morphogenesis discogs resonance

Dubravko Detoni

Jewel case CD with 4 page booklet

Includes postage - for multiple items I will refund the excess



•   Dokument 75 (1975)  (09:01)
•   Kitsch variations (1976)  (19:17)
•   Fable (1973)  (20:48)  mp3
•   Grafika VI (1973)  (09:40)
•   Group gymnastics (1974)  (11:04)

total time  70:03

Cover by Clive Graham
Cover lettering by Steven Stapleton
Released 2000

Giovanni Cavallin - recorders, clarinets, saxophone
Dubravko Detoni - piano, harpsichord, celeste
Fred Dosek - electric organ, celeste, glockenspiel
Veronika Durbesic - voice
Daniel Thune - viola, double bass, tuba.

Croatian composer and pianist Dubravko Detoni is a name barely familiar to even the most hardened and fanatical followers of avant garde composition. Although he has managed to consistently escape almost all forms of wider public recognition, Detoni has, since 1970 - both in the solo context and with his ACEZANTEZ ensemble - doggedly pursued a singular and unique musical path. Drawing on the conventions and traditions of modern composition, avant garde electronics, musique concrète and group acoustic improvisation, and liberally embellishing them with breathtakingly idiosyncratic sonic inventions, Detoni has carved for himself a body of work as toweringly significant as it is hopelessly obscure. This is the first time his music has appeared in Western Europe since his LP on the legendary Philips Prospective series. As this long overdue and timely release shows, he is eminently deserving of the adulation and acclaim afforded his more celebrated contemporaries. The 5 pieces on this CD are all reissued from 3 LP's that appeared on Jugoton in the mid 70s. The pieces explore a broad stylistic palette with a strong use of electric organ to create a manically conceived parade of sound effects, replete with passages of blinding instrumental clarity, and exuding his trademark sugary, almost campy melodic sensibility. Elsewhere a strong sense of theatre mingles aggressively with brut sonic components - cross-fade drones, harshly clanging 'industrial' repetition - with musique concrète, and extensive cut-ups and manipulation of female voices. Brilliantly arranged and executed throughout, all five pieces display Detoni's highly sophisticated ear for (at times), outrageous juxtaposition of instruments. ACEZANTEZ fuse the intellectual awareness of the avant garde with influences drawn from theatre to create surreal and dreamlike settings, in a manner reminiscent of nothing so much as the early outwardbound experiments of Nurse With Wound (suitably the cover lettering has been done by Steve Stapleton). Remastered from original tapes, this could be the release to finally earn Detoni the audience he so richly deserves. Paradigm Discs is proud to present the work of this hitherto neglected master for widespread contemporary re-evaluation.


This avant-garde Croatian composer and pianist's obscure experimental '70s work with his Acezantez Ensemble drew from all aspects of avant-garde music, including electronics and group improvisation. This release on Paradigm is the first available in the Western world since his LP on the Phillips Prospective series, which in the '70s was the most credible house for innovative compositional names such as Xenakis and Pierre Henry, who opened the doors to such avant-garde musical invention. This CD contains five pieces, from his '70s LPs released on the Croatian Jugaton label, that exhibit an outrageous juxtaposition of methods recalling the work of Luigi Nono and Maurucio Kagel in their instrumental and theatrical arrangements. Where atonality is to the fore in much avant-garde music, his sense of abrasion is met with bouts of melodic intervention. Elsewhere, heavy industrial sounds are used as percussive texture; mixed with forceful electronics and dramatic instrumental passages, they create a complex and textured series of compositions. From an artist who worked a long career in obscurity, listeners now have a document of vital and challenging work, thanks to the reissue bringing this out of the secret corners of Eastern European music. (Skip Jansen)

I wonder, if I hadn't found the ACEZANTEZ LP many years ago (in Record and Tape Exchange) whilst staying over a weekend at Clive Graham's flat (he runs Paradigm), then would this CD have ever happened? Later, I gather, Clive met Dubravko whilst working at ReR. He was there due to Erno Kiraly (who had also worked with ACEZANTEZ and had a CD on ReR), and Clive's ears were immediately alerted when ACEZANTEZ was mentioned, And so one thing led to another... So, what is the fascination with ACEZANTEZ? Well, one could say they were the most seriously 'classical' avant-garde ensembles to exist in that world of early Nurse With Wound, seemlessly bridging Dadaism, electronics, improvisational elements and electroacoustic reconstruction. And that they came from Yugoslavia made it all the more fascinating, with a bizarre mixture of cultural elements. Musica Elettronica Viva and Nuova Consonanza are other good reference points to the bizarre sonic/cosmic creations of ACEZANTEZ, which utilised all manner of percussives, keyboards, voices and occasional solo instruments like trumpet, tuba and violin. The underlying humour in it adds that Dada edge, which is mostly in the vocal elements, though some cliched folk and popular styles are hinted as if they wash in occasionally opening windows. The whole of the original album has this otherworldly magic that cannot be simply described in such a review, it's altogether too unique. The three bonus tracks included come from a compilation and a Detoni album (or so I understand) and present other facets of the ACEZANTEZ sound. In some parts there are more classical elements to the fore, though never do the performances become staid or serious, there's always some underlying weirdness and eccentricity that throws a spanner in the works. I guess this is the key to ACEZANTEZ's musical success and freshness a quarter of a century on. Further description will just confuse the issue I guess, as ACEZANTEZ broke all the rules for conventional composition or what could be perceived as highbrow or contemporary classical (though I guess that's where their albums would be filed in shops), I think their hearts were somewhere else. A left turn the other side of Dada onto uncharted territory! (Alan Freeman)

AUF ABWEGEN (translated)
...Another enigmatic figure of the first London industrial scene is present on this release of Dubravko Detoni with ACEZANTEZ. Steve Stapleton of Nurse With Wound has designed the cover lettering. The music is also from the same territory as covered on the legendary Nurse With Wound list: psychedelic experimental. There is a lot of vocal work in the progressive manner, as well as hissing amplifiers and percussion used as shamanic tools. At any rate the recordings here come from the mid 70's (Zipo)

Having assembled 80 percent of his new music dream team in the mid 70's, Dubravko Detoni set ACEZANTEZ in the middle of his orchestral flea markets, where he enforced his mandatory, constant browsing through the use of electronics and tape. His reissue on Paradigm, containing five marvelous incantations fractured by desperation and a slow congealing of meaning and sense, reminds us not to confuse the degree of agitation his compositions demand with fevered pacing; if the quintet was indeed forbidden from dawdling, compositions such as 'Dokument '75' (for voices, chamber ensemble and electronics) and 'Grafika VI' (free choice of chamber ensemble), spell your name with hillside torches long after welts from the whipcrack have healed (Seymour Glass)

I've taken a reasonable interest in music from Eastern Europe over the years, but I'd never heard of Croatian composer Dubravko Detoni before. He's been creating music, theatre, multimedia as well as a fair stack of writings for several decades. He founded the group ACEZANTEZ and mid-70's recordings of the group playing Detoni's compositions have now been re-issued for the first time on CD. (ACEZANTEZ can also be heard on The Music of Erno Kiraly on ReR.) Detoni's approach on these recordings is extreme and assured. Instrumental sounds and voices are frequently magnified, multilayered and draped in reverberance. In Dokument 75 dislocated voices, string scrapings and percussive string and brass textures are seamlessly blended with electronic motifs. Kitsch Variations opens in a playful mode, until a gigantic swath of bowed cymbal pulls the piece into a more meditative area. The childlike ensemble ruminations (dense multiple keyboards, harpsichord?, toy piano, sax) continue, finding focal points with a succession of transitory sounds - percussion, speech, electronics, bowed cymbal tones and bowed cello re-iterating an expectant sliding phrase. Throughout the CD, the sounds don't seem so much organised as gathered together for an unfathomable ritual that merges space travel and psychodrama. Fable is the most extensive voice piece with a more episodic structure. A strange succession of vocal moods, concrete and found sound, industrial and voice loops. I would have liked a skeleton translation of the texts to help me through some of the longer sections, but the actual vocalisings are of an extraordinary quality - pushing out undefinable characterisations and melding in a fairly disturbing manner with other tape-manipulated voices.Grafika VI is more straightforward ensemble music - strings, wind, and percussion. Detoni draws a precise and concentrated result from graphically notated material. Again the scale of the sounds feels distorted and it's sometimes hard to place where the bigger sounds are coming from. Relatively static organ tones emerge periodically and create further imbalance. Detoni takes a lot of risks. There's a nakedness that approaches idiocy at the climactic centre of Group Gymnastics, when a sombre electronic organ theme grows steadily louder (adding heavy vibrato and distortion) alongside primeval growlings and a plaintive squeak, only to suddenly die away on arrival at a profoundly anticlimactic conclusion, a perverse and at the same time very moving few minutes. This music sounds like nothing I've ever come across before and as such I found it hard to write about. Detoni's music is the epitome of both 'avant-garde' and 'irrational' creativity, but because of the ritual and theatrical aspects (including some welcome humour) and the music's exceptional clarity of design, I didn't find it a 'difficult' listen. I'm left wondering how little we hear of the rich tradition of contemporary music in Eastern Europe and its strong links with theatre, dance and literature. This release from Paradigm gives us another rare and welcome glimpse. (John Kennedy)

Rich, arresting melange of compositional textures in the tradition of AMM, Albert Marcoeur, and MEV. Croatian pianist and composer Detoni had languished in obscurity for decades behind the Iron Curtain, but no more. Here, he and his group ACEZANTEZ (Ensemble For New Tendencies Zagreb) establish a musical language all their own. I hear cartoon samples, African tribal music, music boxes, harpsichords, glockenspiel, symphonic loops, operatic bluster, tinkle and skronk. 70 minutes, highest recommendation! (JG)

As a reissue of five forgotten works from the 1970s this CD of the ACEZANTEZ - Ensemble For New Tendencies upsets not only the categorical limitations that can hinder our apprehension of music but sets out once again how cultural experimentation, especially it seems, in the domain of music, can proceed so complicatedly that it can easily outstrip the paradigms of its own present. Here, little known Croatian composer Dubravko Detoni defies us by drawing undemarcatedly upon all manner of musical traditions: musique concrète, notational scoring, indeterminacy, acoustic improvisation, electronics, chamber ensemble and opera are all unselfconsciously used as a means by which the ensemble can both veer toward and draw away from orthodoxy. Such teeterings encourage us to suspend categorical co-ordinates in favour of a confrontation with the more difficult problem of how musical culture can work idiosyncratically in defiance of such homogenous similitude and how it, in this subversive manner, can inscribe an untimely freedom into a listening presence. The key here may lie in the very fact of this being an ensemble playing works not so much composed by Detoni as equally engaged-in and singularly inflected by all members of that ensemble. The players of this much travelled and tight-knit unit are neither interpreters nor improvisers but some balanced hybrid of the two and when this is combined with the way Detoni (presumably) cuts-up and mixes not only the electronic components but the 'final' pieces themselves there seems to be something created on this CD that is wilful, spatial, citational, aggressive and sinister; that is not one thing at one time but several things all the time; that is auto-conflictual and forward looking. So, from 'Dokument 75' with its rapid timbral clashes and atonal mergings through the dramatic wanderings of the vocal/tape piece 'Fable' to 'Group Gymnastics' with its slowly building and transforming organ refrain the ACEZANTEZ Ensemble attest to their own disappearance as a matter not solely of musical experimentation but of a concomitant emotional experimentation. (Howard Slater)

A fine compilation devoted to the works of this little-known Croatian modernist composer. The five tracks here have been selected from three impossibly obscure LPs issued on the Jugoton label in the 1970s; outside of one equally rare LP on the French Philips label, this man's work has rarely surfaced outside of his own home country. If you want to track down even more music like this, be sure to search high and low for his Forgotten Music CD for string quartet (Croatia Records CD-D-K 509-62-69). Concensus opinion is that this release is significant because it's a David and Gloiath story - here's some unknown Croatian, showing that not all the best avant-garde music was produced in Germany or France, or by famous people. That may be. Detoni's music is certainly technically brilliant, interesting and quite disturbing; other than that I can't say it excites me to a fervently high degree. The best piece for me is the 20-minute 'Fable', an alarming composition from 1973 featuring a reciting voice, occasional interjection from chamber ensemble musicians, and a whole bunch of insane tape manipulation malarkey. There are fog horns, radio samples, shortwave interference, and strange surging noises; jackhammers banging sheets of steel and dribbly electronics. In this fragmented assemblage, the most theatrical and narrative piece here, the voices are going berserk - laughing, screeching, chattering, whispering and reciting what sounds like excerpts from a children's fairy story. Yet there isn't a single recognisable syllable - the tapes are edited, scrunched up, speeded up, run backwards. Not even Samuel Beckett has managed a more accurate study of dysfunctionalism.
ACEZANTEZ - The Ensemble For New Tendencies Zagreb - were formed by the composer in 1970, he is a member of the Ensemble and they play all the chamber music here, while Veronika Durbesic adds the chattering voice. Both 'Grafika VI' and 'Group Gymnastics', composed in the mid-1970s, are fine examples of the composer's 'idiosyncratic sonic inventions'. The former, realised from a graphic score which is reproduced on the sleeve, is all screeching clarinets and shrieking violins, with added studio echo to ensure the harshness eats into your very marrow. The latter is more soothing, with a fine slow churchy organ augmented by random woodwind toots and the tuba playing the part of a paternal, cigar-smoking 300-pound uncle, farting on a huge leather armchair. Just as you start to enjoy the mood, a series of dissonant piano chords come crashing in. Detoni is certainly no desiccated, academic modernist; he incorporates group improvisation into his works, and (like Dumitrescu) clearly values the contributions of the players in his Ensemble, in a way that many Western composers do not. Just how much this is true can be judged by the moving story by the composer about when he made a list of all the friends and artists who could put the world to rights; it was his 'ideal cast, people of many talents and interest' - a compassionate vision that came to him in Military Hospital in 1965. This is probably the Paradigm label's most 'serious' project yet, although label owner Clive Graham is attempting to sweeten the deal by invoking the Nurse With Wound connection yet again. On this occasion Steve Stapleton provided cover lettering, but there are supposedly stylistic affinities between early NWW and Detoni's music. Listen, and discover them. (Ed Pinsent)

The lost world of musique concrete and modern experimental music seems to continue to expand endlessly through the beauty of reissues. Like a rose made out of splintered steel, lost or forgotten musical worlds continue to grow out of the center of obscurity, exploding into the view of a resurgence of interest in early electronic music. ACEZANTEZ (Ensemble For New Tendencies Zagreb) was a group founded by Dubravko Detoni in 1970, which explored such things as music-theatre shows and multimedia installations. The group was comprised of a chamber ensemble with such instruments as clarinets, saxophone, glockenspiel, viola, tuba, electric organ, piano, and celestas, among other instruments including voices. Added into this were electronic devices, incurring a strange sparkling wrath of difficult noises, sounds, and effects, into an already complicated mess. The result lands somewhere between Xenakis, Stockhausen, Ligetti, and Penderecki, and ACEZANTEZ end up as yet another heir to the throne of musique concrete and modern classical. And ACEZANTEZ end up as godfather to modern day sound artists like Nurse With Wound, John Zorn, Tenko, and Zoviet:France. It's thrilling to find yet another early electronic experimental group unearthed. Every new reissue filled with bloops, bleeps, squeals, squelches, and rump-a-pump-pums makes me all giddy inside. I don't know what it is about the loss of traditional musical forms in action that excites me, but this is a perfect example of how to do things right, that no one in their right mind should ever want to hear, and it soothes me that way sounds of nature coming from CDs in a laptop soothes others. Like a collapsing city, the sound of ACEZANTEZ is a sprawling miasma of emotion and simulation of every sort of imagined circumstance of chaos and settling dust. Buzzing electronic sounds ride on waves of radio communication. Sounds of creaking objects inside vast echoing chambers support nonsensical vocalizations. Harpsichord fights with piano fights with drone in a spiraling rotation that mimics a train driving into a cave collapsing under age. Scraping noises of bow on viola strings mimic the sound of an injured bird, followed by quiet organ dirge tempered by delicate piano and humming, pierced by crying recorder. ACEZANTEZ embody the perfect balance of chaos and calm, noise with careful instrumentation, and mystery with complete obviousness. It is a record that, to those who like their music less like music and more like difficult, will be nodding their heads yes, asking where they've heard the influences of this style before, and wondering where they get a hold of more. (Forestter Cobalt)

Serious art here. The collection of five pieces on the CD by Dubravko Detoni come from three LP's released in the seventies, when Detoni was called a Yugoslave and not a Croatian. The ACEZANTEZ is an ensemble he worked with. This ensemble uses piano, clarinets, saxophone, celesta, so the main part of this CD is acoustic music, in a sort of serial classical way. A bang here, a plink there. I am not known as a lover per se of this stuff, but I think it's quite alright for what it is. (Frans de Waard)

The WIRE (July 2000)
Croatian composer Dubravko Detoni (born in 1937) has studied with some of the biggest cheeses of the classical avant garde: Lutoslawski in Warsaw, Stockhausen and Ligeti in Darmstadt, and Cage in Paris. Although an important figure in his homeland with 120 compositions to his name, he remains little known internationally, making this 70 minute collection of five pieces from the early to mid 70s (originally released on 3 Jugoton LP's) a valuable introduction to his oeuvre. 'Dokument 75' and 'Kitsch variations' are rich textural pieces constructed from an unnotatable, intricate interplay of percussive squeals, scrapes and rattles, parched and pitchless woodwinds, and dislocated keyboards. Where the first two pieces are possessed by a strong sense of organic development, 'Fable' is very much the result of studio cut and splice. Unusual in the electroacoustic canon, it carries a subtle emotional intensity; the manipulation and juxtaposition of female voices, in particular, create an unnerving sequence of vocal identities, from the cute and cuddly to the menacing and forlorn. 'Grafika VI' sees a return to the freeflowing improvisatory soundings of the opening pieces, leaping from pianissimo tension to sharply executed string and woodwind peaks. On 'Group Gymnastics', a meditative electric organ, counterpointed by bestial tuba and piercing clarinet, gives way to cascading celesta and piano, before finally restoring a shimmering equilibrium. On the evidence here, this gifted composer and ensemble clearly merit wider recognition (Chris Blackford)

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