and fares better. Brian Olewnick (Just Outside)

A surprising doublebass album. Mike Makjowski (I don’t remember hearing him before) presents a stunning range of extended techniques thrugh a set of sometimes long but always focused tracks. “Pizzicato” is the most “normal” track, and the bassist shows a strong sense of spontaneous composition, with a few original sounds. But there’s better. On “Ink on Paper” he uses multitracking to generate unsual effects that are well controlled and relveant. And on “Current”, he seems to be using sheet metal over his bass to produce deep rumbles. Here, he goes on for too long, but I had never heard something quite like that. François Couture (Monsieur Délire)

Don't ask me why but during the last years I've made and experience in solo double bass works, this probably the third or fourth release performed with this great instrument I review from the last September. Mike Majkowsky like the other double bass players I've been reviewing so far has the technical skill to caress his instrument right to find its G-spot and following this metaphor now and then they reach the aural orgasm they're looking for. Five different track for many different lengths and techniques, from the finger picked up and down of "pizzicato" to the bowed breaths of "foam and straw", from the stuttering of "ink and paper" to the quasi-contemporary classic structure of "current". Despite the many colors and tones thrown in the oven by Majkowski I have the impression there's a predominance of high pitched notes and for non-continuative playing, with the last thing I don't mean the tracks are full of stops and goes, I simply wonna say most of the times he opts for fragmented notes played like he's using a sort of morse code even when doing slow rides like in "current". Definitely an interesting release. Andrea Ferraris (Chain DLK)

Australian bassist Majkowski was until now unknown to me, but a quick run of the internet shows that he's a member of the Jazz Faculty at the Wollongong Conservatorium Of Music and a member of the Sydney big band Splinter Orchestra. So much for pedigrees, what's he sound like?

Pizzicato is just that, a collection of mostly higher-pitched fingerings with lots of sliding tones and bits of buzz and clack sticking to the notes like so much dirt. Occasional super-quick little rattles and figures break up the proceedings. "Foam and Straw" is a shorter exploration of bowing, recalling birdsong and displaying ear-grabbing harmonic overtones. When Majkowski dives in to the low end toward the end of the piece, there's a beautiful crustiness to the sound. "First Words, Dribble" conjurs up its namesake with skittering and bouncing bow action and more wonderful overtones, augmented by wordless vocalizing. There's an awful lot going on here at any one point, a lot of information to take in and/or process. There's a lot of humor as well.

The stand out piece for me is the title track of overdubbed short, scrubbed notes which quickly build up to a fairly thick tapestry of squeaky bows and metallic plucks. Try not to follow the sounds, just stick your ears in and let it all cascade down on them. Nutty.

The final "Current" begins with deep note clusters struck and let rung. A really interesting sound here, like big chords are being strummed, with one or two notes buzzing or almost distorting in the midst of a cloud of hanging overtones. It's another in a fine collection of intriguing sounds and well-built improvisations.

A final word: perhaps it's just my circle of "research", but there do seem to be a lot of improvised acoustic bass recordings around at the moment. That's just an observation, not a complaint. Jeph Jerman (The Squid's Ear)

[...] Mike Majkowski is the baby of this group, a year younger than Landfermann. The Sydney, Australia- based instrumentalist waited even less time than anyone else before diving into the solo bass pool (still relatively a puddle). Ink on Paper is the only album here to use overdubs and that only for the plucky title track. The title is illustrative as are the drawn ants crawling around on the inner sleeve. Majkowski is still in that phase where he is fascinated by the sounds an acoustic bass can produce - arguably more than any other unamplified instrument. So connective tissue is somewhat lacking on the longer tracks as is the grand scope that the Barre Phillipses and Barry Guys of the world took decades to master. But it would be surprising if Majkowski doesn’t revisit this form. Andrey Henkin (AllAboutJazz-NY)

Solo release – dated 2010 – from a 28-year old Australian double bassist who has performed and/or collaborated with some major name of the improv scene, including never-enough-sung Jon Rose. Five pieces that try to deepen Majkowski’s growing interest in his solitary excursions through the textural varieties of an instrument that has imperceptibly become a veritable protagonist in the hands of many free players over the last decade. It is not easy to deal with the big beast alone, but Ink On Paper is an album that exudes humanity and dignity even in the fractions where the excitement produced by the music is not excessive (the opening “Pizzicato”, replete with all sorts of plucks that do not depict anything truly meaningful, and the final “Current”, a rather indecisive stab at crossing EAI silences and resonant properties). And yet, during instances such as the nervously rebellious “Foam And Straw” and – especially – the fantastic crescendo of thickly layered circular figures of the title track, twenty minutes of trance-inducing geometric mayhem, the weak points are forgotten. If on the one hand we’re not praising the lord for a new miracle, on the other I sincerely appreciated the general feel of honesty that the large part of this CD discloses. Overall, Majkowski sounds like an egoless instrumentalist, which means a lot in my book. Massimo Ricci (Touching Extremes)