Jesse Zubot’s Dementia is recorded once through without stops for editing and rerecording, unfolding over the theme of cognitive break down, documenting its improvised musical expression of confusion, paranoia, hope, agitation, notion of passing time.
It plays over prerecorded samples of guitar, mandolin and sounds from the environment. Sometimes the violin is alone improvising on its own over short themes with extended techniques (playing on the bridge, scratched sounds, arco grain, harmonics, multiphonics).
Titles of pieces document well this idea of mental decline: 1. Cognitive decline; 2. Isolation; 3.Semantically lost; 4. Atrophy; etc.
The tracks are arranged in alterations between instrumentations: violin/sound designs followed by mandolin tracks, violin solo, sound design etc. This way the album never becomes too intense or unbearable. It keeps the theme of cognitive decline well in the realms of musical contemplation.
The mastery of the violinist who can create music with extreme rubbing of the bow on the instrument or by making sounds that a 4 year-old could easily execute is never doubted once he leaps virtuosically through Paganini-like passages - in distorted experimental versions.
It should be noted for those who like a continuous thematic evolution, there is a short theme that appears often on tracks, every time with different distortions/experimentations.
The album ends peacefully with something of an Irish lullaby song.
Overall I enjoyed the album because of its pure musicality, creativity and integrity of expression. Those who hear improvised/experimental music as a collection of extended techniques will be pleasantly surprised to discover a very strong and musically convincing approach to experimentation in violin improvisation.