Ottla - Vogel

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Ottla - Vogel

Label : Unday Records

Format : LP - Abum - Limited Edition - Coloured Vinyl

Release : 12/04/2024 

Style : Jazz - Belgian Pride  


Ottla is a bird that not only sings beautifully but also vigorously flaps and squawks. Also known as a band that Bert Dockx formed to play together once to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Jazz Lab concert series. Fortunately, Dockx and the musicians he gathered for that anniversary sextet quickly found much enthusiasm and more opportunities to play together. In 2019, what initially seemed like a fleeting experiment transformed into composing, rehearsing, recording an album, and playing more. Ottla's fluttering spirit appeared to have cooled down, at least for a while. However, when Josse De Pauw asked Dockx to improvise during a monologue he was working on in 2021, an alternative version of Ottla quickly appeared by Dockx's side. The mystery and madness of Eduardo Galeano's "Chronicle of Fire" (1986), the monologue in question, found a musical counterpart. In addition to the requested improvisation, Dockx developed several new compositions, expanded by Ottla with lyrical guitar passages, improvised clarinet solos, rustling effects, and a sometimes cool, then warm, dark rhythm section. The result was a powerful performance (and live EP) and the clear insight that this new Ottla is no mockingbird.

A new repertoire was in the works, but performing it was temporarily out of the question. Bert's acute back problems in the fall of 2021 dampened the enthusiasm. All music was set aside but fortunately only for a while. Music has always been the language through which Dockx found meaning and order in the world, so this heavy physical and emotional setback would also find its response in music. From that dark period emerged the album "Ghosts," released under the new name Bert Dockx Band in October of this year. That album seems much more like a cage in search of a bird, to speak with a Kafkaesque aphorism (Ottla is also Kafka's sister's first name).

Ottla's latest album, "Vogel" (Bird), is the full awakening after "Ghosts." The window flies open, the sun burns. Fluttering and wailing in jazz-improv-electro-noise-prog-afro-blues-groove-punk-krautrock, Ottla, true to its Kafkaesque nature, transformed once again, and the quartet began further developing the compositions with an even richer language. The album showcases significant contrasts in strength and color between songs, often even within one song. There exists no rivalry between Thomas Jillings and Bert Dockx, but rather a playful dialogue. Jillings, the multi-instrumentalist, expanded his setup and plays saxophone, clarinet, and various synthesizers. The bass and drum parts of Gerben Brijs and Louis Evrard provide tension and thunder, with effects resonating from their amplifiers like mist in an enchanted forest.

To further explore the new music, the quartet performed a series of café concerts in 2022 and some try-outs in 2023. Finally, last summer, they entered the studio to capture "Vogel." In Studio Ledeberg, Peter Desmedt's cage, the spontaneity and dynamics of the performances were preserved, with room for overdubs to enrich the songs just a bit more. The result is an album full of exciting twists: a series of new songs that will undoubtedly continue to transform live. The bird is free.


A1. Ottla - Espejo
A2. Ottla - Droomvogel
A3. Ottla - Wake up & burn
A4. Ottla - Midnight Crawl
B1. Ottla - Jardin
B2. Ottla - Duck
B3. Ottla - Don't cry
B4. Ottla - So long, Tiger!



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