TILT (2006)

An enigmatic release from Slovenian sound artist Tao G Vrhovec Sambolec, whose live electronics engage very effectively with the deconstructed articulations of double bassist Tomaz Grom. Three tracks were recorded live in Allicante, Spain, in 2004, the remaining four in Ljubljana in the same year. The bass is identifiably present as major sound source but the dynamics of the duo are unequivocally electronic. The layering and pacing, audible transformations, depth of field and clustering of events all evoke the spirit of classic studio-bound tape composition, but Tilt has the peculiar excitement and enlivening spontaneity of real- time realisation.

 Julian Cowley, The Wire, 276, February issue 2007


Following a number of CDR releases, the L'innomable label now expands for the first time to the world of CDs, but at the same time they release a CDR too. Perhaps they found a little bag of money? Tilt is one Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec who plays 'live electronics' and one Tomaz Grom who plays double bass. The seven cuts on their disc were recorded in Alicante (the first three) and in Ljubljana (the last four), all in 2004. It starts out quite soft, the Alicante recordings, and one could easily think this is another of those onkyo improvisation releases, but it is not. Quite soon there is a lot more happening and it seems to me that the live electronics don't play a separate role from the bass, but that he is processing the sounds produced by Grom. Especially the Alicante recording is very vibrant and offers lots of small changes and new insights. The Ljubljana recording is a bit more chaotic, less structured and overall a bit too simple in terms of processing. Throughout a very fine disc.

Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly 551 - November 2006


''Tilt" is an interesting duo of electronics guru Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec and bassist Tomaz Grom. Half of the record was recorded in Alicante, while the other half was done in Ljubjana. Once again, Grom does everything in his power to mask the fact he's playing the bass, while Sambolec uses a massive array of tools to come up with blurts, bleeps, crunchy bits and tasty bites. Their interaction shines as with each track they move inches closer to a common ground that helps both musicians define their true duo identity. The closer they reach that ultimate pinnacle, the more satisfying their common musical mass becomes.''

Tom Sekowski,


I have to admit to not being a huge fan of minimalism as a design conceit for CD packaging. Give me long lists of semi-useless information and lots of graphics any day. I’m going to have to make an exception for this self-titled release from duo Tilt, however, as it perfectly matches the stunning sounds found on the disc and left me intrigued and wanting to find out more.

The sounds are based on Tomaz Grom’s double bass improvisations which are digitally manipulated in realtime by Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec. The double bass is used in its entirety to generate audio - from bowing and plucking the strings through to tapping the body, rubbing the neck with hands to produce quiet squeaks, bowing the wood - anything that can produce raw information to be processed. It is the interplay between these sounds and the processing that is so impressive. One incredible section midway through the second track (the tracks are numbered rather than titled) sees the bass start out sounding as one would expect a bowed double bass to sound, then seamlessly morphs into a violin sound, then a bird whistling, a trumpet, a needle scratching old vinyl, and then silence. It’s possibly completely created just on the double bass, but it is difficult to tell. At times, it is only placement in the stereo field that allows discernment between the two artists, at others this discernment is impossible, so sympathetic are they to each other’s playing. Sambolec keeps his DSP manipulation extremely focused. Every sound he generates is short and sharp and has an individual clarity. He never lapses into drone, the default fallback of much of this kind of music, but keeps things constantly bursting and shifting. Conversely, he refrains from the kind of painful, ear piercing of noise artists, but maintains an inviting warmth throughout.

The structure of the seven tracks, recorded in two separate sessions in Spain and Slovenia in 2004, ebb and flow in a traditional classical sense, Sambolic and Grom having an innate understanding of when to use repetition and when to move on in order to hold maximum attention. At just under 39 minutes the album is perfectly timed and paced. A great listening experience from two musicians who have established strict, and fairly minimal, boundaries in which to explore every available nuance.

Adrian Elmer, Cyclic Defrost Magazine


Tilt is Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec (live electronics) and Tomaz Grom (double bass) and this self-titled disc documents two performances from Alicante and Ljubljana in 2004. Their approach is fairly rough and tumble, at its best a brutal welter of noise whipsawing back and forth, leaving bruises. Grom often sounds like some bastard offspring of Barry Guy and Simon Fell, but more extreme than either, abusing his instrument within an inch of its life in a generally absorbing manner, weaving through the minefield established by Sambolec’s circuitry. They do settle down once in a while. The second part of the Alicante set evolves into a small thicket of static pops and whistling tones but not for very long. The pops mutate in harsh clawings, the whistling into taut thwanged strings. That set peters out somewhat desultorily, however, unspooling like a cassette thrown out a car window.
I prefer the Ljubljana performance as a whole. It just coheres better (assuming coherence is a concern here, something about which I’m not so sure). It opens with wacky whirs next to a bass that sounds like it’s being strummed as its player falls down a flight of stairs and goes outward from there. There’s the requisite subsidence, but this time it evolves into a near-tonal passage where the bass, I swear, summons up the specter of Eberhard Weber. This isn’t a bad thing, in context, and the music acquires a lurching sort of gait, caroming out of the room.
It’s not a bad disc, all told. Fans of anything from the late, lamented Voice Crack to the Bohman Brothers will likely enjoy it.

Brian Olewnick, Bagatellen - November 2006


Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec (live electronics) and Tomaz Grom (double bass) were captured live in two different exhibitions (Alicante and Ljubljana) in 2004. It’s hard to classify what these gentlemen do, as their music runs the whole course linking EAI (with a tad of low-budget attitude) and very lively electronica spiced with an advanced sense of humour that - to quote a recent delusion - was one of the missing ingredients in Adam Linson's CD on Psi, which more or less features the same instrumentation. Tilt work according to a system of cellular reproduction with spastic expansions and contraptions; they start with a few background noises hinting to potential damage, the creature gaining confidence and strength through well placed thuds, strokes and rasps by Grom's bass clawed by Sambolec's whirlwind electronics, mostly based on pitch-shifting and digital-delaying appliances that morph the deep growl of the wooden instrument into deranged chipmunks trying to pickpocket your wallet. The manipulation remains more or less constant, and rarely the sounds are allowed to stabilize a "personality". We encounter visions made of scattered dynamics and rapidly unfolding complexities that, accepted by the mind, suddenly disappear to leave the scene full of holes and gaps, barely filled by unpromising evaporations and creaking mirages. The record is definitely entertaining, not exceptionally deep but, in its own way, it manages to invade those few pleasure cavities where more "serious" efforts miserably fail.

Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes


Finally, a homegrown entry in L'innomable's catalogue! Slovenians Tomaž Grom and Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec have been working together as Tilt for 10 years now. Grom has played bass with the Alzheimer Trio, Lolita Libre, Bast, Zlatko Kaucic, GAP and Sonny Simmons, and also works in electronic composition for dance and theatre. Vrhovec Sambolec studied clarinet and composition at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, curates a music series at the Galerija Kapelica, and nowadays divides his time between Ljubljana and Amsterdam. This self-titled disc is their second, following a collaboration with poet Primož Cucnik released as Dvojnik ("Double") (Sploh, 1996). The first three tracks are from a 2004 performance at a festival in Alicante, and find them in sound-arty EAI mode, with Grom's acoustic bass embraced by the clicks and glitches of Vrhovec Sambolec's live electronics. It's raw, confrontational music, but excellent stuff, never succumbing to overplaying or self-parody. Tracks four to seven were recorded the same year at home in Ljubljana. The music is quieter and more relaxed: ambient drones are weighed down by looped sonic interventions (Thomas Lehn or Anthony Pateras come to mind); Vrhovec Sambolec's electronics double his circular-breathed reeds, and Grom gets percussive sounds out of his bass's prepared strings and body. It's good to hear that the musicians are living in the 21st century: there are even some references to club culture, and a few quotes (Steve Reich via Autechre on the last track). An excellent release, well up to the high standards of the L'innomable label.

Vid Jeraj, Paris Transatlantic



Het Haagse Koninklijk Conservatorium bezit een Afdeling Sonologie waar interessante dingen gebeuren. Dat is niet zo verwonderlijk, want bij het onderzoeken van het fenomeen geluid worden natuurlijk ook de grensgebieden geexploreerd. Gilius van Bergeijk, zelf al decennia bekend om zijn bizarre tape-composities en andere electronische werk, geeft er bijvoorbeeld les. De afdeling schijnt ook veel buitenlandse studenten aan te trekken. Twee van hen, afkomsitg uit Slovenie, hebben een bijzondere CD gemaakt getiteld Dvojnik (= Dubbel), zommer 1999 in hun woonplaats Ljubljana. Geen electronische high-brow, maar een portie muzikale inventiviteit die je meteen overdondert. Onder de naam Tilt gaan schuil Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec en Tomaz Grom. Tao speelt klarinet, fluiten, percussie en accordeon, Tomaz speelt contrabas en percussie; beiden gebruiken samples en computermanipulaties en leveren een deel van de vocalen. Poezie en ruimtelijkheid spelen een belangrijke rol. Ze hebben de gedichten van hun vriend Primoz Cucnik als uitgangspunt genomen, en de akoestik van ruimtes varierend van de straat tot huiskamers tot de opnamestudio een cruciale rol gegeven. De teksten staan zowel in het Sloveens als in het Engels afgedrukt, wat prettig en leerzaam is, niet alleen omdat weiningen hier Sloveens kennen, maar ook omdat de stemmen vaak dusdanig gemanipuleerd of over elkaar heen gedubt zijn, dat zelfs een Sloveen ze niet zal kunnen verstaan.

Het werkt in elk geval zeer sterk als klanken-poezie waarin bestaande woorden geen rol meer spelen. Een goede aanpak van Tilt want Primoz is niet bepaald een Shakespeare, maar wel een heel sensitieve en 'down-to-earth' dichter. Hijzelf is een aantal nummers te horen, ook leveren een aantal gasten (waaronder medestudenten van het Conservatorium) hun stem.

De muziek is verfrissend, van Residents-achtige loopjes met rare vervormde stemmetjes tot vrije impro met percussie en blaasinstrumenten. Hier an daar wat noise-uitspattingen en techno-achtige patronen, maar evenzeer subtiele fluisterstukjes. In een van de gedichten van Primoz wordt een uitspraak van Tomazgeciteerd: 'Een goed stuk is als een stuk kauwgom, het rekt en spreidt naar alle kanten, zonder dat het breekt.' Dat is een toepasselijke omschrijving van deze CD als geheel vind ik. Van Tomaz Grom kende ik al zijn solo-CD 'La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc' uit 1996, een prachtige meeslepende eigen soundtrack bij de stomme film van Carl Theodor Dreyer uit 1928. Zowel die CD als deze nieuwe van Tilt werden financieel mogelijk gemaakt door het Sloveense Ministerie van Cultuur. De muzikanten distribueren ze zelf, voor meer informatie bel nar Dodorama (010-4762290) of kom ze beluisteren.

Mariette Groot, Fake Magazine #5-30, 1999 - Rotterdam