RORSCHACH — Rorschach (review)

RORSCHACH — Rorschach album cover Album · 2019 · Avant-Garde Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
snobb
Rorschach, or more precisely, Rorschach test, is controversial psychological test developed in the early 1920s and named by its author Swiss Hermann Rorschach. It's based on psychological analysis of personal interpretations of inkblots and suggested to be used to examine a person's personality characteristics and emotional functioning. Such inkblot example is used as the front cover art for unorthodox Belgian quartet named "Rorschach" debut album.

In combination with seven untitled free form compositions, subjoined with authors recommendation "title the music pieces with your own associations", it becomes obvious that the listener is offered to participate in such a test of sorts, just interpreting musical pieces, not inkblots.

Rorschach quartet is in fact existing Antiduo (teacher/pupil pianists duo Erik Vermeulen and Seppe Gebruers) expanded by adding two drummers, Eric Thielemans and Marek Patrman. On paper this may sound quite confusing and even probably dreadful, but in real life this album consists of seven beautiful etudes, very different from often hardly accessible free form improvisational music. The two pianos play a lot of melodic snippets, often with obvious roots in European romantic classics, what builds is a very moody atmosphere, with touch of sentimentalism, almost dreamy. True, musical compositions have no special structure and develop unpredictably but somehow the pianists control that process very well. Drummers are both delicate, with use of mallets more often than sticks, and are more responsible for adding some sound accessories to the whole music than for framing or anchoring the sound. Abstract and impressionistic, this music has a more modernism spirit of the 20th century than of the more destructive and noisy fashion of more current experimentalism.

As the album's authors suggested in their liner notes, I tried to interpret their offered sound-blots as I felt them. Short excursion to Rorschach testing evaluation analysis says that interpretations of the same inkblot varies depending on many factors, even a person's origin and cultural background. So, every listener will probably hear something different, but I expect many will like what they hear anyway.
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