A resident of France since 1991, Yugoslavian born and classically trained composer/instrumentalist Stevan Kovacs Tickmayer is a prominent artist who engages projects with ex-Henry Cow alumni, guitarist Fred Frith, and drummer Chris Cutler among many cutting-edge stylists. Over the years, he's spread his wares throughout a broad spectrum, covering classical and avant-progressive rock amid numerous genre-scorching proclivities.
Cutler and guitarist/drummer Robert Drake perform on various tracks along with others, yet it's Tickmayer's bizarre fusion of off kilter classical, free-improvisation and Eastern folk melodies with prog-rock grooves that convey his all-encompassing skills. With freaky EFX treatments to complement music that skirts a rather frenetic pace, Tickmayer's arsenals of pianos, electric keyboards, and samplers enable him to generate an armada of unlikely hues and textures. But in certain movements, his acoustic piano performances conjure up imagery of jazz giant, Cecil Taylor. It's partly about controlled chaos, where notions of a social breakdown in a large metropolis occasionally come to mind.
The album is segmented into three multi-part pieces: Concerto grosso, Cold Peace Counterpoints and Five Bagatelles for a Polyhistor. Through it all, he executes an onslaught of metrics. On "E-guitar Ostinato," he projects a hyper-mode Henry Cow type scenario via his odd-metered phrasings and Drake's complex e-guitar lines. This is followed by the dark, ethereal piece "Troparion," which sounds like a theme for a mysterious sci-fi thriller. In other areas, Tickmayer projects a high-impact and discombobulated vision of humanity, or so it seems. He embeds circus music with harmonium-based phrasings to counter mutant folk and pop-rock motifs as well. It's a fiendishly crazed and mesmeric sequence of musical prospects that most will most assuredly probe your psyche. And it's all quite entertaining.