Uri Kassyanik

Guiness Record (Unfixed Yet)

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Marathon music events, although not everyday occurrences, certainly happen with enough regularity so that the actual Guiness Book of World Records does indeed make note of contests such as the longest piano solo in history and the world's record for karaoke. The "unfixed yet" in this Russian artist's title means he hasn't actually bothered to try and interest the official record-keepers in what happened the day he improvised for 24 hours straight on some 18 instruments, including percussion, keyboards, guitar, French horn, vocals, and tape. The actual event becomes part of the list of such marathon displays of musical endurance, including jazz saxophonist Andrew White's famous 24-hour jazz performance that wore out three rhythm sections, and the London Musicians' Collective event of equal length in the '70s at which saxophonist Evan Parker claims to have fallen asleep on stage, although one presumes it was not during one of his reed-gobbling saxophone solos. Kassyanik looks like the straight parent's worst nightmare in the booklet photograph, seated at his keyboard with an electric guitar at his left, a teacup at his right, and a walrus mustache that steals the show from both. He displays more taste than White and more energy than Parker. While the former artist released every bit of the music played during his all-day orgy, Kassyanik picked "The First Hour" alone. And he doesn't sound like he is falling asleep during this performance, either. It might be nice to hear some further excerpts from this concert, just to set the mind at ease that things didn't go downhill after the first hour. Kassyanik is an accomplished musician who began this style of spontaneous composition, armed with a large number of instruments, following a career as a classical composer. That he has written symphonies is not mentioned to impress, but is something a listener may take for granted after hearing one of his solo recordings. This is a superb example, full of the dramatic tension he builds up between his various instruments. His wild electronic keyboard soloing and choice of synthesizer voices is enjoyable in the same way as the solos of Sun Ra, but have a completely different element of concentration and direction, often creating backgrounds for other instruments, or acting in conjunction with his brilliant percussion accents. Again the influence of the classical orchestra is here, as Kassyanik brings in percussion sounds whenever he wants, never wed to the idea of some kind of background pulse or roadmap for the listener. His relationship to the audience -- whoever that might have been at such a weird event -- is one of thinking of the ideal listener, a person whose thought patterns run as deeply as the composer. Regardless of whether such a person exists, Kassyanik carries on.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 01:00:30
blue highlight denotes track pick