Posts Tagged ‘Imprv’

Gizeh Records – 23rd November 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

In their biography, FOUDRE! are described as ‘a telluric drone quartet composed of Frédéric D. Oberland (Oiseaux-Tempête, Le Réveil des Tropiques, The Rustle Of The Stars, FareWell Poetry), Romain Barbot (Saåad), Grégory Buffier (Saåad, Autrenoir) and Paul Régimbeau (Mondkopf, Autrenoir, Extreme Precautions) who meet punctually for sessions of ritual improvisation where they invoke noise and drone and the deities of chaos.’

I’m not sure I’m entirely convinced by the punctual meetings given my years of experience dealing with musicians, but no matter: KAMI , the collective’s fourth album, was improvised and recorded live at Le Rex de Toulouse while supporting French doom metal band Monarch! at their tenth anniversary show.

The five compositions which comprise the forty-five minute set are expansive, as much is sonic breadth and depth as duration, and as such, extend in all directions as the players audibly feed off one another intuitively to create immense aural vistas which are every bit as enigmatic as the titles, all of which reference Shinto gods.

Opening with a twelve-minute epic that evolves from dark, low rumblings and sparse down-tuned scraping string-like drones, tremulous, haunting, and hesitant, to a simmering ripple of waves that forge a subtle but sustained crescendo, ‘Raijin’ very much evokes images and sensations worthy of a god of lightning, thunder, and storms. ‘Raijin’ indeed.

Disembodied voices rise wordlessly, ghostly and demonic, against a heartbeat-pulsing beat. It’s all about the atmosphere, and it’s all about the slow burn. And because the shifts are so gradual, so slight, the listener’s attention becomes focused on the detail, attenuated to the tonality and texture of the individual sounds.

‘Ame-no-Uzume’ inches toward a pulsating hybrid of ambience and chillwave, with the eerie motifs of ‘Tubular Bells’ twisting into a funnel of extraneous noise against a stammering beat, and the pieces all segue seamlessly into one another, with an elongated organ drone rising up on ‘Fujin’ (the Japanese god of the wind) before the final piece, ‘Hachiman’, opens with a heavy, head-crushing crescendo of discord. All hell breaks lose amidst feedback and screeds of extraneous noise as the volume intensifies and things get ugly. Unintelligible screams and barks, distorted and inhuman, tear the air across a clattering industrial beat and blistering electronics forging a whorl of sound in a brutal blast reminiscent of Prurient.

If ever the opening and conclusion of a set emerged leagues apart, KAMI carves a most extreme trajectory, taking the full duration of the set to build from a whisper to a terrifying scream. And it’s this arc that makes KAMI so accomplished and so exciting.

More often than not, live recordings leave the impression that something is missing, and that being distant from the actual event is to subtract from the experience. KAMI is different, in that the hi-fidelity recording means it doesn’t sound like a live album, and sitting back while the sound in all its detail emanates from the speakers affords the opportunity to take in those details, the layers, the textures, and to reflect in a way that the in-the-moment experience simply cannot allow. This highlights the differences of the way we as an audience receive and experience different media and modes of delivery; the in-the-moment intensity may offer catharsis, instant gratification, and a sense of immediate impact, but when there is this much to absorb, the distance and benefit of time to reflect and repeat is invaluable. And KAMI is a work to digest at leisure.



Immedata – IMM006 – 4th July 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

‘Instruments that sound like instruments!’ boasts the sticker on the cellophane in which North of North is shrinkwrapped. It’s a good selling point, and I’m not being sarcastic. It’s not a matter of selling tradition, but what could reasonably be described as the album’s manifesto: ‘this is no random grimprov get together or free jazz blowout, this is a serious engagement with compositional parameters combined with instrumental virtuosity from a working band’, announced the press release. It’s a bold statement which is likely to rankle with a fair few in avant-jazz circles, but fuck ‘em. Isn’t that what avant-gardism is all about?

As it happens, there’s a lot of fucking going on with this release. The interior of the lurid pink gatefold cover contains the following uncredited quotation, impressed in silver text:

It doesn’t come from fucking somewhere else,

It comes from your fucking brain.

Your brain tells you what to do, and you fucking do it.

If your brains are fucked, then the music will be fucked.

And the music is a little fucked, but in a good way. In the way that this album is all about what the title states: ‘The Moment In and Of Itself’. It’s immediate. It’s real. The moment is the only thing that matters. The moment is history in the making. It’ a moment in time, captured, distilling the coming together of three musicians to create something – to create music. Nothing more, nothing less.

Featuring the talents of Anthony Pateras (piano), Scott Tinkler (trumpet) and Erkki Veltheim (violin), the album’s five tracks represent spirited, free-flowing improvisation – a subject they discuss at length in the three-way conversation (it’s not strictly an interview) in the 16-page booklet which accompanies the album. It’s all in the moment. It’s not pre-planned improvisation, guided, ordered, conducted. Naturally, just because the instruments sound like instruments doesn’t mean that this is a perfectly accessible work. At times in perfect accord and at others creating tempestuous discord, there are jazz elements in the compositions, such as they are. And of course, the range of sounds three instruments can name, individually and in combination, while still sounding like instruments, is immense, and at times brain-bending.

There’s certainly a strong element of playfulness which runs throughout the project as a whole. What lies North of North? It’s like the question posted in Spinal Tap when discussing the cover to their Black Album. And just as there’s none more black so there is none more North than North, unless you’re going to leave the planet completely. Which could well be the aim of these fellows, as they explore what it means to participate in ‘real-time composition’. I’m also reminded of the Bukowski book, South Of No North. Which is presumably nowhere or also off the planet. Whatever: location is a state of mind.

Leaping between brooding drama and fleeting, skittering leaps and transitioning from moody to frantically busy, with scratches and scribbly scrapes, fast fingerwork and mindboggling intuition are what make this album happen. And in the moment, they eke out extended crescendos and embark on wild detours and impromptu romps in myriad directions. It’s challenging, at times manic and eye-popping. But this is the real deal. It happened. And this album is a document of a moment, as it happened.

North of North