Dejan Terzic Melanoia
HAYDEN CHISHOLM sax
RONNY GRAUPE guitar
ACHIM KAUFMANN piano
DEJAN TERZIC dr | perc | comp
CD Release: Dejan Terzic MELANOIA "Labyrinth" (ENJA Records 2015)
The dream within a dream within a dream ... Who would not recognize the state of waking up from a dream and depending on the kind of a dream, with horror or delight come to a realization that this is not a dream, but rather a dreamed eternity of waking up later into the next level of consciousness that we call reality. There are many more layers between the chambers of dream and reality, than the one-to-one correspondence of these concepts could ever suggest. Dejan Terzic takes us with his quartet Melanoia - the name stands for the interplay of melancholy and paranoia - on a tour into the heart of his dreams.
However, this is not as easy as it sounds. Music is often perceived as dreamlike without necessarily dealing with dreams. A dream is a very transcendental experience, music a transcendental expression. To heave dreams from one transcendental level to another, works perhaps only in the labyrinth that is based on interweaving, but knows neither periphery nor center. A maze is a place to get lost in; in a labyrinth one can find him/herself. Not only the title, but also the music on the entire CD must be understood in this sense. Terzic spins linear narrative threads, but without evoking concrete figures or landscapes in his listeners. The suggestive power of music is more like a train ride through the twilight, in which the outer worlds blur into variable color fields, treetops for a moment reach out to us, roads with cars waiting behind barriers dissect for a fraction of a second the power of our imagination, overhead lines become accompanying contours, and cloud formations give us a sense of eternity.
Dejan Terzic is a drummer. With saxophonist Hayden Chisholm, pianist Achim Kaufmann and guitarist Ronny Graupe, he has brought together a group, which in the most euphoric sense of the word can be described as all-star lineup of German jazz. With the debut of Melanoia in 2014, Terzic received ECHO Jazz award for the best national drummer.
These are four musicians, who have gained experience in diverse fields of jazz. Yet, it is not the exchange of individual voices as such that makes this CD a haunting expression, but its blossoming in the collective labyrinth. The ear ceases to search for individual voices; what matters at every moment is the whole. The inner architecture of the sound requires strong designers.
For all the virtuosity of the involved parties, it almost does not matter that saxophone, piano, guitar and drums are played here. The personalities of the four masters of sophisticated understatement are more important than their instruments. Therefore, solos in the classical sense of jazz terminology are completely absent on the CD. The concise and subtle digressions of the four musicians are rather colored and pointed contributions that blend beautifully into the coherent overall architecture. No one weighs in more than the music requires in each concrete moment. The starting point is the sensitive, incredibly lightweight percussion of Terzic's drums. It is there, but only as the wooden beam in a building, it is invisibly embedded into the architecture.
As a guide for the listener a bass could have been used, but Terzic has deliberately avoided a bassist. On the one hand, there is the continuous tone of his narratives that makes a bass superfluous. On the other hand, all four musicians alternate with the informal function of the bass.
Terzic and Melanoia do not conjure up any concrete images in their listeners. They allow for anyone to escape into the labyrinth of his/her own associations, to find oneself in the flow of the music in order to enter at another location in the gentle current of the surreal soundscapes. Thus, the music will never exhaust itself, because again and again the listeners will bring it together on the canvas of their own perception.
The moment of self-discovery is reached at the latest in the song “A Dream Within A Dream,” when all the structures get dissolved and Hayden Chisholm’s deep voice mutters a text of Edgar Allan Poe as if it was a spell. What would seem like a foreign body in a different context is here the logical consequence of the sounding stream of consciousness of the CD. But Melanoia do not give their listeners a chance to fall into meditation or trance. At the latest during the enthralling barrage in “Parasomnia” - the reciprocal of Melanoia, so to speak – one will be torn away from any synchronicity.
“Labyrinth” is so unpredictable and multifaceted, but also so abysmal, transparent and mysterious as a real dream. Whether it is the sweet lure of a hypnotic nightmare or the Elysium of a redemptive dream escape, listeners can decide for themselves.