ponedjeljak, 10. prosinca 2012.

Eve Risser, Benjamin Duboc, Edward Perraud - En corps

Klavir, bas i bubnjevi svirani trećom i četvrtom rukom, nekoliko milimetara ispod stvarnosti, gdje kaos nije stanje nego stroga pjesnička forma, heksametar.

click HERE to listen to 2 EXCERPTS

EVE RISSER prepared and unprepared piano
BENJAMIN DUBOC double bass

I kind of fell head over heals for avant jazz this year.  I've been tip toeing around it for a couple years now and this year, the year of Mayan enlightenment/apocalypse, I've found myself finally falling into the genre without reserve.  If you follow the blog, maybe you've noticed (and, like Erin, are disappointed).  By and large I am drawn to the bombasticly chaotic and swinging (best when hand in hand), which is what makes En Corps, a spare, non-swinging evisceration of jazz, such a surprisingly delicious and eye-opening discovery for me.  The album seems to burrow deeply into the tension of the almost-explosion: the space of the music world that precedes and bubbles towards a crescendo--yet here, Risser (piano), Duboc (bass), and Perraud (drums) dig their heels in and ride that tension of the almost-chaos (which is a chaos all its own) into a space that is both maddening and enlightening.  Consisting of two tracks, the first of which expands beyond a half an hour (the second, fifteen minutes), there is something to be said about the endurance of the musicians and the listeners who brave En Corps, but its a listening experience that rewards like nearly no other in 2012 that I can think of.  Something of a holy grail for adventurous listeners, I don't care what your stripe. - Forest Gospel

This magnificent French trio is comprised of three promising and yet underrated young musicians— experimental pianist Eve Risser, an explorer of paradoxical piano sounds and a member of the French-Swedish-German musicians collective Umlaut, the band The New Sounds and the duo Donkey Monkey; likeminded prolific bassist Benjamin Duboc, whose activity encompasses free improvisation, free jazz and music for dance and films; prolific drummer Edward Perraud, leader of a few outfits, member of Das Kapital and collaborator with free improvisers such as guitarist Fred Frith and vocal artist Elise Caron.
On this debut trio recording, all three manage to marry their experimental sonic researches with a highly communicative and inventive improvised attitude. The two long improvisations move vertically on one hand—featuring delicate and ethereal interplay—and, on the other, develop horizontally, where all three explore clusters of unorthodox sounds without attaching themselves to any one sound, fixed rhythm, role or pattern. Such focused and patient conviction, sensitive flexibility, balance, and profound and highly personal musical language create the essence of the first improvisation, the 35-minute "Trans." It is transformed, patiently and organically, from spare and light articulations into intense, physical sonic crescendos, without ever losing its cohesive power.
The second, 16-minute "Chant d'ente" is less powerful than the first but still present the same determined and experimental approach. It is built on sharper exchange of sonic gestures that keep expanding until they form a broad canvas of sounds and colors. And just as these beautiful, arresting sounds reach their intense peak, they suddenly end.
One of the best releases of 2012 from a trio of incredible musicians who produce fantastic and captivating music. - EYAL HAREUVENI

Two for two, Dark Tree. Last year’s Pourtant les Cimes des Arbres was a challenging, powerful piece of music, a perfect snapshot of the bold, demanding improvisation currently being produced on the French scene. It was also a hell of a way to launch a record label. So, even after multiple listenings, it’s still a little hard to digest the fact that their follow-up—En Corps, with Eve Risser on piano, Benjamin Duboc on bass and Edward Perraud on drums—is even more challenging and jaw-dropping. I’m utterly consumed by En Corps. Lately, I have little desire to listen to anything else. There isn’t anything else that sounds like it.
Duboc’s a large part of the label’s success—he features on both albums, and is one of the most interesting, idiosyncratic bassists in the improvising world. “In his works, he intends to shape time,” proclaims his bio. A seemingly nebulous statement, but upon reflection, one that actually captures Duboc’s sound with striking accuracy. He comes across more as a fearsome sonic omni-presence than a single voice in a trio. His colossal drones and hypnotic figures compose the very medium his band mates move through. The end result is a positively monolithic slab of sound. There’s an eternal quality to En Corps, like being suspended in some temporal void in which you have always been listening to these sounds, sounds that will continue on with no conceivable end. Even with music so intense and alien, it’s an awe-inspiring feeling; the raw “power of music” without any of its cliché connotations.
Don’t get me wrong—this isn’t all about Mr. Duboc. Perraud is a talented drummer, a blur of limbs who brings a nuanced ear along with all his free jazz fury. Risser, who headlines the bill, is a less familiar name, but a stunning musical presence. She works in stabbing chords, small repetitive motifs, currents of dark, muted sound. She never disguises the fact that she’s playing piano, and yet she doesn’t sound like a piano player. En Corps sounds nothing like a piano trio. Risser brings density and delicacy, strong rhythm and looseness, freedom.
And so I’m both consumed and confounded. I’m left to listen again and again, trying to puzzle out what it is that makes En Corps so thoroughly different from so much of what I’ve heard before. When it’s not on, I find myself yearning for its ambiguous rhythmic undertow, for the tiny details of piano that must surely be played by Risser’s third or fourth hands. So I pop it in the player again, and it’s always just as good. Best album of 2012. - Dan Sorrells

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