Mike Majkowski – Bright Astonishment Of The Night (Bocian Records)


Australian born, Berlin based Mike Majkowski‘s 5th solo album sees the composer and double bass player performing two long-form solo compositions. Clocking in at 48 minutes and 18 minutes respectively all the music comes from acoustic double bass.

The focus is on resonance and decay, which is why notes and frequencies are held and ring out, which provides large spaces between notes. In this sense it’s not about the attack, rather it’s the moment after the hit, as the sounds evolve and decay. Majkowski himself says in the liner notes that a major aim was to “capture the floating-feeling of the resonant tones.“ Yet it’s also about stasis or stillness and there’s something quite peaceful about both tracks – particularly their stop start nature and their trance like repetition.

There is something bold and uncompromising about restricting himself to one instrument, and playing such long form compositions – particularly in this day and age when it’s difficult to be heard above the din of other contemporary music. If anything it feels like this has made Majkowski retreat, to reduce the flourishes, pare back the instrumentation, increase the repetition, and keep the gestures subtle. It’s uncompromising, but it is rewarding.

He has worked with Chris Abrahams (the Necks) in Roil, with Jim Denley in Blip, Lukasz Rychlicki and Pawel Szpura in lotto, and is also coming to Australia with Tony Buck (the Necks) as part of Ethiopian keyboardist, Hailu Mergia’s band.

Recorded in July 2015 in Berlin, the two pieces are near hallucinatory in their simplicity, and their ability to slow down the body and mind. There’s something incredibly grand and beautiful about the acoustic bass, which Majkowski imbues with a deep rich sonority via his assured playing and multiple disparate techniques.


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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.