Composer, multi-instrumentalist Stevan Kovacs Tickmayer doesn't create what you'd call easy listening or easy on the ears music. His compositions which categorically fall into what you'd call experimental or avant-garde, are both complex and intense in nature. Basically they demand the listeners attention, yet they are not particularly easy to digest.
Cold Peace Counterpoints is made up of three distinctly different suites of music, two of which are dedicated to artistic friends of his who passed away within a short period of each other. Performed almost entirely by him alone, the first and final suites, Concerto Grosso and Five Bagatelles for a Polyhistor are definitely the most out there musically. You get a veritable sonic potpourri on the Concerto suite as Tickmayer blends his frenzied acoustic and prepared piano excursions together with various samples, wildly off kilter drum patterns and funky bass work, which makes for some very strange yet intriguing results. The "Passamezzo Ongaro" and "Polyostinatio" pieces kind of have an early Mothers of Invention feel to them.
The Cold Peace suite contains only three compositions. "E-Guitar Ostinato" features some furious almost Fripp-like runs up and down the fret board before segueing into "Troparian" which is a dark atmospheric track comprised mainly of just piano, harmonium and eerie synth washes. The suite concludes with a short piece of music entitled "Violin Ostinato".
If Concerto Grosso is the more difficult and complex suite, and Cold Peace the one that is easier on the ears, then Five Bagatelles for a Polyhistor finds some middle ground between the two, although there is some pretty adventurous material here as well. "Ott fogsz majd sirni (Crippled Tango No.2)" is a particularly abstract piece of work with a bit of humor thrown in as well. The highlight of this final suite is the six minute "Our Fashion is Our Brain" which morphs into a lightning fast drum 'n bass track as Tickmayer's fires off a flurry of notes on his piano in order to keep up with frantic rhythmic pace.
All in all I'd have to say Cold Peace Counterpoints as a whole is pretty eclectic collection of music that, as I mentioned at the top of this review, won't be easy to digest especially if you're someone who's not usually inclined to go down the experimental route. If however you're looking for some real adventurous music to dig your teeth into and you're willing to invest some time trying to figure out what Tickmayer's all about musically, then I think you'll find this one has plenty to offer. While I definitely didn't 'get' all of it, I did like most of it.
Concerto Grosso – for keyboards, string instruments and cpu
1) I. Intrduzzione – molto nervosa (2006)
2) II. Passamezzo Ongaro II (2006)
3) III. Polyostinato (2006)
4) IV. Bugle Counterpoint (1997)
5) V. Sempre Pulsato (2006)
6) VI. Les adieux (2006)
Cold Peace Counterpoints
7) E-guitar Ostinato (1997)
8) Troparion (2005)
9) Violin Ostinato (1997)
Five Bagatelles for a Polyhistor
10) Kazimir Malevich on Beach (2006)
11) Our Fashion is Our Brain (2006)
12) The Brave Ventilator (Timeline V Remix) (2006)
13) Ott fogsz majd sirni (Crippled Tango No.2) (1995)
14) Ali jednog dana…(2006)