How can anyone describe how rain falls? How can anyone tell how a swallow flies? How can anyone explain how the moon rises? And how could anyone depict how Christian Elin and Maruan Sakas conjure up a picture of the world by making music together? Some things simply happen.
That, perhaps, says all that there is to say about the second joint CD produced by Christian Elin, saxophone and bass clarinet player, and Maruan Sakas, pianist. From this moment on its the ear that counts, because the musical peregrinations of the two born musicians, who sometimes stroll between intricate inner worlds, sometimes through open rolling landscapes of sounds, tell their own stories. No matter which social background one has grown up with and how, this music rouses a feeling of intimacy, of familiarity, because the two musicians immediately strike a chord with their listeners. Their rare, but in this case absolutely organic and in no way artificial gift is their ability not to expect their listeners to respond to their music but rather, from the very first note onwards to engage with their listeners. We can smell these songs, rub them between our fingers or walk through them and get our feet wet. We can drape them with colours or associate them with texts.
Anyone who might now think that the duo are searching for some kind of lowest common denominator would be much mistaken. The exact opposite is the case. True, both musicians come from a classical background, but their musical preferences are just as varied as the music in this programme. In Christian Elins´ exuberant quarter-tone sounds in the Introduction to “Istanbul“ we hear the muezzin singing as well, and in “Dancing with Dolphins“ a differentiated impressionistic palette of sounds mingles with it. In the Maqamat of his composition entitled “Maurisch“, Maruan Sakas evokes his Arabian roots and in “Rhythm Changes!“ he shows how even classical jazz can be given a new look by simply imposing a 4/4 beat onto a 7/8 one. Something new always happens when Elin and Sakas join forces, fuse, enabling their own personal experiences to become interwoven in the truest sense of the word in unheard of intimacy. They celebrate the beauty in their music without allowing it to become flat and meaningless. For them this clarity has a completely narrative, at times even visual component. It tosses memories into the future and in doing so becomes a second skin which connects both musician and listener.
Each of the pieces in this programme has its very own origins, the history of a different kind of intuition. Trying to put this into words is tantamount to robbing the songs of part of their magic.. They are all so very different, but what they all have in common is their structural and intuitive ability to change. Here there are flowing, flying processes which survive without interruptions.
“Midsummernight“ is no less than a musical utopia. A variable place of yearning, a “mobile home“ and at the same time a fulfilled promise. Something that, in the most positive sense, is refreshingly old-fashioned but forward-looking and which, despite the headlong race towards digitalisation and greater anonymity in society, enables us as individuals to pause and draw breath for a moment.
Wolf Kampmann/Rosie Zahn
First half of the program
Maruan Sakas: ECMS
Maruan Sakas: Maurisch
Christian Elin: Dancing with dolphins
Maruan Sakas: Rhythm Changes!
Second half of the program
Christian Elin: Mittsommernacht
Christian Elin: Hymn angevin
Christian Elin: Istanbul
Maruan Sakas: Die Mücke