This fantastic 7” on Jazz45, the offshoot of the revered Jazzman label, is the new single by Greek duo Koliba Babo who reimagine the ancient music of Armenia and the folk traditions of northern Greece’s Epirus and Thrace regions by fusing it with abstract electronics and free jazz. Stunning outernational sounds!
These folk inspired duets are the fruits of a dialogue between Sokratis Votskos on soprano saxophone, synth and double bass, and Harris P. on duduk, Moog and all sorts of atmospheric electronics. The Armenian duduk that anchors the project is a double-reeded woodwind instrument made of apricot wood with thousands of years of history and generations of venerable masters - the duo cite Djivan Gasparyan as a main influence, and Harris studied with Vahan Galstyan. Traditionally its music is played in duet: a melody on one duduk, a low drone accompaniment (“the dum”) on another. Kolida Babo preserves and extends the dual nature of duduk music in many ways, replacing the dum at times with the tones of a Moog synthesizer to allow the two players to weave harmonies together in duet.
The entrancing and freeform electro acoustic experiments of Roland P Young’s “isophonic comprovisations” are evoked in these cosmic updates of the modal folk drone that has bewitched musicians and listeners alike for centuries.
‘Spirits of Mauronoros’ is a kind of modern spiritual meditation to the sounds of a soprano sax improvising over bubbling electronics: deep, atmospheric and hypnotic mood à la ‘In A Silent Way’.
On the flip, ‘Kolida Hymn’ is equally spacey and hypnotic, as it takes us on an interplanetary flight into a world made of modular electronics and spiritual jazz. As cosmic and cinematic as it gets. To quote our favourite cosmonaut (Sun Ra), “There Are Other Worlds (They Have Not Told You Of)”!