četvrtak, 21. veljače 2013.

FareWell Poetry / Frédéric D. Oberland; Jayne Amara Ross; Gaspar Claus - Hoping For The Invisible To Ignite (2011); The Freemartin Calf (2010)

Anglo-francuski muzičko-vizualni kolektiv traga za indie-shoegaze-dramsko-eksperimentalno-filmsko-kasičarskim granicama kako bi ih žvakao u golemim ustima koje recitiraju poeziju.


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FareWell Poetry artist page
FareWell Poetry website
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Farewell Poetry soundcloud

FareWell Poetry is a collective of Parisian musicians and an Anglo-saxon poet and filmmaker.
From indie to modern classical to drone and shoegaze, spoken word and experimental film, FareWell Poetry represents the pooled influences of its core members and passionate collaborators.
The band's richly arranged songs seek out subtle and luminous climaxes, the hypnotically simple melodies falling away like scaffolding to reveal a complex structure narrated by a haunted voice drumming out a dark poetry, echoes from a deep well.
Performing in festivals, movie theaters, concert halls, churches and collaborating with a wide range of guests such as Bérangère Maximin, Gaspar Claus, Dave Olliffe, David Moore, David Fenech, this ambitious project combines incandescent and powerful drama, orchestrated minimalism, experimental film, dark sensuality and luminous poetry.
Somewhere between a sleep-starved Man Ray, the visual performances of Throbbing Gristle or the Velvet Underground, FareWell Poetry exudes a creativity inspired by a state of trance and seeks new boundaries to push back, new doors to open.
'By constantly rethinking and repopulating the landscape of our songs, we attempt to avoid the limitations of a set format, dressing and undressing initial structures, hoping for the invisible to ignite.' - post-engineering.blogspot.com/

Hoping for the Invisible to Ignite is the debut album from FareWell Poetry, a mini-collective that pairs Parisian musicians Frederic D. Oberland (electric guitar, autoharp, field recordings, music box, keyboards, crystal glass), Eat Gas (electric guitar, bass, glockenspiel), Colin Johnco (machines), and Stanislas Grimbert (drums, percussions) with Anglo-saxon poet Jayne Amara Ross, who contributes texts, Super 8- and 16-mm hand-processed films, and tape recorder to FareWell Poetry's haunted sound (the album also features contributions from Gaspar Claus on cello, violinist Christelle Lassort, trumpeter Uspudo, and electric guitarist Dave Olliffe). In some ways, the group's approach updates the spoken word tradition associated with the 1960s bohemian scene where beat poets accompanied by improvising jazz musicians unleashed stream-of-consciousness raps in smoke-filled basement cafes. Listening to Hoping for the Invisible to Ignite, one might also be reminded of The Velvet Underground performing at The Factory, with all of the visual spectacle attendant upon such a “happening,” as one more precursor to FareWell Poetry. One shouldn't make too much of such references, however, as the mesmerizing Hoping for the Invisible to Ignite is radically unlike the material others before them have issued (its texts are anything but off-the-cuff, for example); certainly the deluxe treatment Gizeh has given the release, with the CD supplemented by a DVD disc containing forty minutes of material, enhances the impression made by the project.
The album's twenty-minute epic “As True as Troilus,” its text referencing the tragic tale of Troilus and Cressida that one most naturally associates with Shakespeare's 1602 play, artfully segues from passages of delicate restraint to frenzied freakout, with the group's musicians sympathetically wrapping their collective sounds around Amara Ross's dramatic whisper. Prodded by a mournful wave of E-bow guitars, the music slowly builds in intensity until it deflates midway through, as if readying itself for the even more intense climb undertaken during the second half. A subsequent passage finds chiming guitars accompanying shifts between dreamlike and mournful moods until, fourteen minutes in, the music detonates with an immolating fury that's almost overwhelming.
Strip away the voiceover and instrumentally the group could at times pass for Godspeed You! Black Emperor. That's especially evident during the instrumental moodscaping that occurs during the two-part “All in the Full, Indomitable Light of Hope,” and especially during those moments where electric guitar, glockenspiel, and strings collectively generate elegiac atmospheres. Both groups also share an affinity for slow builds and cathartic climaxes, something clearly heard on FareWell Poetry's album in “As True as Troilus” and in the second part of “All in the Full, Indomitable Light of Hope” when the pieces build to crushing climaxes. Without wishing to stretch the connection too far, even the sombre, piano-laden coda “In Dreams Airlifted Out” suggests kinship between the two outfits. Hoping for the Invisible to Ignite's four tracks were performed in the studio live (though re-recorded to add the natural reverb of the Saint-Margaret of Antioch Church in Leeds to the resultant sound), and as such the material exudes a freshness and spontaneity, the material structured certainly but definitely coming to life in-the-moment.
In featuring Amara Ross's black-and-white film treatment of “As True as Troilus”  as well as a bonus live performance shot at Saint-Eustache Church in Paris, the DVD proves to be considerably more than a minor add-on. The twenty-minute film production has Jean Cocteau's Le Sang d'un poète (Blood of a Poet) and La Belle et la bête (Beauty and the Beast) and David Lynch's Eraserhead as precursors (one might also cite Guy Maddin's entire filmography) to the chiaroscuro visual style used in the FareWell Poetry piece. The visuals display a scratchy, time-worn look that reinforces the hallucinatory, even surreal character of the film content. In certain moments the images, sometimes violent and sexual in nature, are duplicated on left and right sides of the screen and include figures dancing, hands sewing, and a ship at rest in a harbour (additional background details relating to the film are included in an insert, along with the texts for “As True as Troilus” and “All in the Full, Indomitable Light of Hope”). Put simply, Ross's powerful piece brings an entirely new dimension to the CD version of the piece. The twenty-minute live presentation is compelling in its own way too in the way it humanizes the group's ethereal sound by showing the musicians and Ross, like some modern-day enchantress, bringing “As True as Troilus” into being before a small but appreciative audience.- textura.org/

'Hoping for the Invisible to Ignite' was recorded and mixed between Paris, Normandy (FR) and Saint-Margaret of Antioch Church in Leeds (UK), these four haunting orchestral pieces were performed in the studio live, and re-recorded using a 'wall of sound' process, adding the natural reverb of the church to the raw tracks.
The DVD includes the Super 8/16mm black&white film 'As True As Troilus' by Jayne Amara Ross & a bonus live performance shot by Alain Grodard & Rod Maurice during the 'Festival des Nouveaux Arts Sacres' at Saint-Eustache Church in Paris. You can watch a trailer for the film above.
Words on 'As True As Troilus' film by Nicole Brenez (curator for the Avant-Garde programs at the Cineématheèque Francaise)
'As True As Troilus owes its title to Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida (act III, sc .2). In this work, Troilus embodies denial, he does not want to see his lover for what she really is. Despite the fact that she is ‘as false as Cressida’, he remains resolutely faithful in his love, desiring to be the superlative lover.  ‘True swains in love shall in the world to come / Approve their truths by Troilus: when their rhymes, / Full of protest, of oath and big compare, / Want similes, truth tired with iteration (…) / Yet, after all comparisons of truth, / As truth's authentic author to be cited, / 'As true as Troilus' shall crown up the verse,  /And sanctify the numbers.’
Unflinchingly wrestling with denial, As True As Troilus combines two antithetical energies : elucidation that puts into perspective/expounds upon the complex afflicting Troilus, and enchantment that champions over lucidity in order to access a full experience, deeper than any rational knowledge. The film finds its answer in an overwhelming radiance: images that radiate clarity, visceral logic, symbolic readability, and graphic splendour unfurling in symmetry and duplication.
From the onset Jayne Amara Ross retraces denial to its source, death, defining the pathologies of obsession, addiction and monomania. As fugitive passengers in free-fall through time, we reinvent passion, heroism, adventure, or even a tragic destiny, all in order to repress our ineluctable end. Following in the tradition of great cinematic mythographers Jean Cocteau, Maya Deren, Kenneth Anger, Gregory Markopoulos, Etant Donnés but also David Lynch in Eraserhead, Jayne Amara Ross reworks the traditional iconography of the Fates and weaves an astonishing portrayal of the human condition. As True As Troilus is endowed with a poetic fullness, as assured in the (visual, written, musical) images themselves as Troilus is confident in Cressida.
Such enchantment is born from this raw fullness: black loyal to white, a musical soundtrack loyal to the optical vibrations, a film loyal to a strange Elizabethan drama. Never ‘tired with iteration’, As True As Troilus becomes its own protagonist in the sense that it evolves into negativity and magnifies the vulnerability that results from a willing blindness. What madness. But the point here is to transmute this succession of images into psychic irradiance. A declaration of love.' - www.gizehrecords.com/
For their debut, Hoping for the Invisible to Ignite, Anglo-French ensemble FareWell Poetry have gone all out in producing their own Super-8 film and live performance of their lead track to accompany the release. Epic opener 'As True as Troilus' is certainly a statement of intent. Beginning slowly, as all 19-plus minute songs should, Jayne Amara Ross' spoken-word delivery is the first part that grabs the listener's attention. Listed as poetry rather than a vocal, Jayne's delivery treads a fine line between seductive and sedative, resembling in part a female version of Slint or occasionally the rasps of 90s Gregorian chant botherers Enigma.
It is a perfect accompaniment, however, to the backing, initially of delicate, spectral guitars which build up patiently towards conventional post-rock soundscapes, with nods towards Ennio Morricone and, in the often spine-shredding guitars Godspeed You! Black Emperor. With just a brief respite of field recordings in the middle, the song further builds and erupts into a apocalyptic finale. It is an ambitious and foreboding opener which maintains its own identity and avoids the portentousness that the title could hint at.
After that start you would expect 'All in the Full, Indomitable Light of Hope (part I)' to be a relaxing break but it's anything but. Again with a slow pace, the song relies on effects, noises and deep, moody strings which add a mournful and ominous atmosphere to Jayne's poetry. A seemingly airier progression from the opener, the approach is still intense and dark, but is a delight to listen to.
Thankfully, the intensity is not maintained for 'All in the Full, Indomitable Light of Hope (part II)'. With its more reflective e-bow and delay-drenched beginning and marching drums, it is a wonderful antidote. Again with patience, the song builds slowly, adding strings and beautiful chiming guitar riffs in the Explosions In the Sky mould, leading to a crescendoed, triumphant finale which resembles a cheerier, modernised take on 'Mogwai Fear Satan'. Only the short poetry piece at the very end of it, which feels added on and unnecessary, spoils this album highlight.
Perhaps fittingly, the very short 'In Dreams Airlifted Out', is perfect at summarising the contrasting nature of Hoping for the Invisible to Ignite. Opening with an ominous chiming clock, the song flows effortlessly between the sinister and uplifting. With a brooding, minor-chord, harpischord sound either side of a beautiful choral voice and optimistic samples, it is an excellent closer to the album.
FareWell Poetry have produced an impressive and challenging debut which fits well with the aesthetic of the excellent Gizeh label and labelmates such as Her Name is Calla. Let them enchant you on The Silent Bells tour, coming to a venue near you in the UK in November. - soundblab.com/

FareWell Poetry are the latest addition to the rosters of Leeds-based label Gizeh Records, joining the likes of Fieldhead, Sleepingdog, and Conquering Animal Sound. Describing themselves as “a collective of Parisian musicians and an Anglo-Saxon poet and filmmaker”, their first release “Hoping For The Invisible To Ignite” demonstrates the multi-talented nature of the group: the CD and LP editions are accompanied by a DVD with a film by Jayne Amara Ross, whose poetry can be heard among reverberating guitars and mournful strings.
The music draws influences from drone, shoegaze, post-rock, and modern orchestral music, without leaning too heavily on any one source. The delicate, desolate guitar lines of opener “As True As Troilus” recall Dutch trip-rock pioneers The Gathering, before being overtaken by a thunderous storm of noise. Two-part epic “All in the Full, Indomitable Light of HOPE” offers a brighter, more hopeful sound reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s major-key moments, while closing track “In Dreams Airlifted Out” is a reprise of the melodies from “As True As Troilus”, as interpreted by two old out-of-tune pianos.
The stand-out aspect of the group’s sound is Ross’ spoken word performance. Her poetry matches the music for epicness, while her quiet, monotone delivery amplifies the release’s sense of distance and estrangement. Ross’ poetry and film contributions help give FareWell Poetry a distinctive identity in a somewhat crowded scene of post-rock/shoegaze/modern orchestral instrumentalists. Add to this their flamboyant and powerful live shows, and you have a meeting of minds and talents that could well go places.
“Hoping For The Invisible To Ignite” is available in CD+DVD, LP+DVD, and download editions from 26th September. The deluxe LP is limited to 500 copies, and contains something rather special: as well as download codes and an 8 page booklet, a 12″x12″ exclusive art print on recycled board from Alice Lewis is also included, along with three small art prints and a postcard. - Nathan Thomas for Fluid Radio

 Blending the folksy melancholy and fluid poetry of recent Current 93 with the moody romance of Mono, opening piece “As True As Troilus” advances and recedes cautiously to begin with. Only after 14 minutes does it burst through the floodgates as distortion, wailing vibrato leads and thick white noise jets – it’s very cinematic stuff, reaching the sort of glossy, long-awaited climaxes that come crashing in like a Hollywood apocalypse. Poet Jayne Amara Ross makes a distinctive entrance during this opening piece: her words are soft, and her tone is breathy and cracked, with syllables teased out gently like elastic. There’s also a DVD accompanying this opening track, which offers up a dark and dream-like collection of images to run in parallel with the lyrical content (visually comparable to the disturbing black-and-white horror of David Lynch’s “Eraserhead”, as noted by the band themselves). It’s a very grand and assertive opening statement from Farewell Poetry, and any references to sound-alikes do nothing to tarnish the fact that the band are quick to forge a sound all of their own.
However, “All In The Full, Indomitable Light Of Hope” strides away from the band’s distinctive sound and into blatant post-rock cliché – for all its optimistic energy and tidal swell, the piece dwells shamelessly in the shadow of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Red Sparowes, utilising the same tremolo guitar and cymbal wash pioneered and utterly exhausted by both. Amara Ross enters only during the piece’s opening and closing stages, during which the music retreats into sparse, dissonant atmospherics to give her words adequate room to breathe. In fact, it’s these quieter patches that bring the more innovative sound choices into focus, and such creativity is either drowned out or entirely absent as Farewell Poetry charge into crescendo.
Disappointingly, Hoping for the Invisible to Ignite reaches its peak with that first 20-minute piece. The track spreads itself over a lot of stylistic ground, while implying that the band may venture further into stranger, darker spaces as the record progresses, but the rest of the album seems to withdraw into more restrained and rational territory. It’s as though Farewell Poetry exorcise all nightmarish thoughts during this opening track and are left to resort to more conventional and predictable creative choices for the remainder of the record’s duration. That said, there’s no doubt that the band have ample potential and ambition at their disposal; Farewell Poetry prove that they can be exciting and inventive when they want to be, so here’s hoping that future releases can push their capability limits more consistently. - www.attnmagazine.co.uk/

Are you sitting comfortably?
Three long and intense tracks – encased in a sumptuous package, replete with DVD (showing a Super 8 film), beautiful artwork and a ridiculous press release; though you may be spared that… I do wish press people would stop saying this kind of music is pushing the boundaries or doing something never been done before because it isn’t - this is a classic prog-psychedelic rock – in the manner of Amon Düül 2’s epic trips outs on Carnival in Babylon or Yeti. Those less cognisant with such 70’s references could point to the softer side of Explosions in the Sky or 65DOS.
The opener, As True as Troilus, is a long and trippy piece, at points slightly menacing and icy, at others drawing ever so slightly on the “rock singer as breathless poet” vibe that Jim Morrison and Patti Smith patented. The lyrics are, in the main, streams of consciousness welded onto a story of sorts (Troilus & Cressida if you were wondering). A small sample should give you a flavour of what to expect; “Their hearts pregnant like salmon with millions of tiny hopes”... so you can glean that this is a track looking to make you think and feel rather than reason... Attempts at lit-crit aside - As True as Troilus can also be a demanding listen at first, simply because you find yourself waiting – however cynically -for some hoary, clunky old chord progression to start laying down the law. But the arrangements are often beautiful and tastefully reserved, allowing the vocals plenty of room –the piece is more concerned with atmospherics than being too clever and that’s a blessing. Luckily we don’t get into that minor chord work out that all too often makes records like this seem academic or worthy. There’s the usual squall of noise at the end, but that’s fine, what else do you expect? And after a few listens it’s easy enough to enjoy it for the gargantuan mood piece that it is.
After that the intensity lessens; the second track, All in the Full Indomitable Light of Hope – is split into two segments, the first is a soliloquy with sparse backing (cello, electronic noises) whilst the second is a slow moving but harmonious and elegant instrumental piece, one which is curtailed very neatly by a short vocal snippet.  Last up is the ghostly In Dreams Airlifted Out – informed by a church bell and a rickety old piano riff which suddenly starts to slip and slide around once various effects are added. It’s a very filmic piece and possibly the most accessible moment on the record. 
Yes it’s pretentious stuff at times, but worth your attention.- www.incendiarymag.com

"Deep emotional wounds often need to be reopened and scarped in order to have a shot at healing.  Hoping for the Invisible to Ignite invites us to pass through the raging fire so that we might stand on the ravaged side, patting the flames on our singed clothes and glaring triumphantly at the monster that should have destroyed us. One of 2011's defining musical moments. Miss this at your peril."
THE SILENT BALLET 9/10 (album of the month)

“Listening to Hoping for the Invisible to Ignite, one might also be reminded of The Velvet Underground performing at The Factory, with all of the visual spectacle attendant upon such a “happening,” as one more precursor to FareWell Poetry. One shouldn't make too much of such references, however, as the mesmerizing Hoping for the Invisible to Ignite is radically unlike the material others before them have issued” TEXTURA (album of the month)

“a distinctive identity in a somewhat crowded scene of post-rock/shoegaze/modern orchestral instrumentalists.” FLUID RADIO

“More than mere music, ‘Hoping for the Invisible to Ignite’ is a truly breathtaking work”. WHISPERIN & HOLLERIN  9/10

“Full of passion, conviction and musical expertise this is an awe-inspiring album that distinctly showcases the ambition of both the artists and the record label” TASTY 9/10

"atmospheric, noir-ish compositions paired perfectly with spoken-word enunciations. An arresting album, and that only whets the appetite for their live shows." ROCK-A-ROLLA


FareWell Poetry Exclusive

FareWell Poetry Exclusive mix (Fluid Radio)

JAYNE AMARA ROSS, FRÉDÉRIC D. OBERLAND & GASPAR CLAUS: The Freemartin Calf (original soundtrack)

full film on Vimeo

Free Download of 'Swaddling Thickets of White Deafness'


INFORMATION: A very special limited edition release, from the founding members of FareWell Poetry.

The Freemartin Calf is a labour-of-love film and soundtrack, created in the home workshops of filmmaker Jayne Amara Ross and composer Frédéric D. Oberland, with the significant contribution of cellist Gaspar Claus.

Written in 2008 as a deliberation on the creative process, the film relates a day in the life of a young girl and her mother as they brave two very separate realities governed by the desire to both reject, and conform to, the societal roles imposed upon them.

Shot on super 8 between 2009 and 2010 and scored during the spring and summer months of 2010, The Freemartin Calf is imbued with a delicate fragility synonymous with the inner experience of its protagonists.

This limited release includes both soundtrack (180g LP) and film (DVD) as well as the original script of the film and a bonus MP3 download of a live performance in 2011 at Saint Mérry Church in Paris.

A few words…

…on the film:

 ‘The realistic narrative of ‘The Freemartin Calf’ never ceases to enrichen its symbolic basis with dreamlike imagery. Here we are closer to a naturalism that its transcended, magnified. From the ambitious mis-en-scène to the intricate structure of the film and the power of the facture, ‘The Freemartin Calf’ is a film of great maturity – and of extraordinary beauty.’  Gabriela Monelle (Culturopoing, June 2011)

‘Visual symphonies play soundtrack to the poetic voice-over, expanding into a series of images of rare filmic beauty (…). We are shaken by the truth that resides in this innovative expression of the female experience.’
Raphaël Bassan (Short Film Magazine Bref, January 2013)

…on the soundtrack:

 Divorced from its original context, a film soundtrack can all too easily serve up a problematic listening experience. Once separated from its visual parent, a score runs the risk of losing its purpose and narrative guidance - even the finest examples of the artform are shadowed by the implicit reminder of the absent component.
Perhaps then, the first remarkable thing about ‘The Freemartin Calf’ soundtrack is that from a listener's perspective nothing is missing. Rendered with a painterly detail, the piece is an intensive ebb and flow of musical and verbal imagery that harnesses concrete sound, roving multi-instrumentalism and the bewitching performance poetry of Jayne Amara Ross (the filmmaker behind The Freemartin Calf). Ross' vocal and carefully constructed dramatic discourse reside at the crux of the piece, ruminating on notions of the creative act made corporeal as she explores the relationship and bond between mother and child. The spoken text resounds with Plath-like flourishes of language, all the while inflected with an artful, purposeful delivery.
These words are cradled within an astoundingly fluid and complex musical sequence, crafted by sound designer Maxime Champesme, cellist Gaspar Claus and consummate composer / multi-instrumentalist Frédéric D. Oberland, the latter of whom calls upon a dizzying repertoire of tools, devices and music-making disciplines to provide a soundscape full of texture and nuance.
The Freemartin Calf' assumes an episodic quality that thrives on a deft interchange between the avant-garde and sheer harmonic beauty. Oberland and Claus are equally at home conjuring moments of icily cinematic abstraction as they are establishing stirring melodic themes: by turns the soundtrack brings to mind the immersive sound collages of musique concrète pioneer Luc Ferrari and the neo-classical know-how of contemporary composers such as Max Richter or Johann Johannsson. However, going beyond such aesthetic comparisons, in terms of its spirit and completeness as a project, it might not be too outlandish to draw parallels between this work and the ECM release of Jean-Luc Goddard's Nouvelle Vague soundtrack - both eschew OST conventions in favour of a comprehensive auditory survey of the film source, encompassing music, spoken content and location-based sound. The outcome is an acousmatic concoction able to stand alone by virtue of its own merits, offering a no-less powerful sensorial experience than that prompted by the film itself.’  David Roocroft

Jayne Amara Ross
Jayne Amara Ross is a Franco-Australian poet and filmmaker. She is the co-founder of the collective FareWell Poetry with French composer Frédéric D. Oberland. Her filmmaking is characterized by her love of hand-processed analog cinematography and spoken-word poetry. Since 2009, her films have been shown in various European festivals (Côté Court, Filmer La Musique, Les Rockomotives, Festival Signes de Nuit...) and galleries (CCA Glasgow, MAMCS Strasbourg, la Cinémathèque Française, le 104, SixDogs Athens...) and she has toured France and the UK with FareWell Poetry. She has produced 5 films to date and her latest film, The Golden House : For Him I Sought the Woods (2011), received funding from the Centre National des Arts Plastiques (France). She is currently recording Only Yearning To Sail to See (working title) with FareWell Poetry and working on a new film for the collective shot between France and Scotland.

Frédéric D. Oberland
Frédéric D. Oberland is a French composer, multi-instrumentalist and sound artist based at Magnum Diva studio in Paris. Founding member of FareWell Poetry, Oiseaux-Tempête, The Rustle of the Stars, Le Réveil des Tropiques, he has also been scoring soundtracks since 2003 and collaborating with a wide range of talents such as Bérangère Maximin, Witxes, Orla Wren, Glissando, Gaspar Claus, Gareth Davis, Monolyth & Cobalt, Arborea, Colin Johnco, Seb El Zin, etc. From modern-classical to noise, free-rock to electro-acoustic, minimalism to expansive orchestrations, his music transcends specific genres, building an organic and cinematic voyage that can be both epic and subdued, bleak and powerful. Since 2007 he has performed extensively (either solo or with his various projects) throughout Europe, including prestigious venues like the Centre Pompidou (FR), Casa Encendida (SP), Vortex Jazz Club (UK), Cinémathèque Française (FR). His work has been released on labels such as Sub Rosa, Gizeh Records, Music Fear Satan, Fac-ture, Lowave, etc.  

2013 [Sub Rosa]
'The Freemartin Calf' (OST)
2013 [Gizeh]
LISTEN / WATCH------------------------------------------------------

'A Fabric Of Beliefs'
2013 [Denovali]
'Protos Orofos #4'
2012 [Πρώτος Όροφος]
'Le Réveil Des Tropiques'
2012 [Music Fear Satan]


'The World Without Us'
2012 [Gizeh]
'No One Is An Island'
2012 [Sub Rosa]

2012 [Lowave]
'The Rustle Of The Stars'
2011 [Gizeh]
'Hoping For The Invisible To Ignite'
2011 [Gizeh]
LISTEN / WATCH--------------------------------------------------
(Alice Lewis, Bérangère Maximin, Christelle Lassort, Gaspar Claus, Sacha Gattino)
'Un Diable Sur Le Tympan'
2011 [Fac-ture]
'Hommage à Altagor'
2009 [CJC]


Gaspar Claus
Born in 1983, Gaspar Claus has started the cello at age 5. From his long studies in music Highschool with great teachers such as Philip Muller (NMSC, Paris) he kept a part of his technical background. But his current research is based on an exploration of his cello skills beyond its basic use. He uses the whole body of the instrument (wood, metal & horsehair) to create a universe of sounds that he plays during his improvisations with many artists. Besides his solo performances (at the Knitting Factory, NYC; at Star Pine Cafe, Tokyo in galleries in Paris and in festivals) he has several projects with dancers like Nina Dipla or Moeno Wakamatsu, French actors (Anne Alvaro, Serge Pey ), electronic musicians (Rone, J_Mahtab, A. Yterce, Joakim Tigersushi), pop musicians (Ramona Cordova, Damo Suzuki, Kria Brekan, Scout Nibblett, Sufjan Stevens), the flamenco guitarist Pedro Soler (the album 'Barlande' released on Infine in 2012), with Benat Achiary, Catherine Jauniaux, or FareWell Poetry. Constantly looking for new artistic experiences, he is now also involved in many projects throughout the world. In December 2011 he held the artistic direction of a recording in Tokyo with the currents leading Japanese improvisers (Keiji Haino, Sachiko M, Otomo Yoshihide, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Tomoka Kazuki…). The result is a piece revolving around a system born in Japan in the 8th Century, the album 'Jo Ha Kyu'  released on Important Records and Modest launch in 2013.

Gaspar Claus, Jo Ha Kyu

[Important; 2013]
Rating: 4/5
Styles: electro-acoustic, gagaku, shinto, noh
Others: Ernst Reijseger, Toru Takemitsu, Zeami, Stephan Micus

Turning our attention to other cultures, even those with disparate interpretations of human history, offers us a cornucopia of alternative options for artistic outlooks and expressions, which would hopefully translate into a form applicable to the social. It’s certainly no secret that artists have looked to other worlds of interpretation for not only inspiration but also awareness in their endeavors. The renowned recordings of English folk songs that Percy Grainger amassed spring to mind, but so do the folk re-imaginings of Béla Bartók, himself drawing “samples” not only from his homeland in Hungary but also from neighboring countries Slovakia and Romania, even Algeria.
These crucial musical field-tasks (translated into imposing bodies of work, respectively) bear likeness of sorts to Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, a work of the same period and also related to “folk” traditions. However, what differs Stravinsky’s effort from the aforementioned is a dedicated attention to the sacred (in his work, it is the pagan traditions of pre-Christianity Russia). The Rite is duly noted for its importance in 20th century music, yet the individual approaches of Stravinsky and his counterparts would be combined in new explorations by later artists.
Cultural immersion, the kind displayed on Gaspar Claus’ Jo Ha Kyu, is the logical step after the formidable efforts of those artists previously mentioned. While countless others have also done so, it’s fair to argue that much of this work is done in less visible spheres, removed from the cultural elitism that Stravinsky bathed in, and so artists take it upon themselves to delve into the depths of a culture and take it to its extremes — bend it, re-interpret it, even those possibly previously unimpeachable.

The cultural divides between Claus and his collaborators (among them Ryuichi Sakamoto, Sachiko M, Otomo Yoshihide, and Eiko Ishibashi) are noticeably grand, but perhaps that’s what is so intriguing about their combination. Claus himself is the son of renowned Flamenco guitarist Pedro Soler, but he was quick to amiably distance himself from that “archaic” world, instead leaning toward an exploratory approach to the cello, drawing parallels to other experimental composer/musicians like Ernst Reijseger. His now impressive handling of his instrument is made clear from the start of Jo Ha Kyu, which gradually reveals itself as an experience of absolute immersion in his selected cultural expedition, that of Japan.
Fragments and features of traditional Japanese arts rear their heads sporadically before being twisted by the ensemble — Noh and Kabuki theatre alongside Gagaku, combined with extended cello technique and electro-acoustic mangling. Noise, distortion, and drones are noticeable from the start, but they meld together with simple musical devices in a compelling, hypnotically sparse atmosphere that builds, ever so gradually, before finally accelerating and exploding — as close as one can get to an outsider’s immersive interpretation of the traditional Japanese art technique, Jo Ha Kyu — “beginning, break, rapid.”
It’s this attention to the sacred, itself so prevalent in contemporary Japanese society, that marks out Claus’ transformation as a previous cultural outsider to relative practitioner, somewhat of a simulacra that exhibits a meaning and form almost entirely new and of itself. Understandably, his collaborators would have a much longer exposure and connection to Japanese spirituality, but this doesn’t detract from the ensemble relationship; in fact, they aid in translating his reconfiguration of all things Shinto-esque into a bold statement.
This work, so concerned with a radical re-reading of a culture within a distinct form of itself, speaks volumes of a dedicated artistic approach to modern music — taking that of the foreign, the alien, and the juxtaposition with oneself amid a combined effort. Claus does wear his influences of those before him in noticeable fashion — the intrigued and optimistic joy of discovery apparent in Grainger and Bartók, the wonderful timbral world of Reijseger, the refined, philosophical Noh writings of Zeami — but that seems only to add to Jo Ha Kyu’s inherent relevance and, above all, striking beauty.

Interview: Jayne Amara Ross and Frédéric D. Oberland

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TFC CoverAn in-depth interview with two of the brightest lights on the experimental scene: Richard Allen speaks with Jayne Amara Ross and Frédéric D. Oberland about the filmography and discography of FareWell Poetry, The Freemartin Calf, and Oiseaux-Tempête: three amazing projects that burst with imagination.
First off, congratulations on the new release!  As part of the promotion, you’ve offered the chance for fans to host private screenings.  How have these screenings been going so far?  How did you set up the screening you hosted in your own home?  I’m imagining couches, candles, wine and pastries.
Frédéric: Thank you Rich! The screenings of The Freemartin Calf have gone pretty well so far. Some took place in private apartments, some in galleries, some in theatres. To be honest we didn’t know if this private screening idea would work. So it was sweet to see that people were spontaneously interested in doing this. The ones we did at our apartment were really fun. Red wine, pop-corn, candles, good people and the soundtrack mixtape we did for Fluid Radio (“For Valuska”) before the screenings. The film has travelled well (from Hanoi to Manchester, Springfield to Porto) and the call for screenings in still open (more info here).
Jayne: There can be something really impersonal about regular movie theatres and it was nice to see the film screened in these spaces with so much life and character. The film was made a while ago, and finalised for a first screening in 2010. There are many things about the film that I find quite fragile, it was a real learning curve for me, both artistically and technically. The raw quality of the content and form calls for a loving audience, and someone’s home or personal space is the perfect place to find that. The response from galleries, cafés and art schools was also a pleasant surprise, we initially imagined something more low key.
How would you describe the tone of the film?  It seems to change every time I view it.
The Freemartin CalfJayne: I think there is a loneliness that permeates the story. The narrative is centred around two characters who love each other but are unable to participate fully in each other’s lives, and as a result, are unaware of the pain that the other is going through. I think the tone of the film is really raw and sensitive, like a stillness that can really easily be broken. The spaces we see in the film are recognisable as everyday locations but can be read as internal spaces also, the point-of-view is extremely subjective and whether we are following the young girl or her mother, we are essentially seeing their quotidian through their eyes. We are witness to their subconscious projections: onto the other characters they meet, onto each other, onto the dynamics of each situation.
3.  What are the challenges and rewards of black-and-white cinematography?  In particular, how would you describe the role of shadow in your work?
TFC StillJayne : I like black and white cinematography because I find it easier to control. When I want to draw attention to something in the frame, I only have to think about light, nuances of grey, of the architecture of the image. When you use colour, you need to think about light temperature and the emotional effects of each different colour, of the use of a specific palette to highlight meaning, plus all of the above. I like this tri-x stock, the only one I really like in super 8, for me it is a really muscly stock. Because it is a reversal film (the end result is a direct positive, like slide film in photography), there is much less latitude than negative stocks when you are exposing the image but the blacks are so incredibly deep and if you handle it well, you can get a lot of different greys in between. This film really taught me a lot on set and in the darkroom but inevitably, I look back on it now and see a lot of the flaws. Over the years, I have learnt a lot about getting the most out of Tri-x. To be quite honest, it’s sort of like a love affair.
Jayne, please use a few words to describe Frédéric.  Frédéric, please use a few words to describe Jayne.
Jayne: Audacious, strong, passionate, hard-working, gifted.
Frédéric: Visionary, sensual, passionate, rigourous, true.
Jayne: But today is a good day ;-) ! You should check back in with us in a few days time!
… and now please use similes to describe each other, as if you were recording lines for a new LP.
Jayne:  Frédéric approaches a melody like a fireman in love with the flames.
Frédéric:  Like the photographic developer and Lemmy Caution, Jayne’s poetry transforms darkness into light.
The Freemartin Calf benefits greatly from Gaspar Claus’ cello and Maxime Champesme’s field recordings; and FareWell Poetry is a much larger collective.  How did all of you meet?  You seem very close; I would not be surprised if you were able to walk to each other’s homes. 
FWPFrédéric: Well. Everything is always a question of providence and lucky coincidences. Since the beginning, FareWell Poetry has been a constantly changing collective of musicians, film and music technicians, actors, etc. Some people join us for one film shoot, a recording or one specific performance, some people hang around a little longer. More than 30 different people are or have been part of FareWell Poetry, participating in the collective or supporting it in an active way. All of us are friends, some of us really close, like brothers in a way, but we don’t actually all live in Paris. I guess now the idea of being “close” to someone is more about heart and deeds than in a geographical location. Jayne takes care of the poetry and films ; and for the music part there are 4 of us in the band at the moment – Stéphane Pigneul on bass VI, Agathe Max on violin, Ben Mc Connell on drums, and myself playing all the instruments I can get my hands on. We worked with a lot of guests during our shows and recordings and that’s something we will keep doing, calling on new energies, and this is also the case for the films. We work with a DIY spirit: we have a really little money, especially for this kind of project that take a lot of time and effort, and having little money means asking people to work really hard almost for free, which can be really exhausting sometimes… We’d like to have more financial support someday to do all of this, but we don’t want to have to wait for the money to come in to move forward. It’s a worthwhile sacrifice. I’m really proud of the core team, everyone is so hard-working and full of hope. FWP Live IIJayne: For me FareWell Poetry isn’t just the onstage team of the musicians and myself but all the incredible actors, set designers, camera assistants etc. that work on the films. A lot of people have no idea but often the hours spent preparing a film, and on set, exceed the number of hours we spend rehearsing the music. I am really lucky to be able to call on the same technical team for each film. Elise Kobish-Miana, for example, is a crazily talented make-up and FX artist and I have been lucky to have her on two of the films (The Golden House: For Him I Sought the Woods & Persephone II). My friend and wonderful filmmaker, Guillaume Mazloum, is also a regular on the technical side of things. Guillaume is really smart and well-versed in gorilla-style filmmaking, nothing surprises him. Having him on the set means I feel safe to question the action and the content of the film, because I know that he is watching the technical side of things and won’t let me make a disastrous move. And then there is Aneymone Wilhelm who is like my angel. She is one of the sassiest, smartest, most hard-working artist I know. She understands what I am getting at, down to the smallest detail. I always have these crazy ideas for the set that are completely unrealistic with the time and budget that we have, and somehow Aneymone manages to bring them to life. And it always looks 10 times better than I imagined. Frédéric is also an indispensable member of the team, he exchanges guitar and piano for a light meter and gaffer tape and is an incredible ally at all stages of the process. He is as involved in the films as I try to be in the music. These people make the films; I really couldn’t do it on my own.
Is the 21st century experiencing an artistic renaissance?  If so, where do you feel it is most active, and if not, what form do you think it will take once it occurs?
FD OberlandFrédéric: That’s a BIG and tricky question. I was born in 1978, and I only began to play music seriously in the early 2000s. A lot of interesting new things happening at the moment: new bands, new filmmakers, writers, photographers, painters, graphic designers, new ideas. All over the world, it’s now easier to release work independently; there are loads of opportunities. And the Internet is a good tool for discovering new things. Maybe the difficulty is when you want to pull yourself out of the maelstrom, because there are plenty really weak artistic releases as well. We’re living in a period of time where everyone wants to be an artist, wants to be famous. But art is about endurance and not about glory, really. From my side, art is obviously related to yourself but also to your global life, to what is surrounding you. We are witnessing the slow collapse of the world that our parents fought to create. But when you look in the rear-view mirror, often chaotic periods of history coincide with periods of great artistic renewal. I hope that art will play a major role in this new world by solidifying the links between us and others, us and the bigger picture, by forcing us to remain aware, share a communal catharsis, allow new life to bloom from the seat of destruction and chaos.
Jayne: I think that people are sick and tired of being force-fed shallow and insipid crap. Although new technology has made things easily available and it seems that every vacuous trend finds an audience on the Internet, I think that human beings are just as hungry to be challenged and treated like intelligent entities as before. I believe that there will be a return to more substance, in all mediums. A huge section of this MTV generation is bored with fast-food culture and wants more out of what they see/listen to/read: more things to think about, more time to do so, a proper chunk of meat to chew on. And as an artist, I do not think you should have to be able to provide a staple diet for each audience member. We need to fight for substance, diversity and freedom in art. And more money should be invested in this ancient remedy for sick souls.
Few Americans are able to name even one living poet.  Does Europe have a different regard for the modern poet?  Is there a spoken word scene in Paris?  It seems to be a scene with a great untapped global potential.  On a similar note, whose voices do you most enjoy hearing, whether they be alive or deceased?  
Jayne Amara RossJayne: Unfortunately, I think that the US is a lot more responsive to poetry in general than France. I yearn for the 50s and 60s in the UK and US when great poets were household names and poetry readings were a really big thing. I don’t know whether that will ever be the case again. This is why I like the idea of bringing poetry into the landscape of popular music. I have had people come up to me after FareWell Poetry concerts and say ‘I love whatever you are doing, but are you singing? What do you call that?’. In general its easier to follow a friend to a concert, than a poetry reading, or short film screening. There is something more relaxed, more open about a concert audience; you can always have a beer if you don’t like the band or pop in and out of the gig for a cigarette…
I know that there is a small slam poetry scene in Paris, and then you have readings by contemporary authors in national theatres… but both are niches, and seem to only attract small audiences often made up of a lot of fellow performers.
I have always been drawn to poets who perform their work; I think there is something sexy about poetry read out loud. I love Anne Sexton, who is the Janis Joplin of poetry, she has this low, raspy voice and her poetry is so bold and sensual. I also love Leonard Cohen when he reads his written work. As a teenager and young adult, I listened to a lot of Lenny Bruce, Lord Buckley and Captain Beefheart, and they really made me want to perform my poetry.
FD Oberland IIFrédéric: I think France as a big love/hate relationship with poetry in general. Like every French kid, I was taught the old academic and romantic poets at school in literature class. And sadly poetry seems to be frozen there, as a boring part of adolescence, something we were forced to intellectualise. I mean, for a lot of people, poetry is not a part of everyday life. There are plenty of great spoken-word poets living or working in France people like Charles Pennequin, Anne-James Chaton, Christophe Fiat, Ruth Rosenthal, etc; but their audiences are quite small, and sometimes they have to rely on music to be listened to. The novel format is takes up most space in the French media, supposedly for its more accessible narrative form. Which is a shame. Poetry in its sharpness calls on all our senses, challenging our intellect and our emotions. You don’t have to completely understand with your head it to feel it deeply, you can be drawn in despite yourself. Another thing in France -which is sometimes difficult for us- is that a lot of people don’t speak or understand English -I mean more than the 20 simple words you need to travel. That can be a barrier but on the other hand, we see a lot of people appreciate our work without understanding the complexity of Jayne’s language too. There is something in her voice that goes beyond the words that she is speaking. For me, Jayne’s voice is really powerful, full of subtleties, not so far from a singer in many ways.  She definitely joins my favourite voices of all time: Gilles Deleuze, Guy Debord, Robert Wyatt, Jean-Luc Godard, Anna Karina, John Lurie, Marlon Brando, Simone Signoret, Antonin Artaud, Maurice Garrel…
I connected quite personally to the emotion of your previous work, Hoping for the Invisible to Ignite.  Did other listeners/viewers respond in a similar fashion, or do you feel that the public response was more intellectual?  Did the composition and filming of this and other works take an emotional toll on you or on any of the participants?  If so, was it ultimately cathartic or draining?
FWP LiveFrédéric: Yes, definitely. We can’t really play live with this band without being connected to each other. You can’t really play ‘As True As Troilus’ for example without being connected to the content of the film / poetry / music. We have to be there, we have to be true, stand behind the character of Troilus. Sometimes it doesn’t come easily, sometimes we have to struggle for this, but sometimes there is a magic that takes over, sheltering the band, pushing everyone as an individual and creating a collective synergy that is really powerful. That’s the big difference between playing this kind of thing and a 3:30 single. Everyone is important, everyone has his role as a tiny element of the whole. When we began performing with FareWell Poetry in early 2009 we were really surprised at the response. On paper a collective mixing poetry, experimental films and instrumental music can be exciting for some but can also be nightmarish for other people. Luckily we received warm and promising feedback, by friends of course but also by people we didn’t know at all. People coming up to us after the gigs, taking us in their arms, talking about when they broke up with their girlfriends / boyfriends, about their own personal sadness and the positive effects that the performance has had on them. I mean, that is really something. That sort of thing had never happened in my life as a musician before but with this project, it happens quite often. In this case the catharsis is something we share with the audience. We all have been in the Troilus’ shoes at one time, on the edge of a great precipice, and we all need to believe in hope. FareWell Poetry is a small collective, with a small audience but this audience is really involved in the experience. And I am really grateful for this.
Jayne: I think that the advantage of putting yourself out there, without being ashamed to be exactly who you are, with all the heartbreak and failure that comes with being a human being, is that you open up an access for deeper communication with the audience. It may also come across as a little clumsy or maudlin to perform this kind of material in this unabashed way, but that is the risk that we are willing to take. When I wrote As True As Troilus from personal experience, I was so far from thinking that it would mean so much to other people when it finally got out there. Seeing the response, I am doubly rewarded, not only do I feel of some sort of use to others, but I feel less lonely in my own plight.
How do you feel when a work is complete and its distribution has begun?  For example, The Freemartin Calf is presented in three forms: DVD, CD and live download, but once the recipient is in possession, he or she may feel that the works are “done” or “definitive”.  And yet I suspect this and other works remain in constant flux.
TFC PackageFrédéric: We completed The Freemartin Calf, the film and the soundtrack, almost three years ago. Jayne wrote the script in 2008, she shot the film in 2009 ; we recorded with Gaspar in 2010, and worked on the final mix with Maxime Champesme between 2010 and 2011, Nils Frahm did the mastering in 2011… That’s a kind of long time ago now. It’s not always like this, but you often get a delay of time between the moment you decide a work is done, over, and the actual release of it. So its always a strange moment when people start talking about your “new” album. Because for you, it’s not new anymore, it already belongs to the past. Being constantly active is really important in my creative process. I’ve always got several projects on my mind at the same time. That’s the only way I’m keeping some distance with each project, confronting it with an another, learning about experiences from the whole and trying to avoid frustration. And sometimes its enjoyable to listen to something you did, and think : ‘did I actually make this ?’.
Jayne: Well, the past decade has been a real learning curve for me, I started making films when I was 19 and I’ll be 29 in a few months. I can’t say whether it will always be like this, but I find it really quite painful to have to see these films that I made three or four years ago screened now, as ‘new’ releases when I feel like I have made a lot of progress since then, that I can do better. To be quite honest, the process of having to sit through these films is really painful, personally I think that the films are shit. But I have to take responsibility for the work done, and pay tribute to all the wonderful people who participated in their creation. I am hoping that maturity will change this, but for now, even though I am approaching 30, I still feel like a kid discovering the fundamentals.
As for the performance films, they have a sort of fluctuating existence, mainly because the music and poetry changes so dramatically depending on the type and quality of our performance onstage. Although the films are static, the soundtrack and performance space colours the narrative. So much so that sometimes regular audience members come up to me after the gig and say ‘did you re-edit the film?’.
What segments of The Freemartin Calf (film and music) are you most proud of, and why?
TFC Still IIJayne: I think the ‘Girasol’ chapter does its job. It was great filming the two little girls: Orna Assouline who plays the Daughter and Marine Robquin who plays her friend in this sequence. They are so full of life and I only had to point the camera at them to get a sense of that raw energy that children have, that boundless life force. Working with Fabienne Mésenge (The Mother) and Orna was such a pleasure, they both threw themselves into their roles with such generosity. I still find it quite fascinating to see all the womanly strength and beauty exhibited by Orna in this sequence, despite her young age. The music has a brawny, bold energy to it, just like the little girls. Frédéric and I thought that the Indian harmonium would be able to convey both the Daughter’s drumming vigour as well as the solemnity of the Mother’s experience as she enter’s her child’s room like into a temple.
Frédéric: The Freemartin Calf was my first experience of making a full-length soundtrack. I worked with Gaspar on more than an hour of music for this film. And I’m proud of the challenge and end result. Obviously when I listen to it now I think: ‘oh I did this part because of this, it could have been better like that’ or ‘I wish I could remix this track, etc’. But I think the fragility of some parts serve the poetic side of the whole thing. It’s really honest work. Focusing on the details, I really enjoy the tracks ‘Swaddling Thickets of White Deafness’ and ‘The End’ because of the strong relationship we were able to create between Jayne’s poetry and the music. I like also the instrumental track ‘On The Edge of the Great Precipice’ that features on the LP but not in the actual film. It was really enjoyable to work with Gaspar’s cello tracks, building an orchestral moment just by adding lots of layers of one instrument.
Please name one ‘guilty pleasure’ in music, literature or cinema that you believe will surprise us.
Jayne: Katy Perry. She is a real pop star, gorgeous on every level.
Frédéric: I’m a huge fan of this ‘Live’ album from Donny Hataway. Perfect rhythm & blues love music.
Jayne, congratulations on your upcoming residency in Iceland.  My impressions of the country were that the artistic community was extremely collaborative and that creative expression was built into the national character.  Have you visited yet, and if so, have you had the same impressions?  Please tell us a little more about the residency.
Jayne Amara Ross IIJayne: Frédéric and I have been to Iceland three times in the past four years. And I am kind of addicted! Having grown-up in France with Australian parents, and having spent a few years in England, I have a very muddled sense of national identity. Although I do feel strongly Parisian, very Montmartrois actually (Montmartre is an area in the North of Paris), for many reasons, I never thought I’d feel a physical sense of belonging to a particular country. But there is something about the Icelandic landscapes that touches a really fundamental part of me, and for the first time in my life I felt at home. Whether it is something to do with my Viking origins, or perhaps simply my internal landscape, I am really not sure… And this is something that I want to explore during my residency: the concept of belonging and relationship to community.
When I first read the description for The Weight of Mountains residency, I couldn’t believe how attractive it sounded to me. It was like my dream residency come true. I filled out their really thorough application, that included a creative piece, and a whole lot of very tricky questions about my past work and submitted it, thinking that I would never be selected. But I was really lucky! The residency is for technically independent filmmakers only and is focused on the relationship between the self and the landscape, that landscape being North Iceland during the toughest winter months. The residency has set up a mentorship program that includes symposiums with professionals from the filmmaking industry, and although the outcome must be a short film that we will show at the festival that concludes the residency, the emphasis is really on the creative process. For me, as this specific moment in time, it is a really welcome challenge.
Frédéric, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have heard an advance copy of your upcoming album with Oiseaux-Tempête (due in November from Sub Rosa).  It’s a fantastic work, and I’m looking forward to seeing the accompanying visuals.  Can you tell us more about the project, and also explain the provocative cover image, which seems to imply a deity praying to humanity?  Will we see a return of Le Réveil des Tropiques?  And what other projects do you have in the works?
The bandFrédéric: Oiseaux-Tempête is basically a free-rock trio I created with fellow musicans Stéphane Pigneul (who is also an important member of FareWell Poetry and Le Réveil des Tropiques) and Ben McConnell, an amazing American drummer living in Paris at the moment, and who has also become a friend. The first time we jammed together there was this incredible simplicity about being in the same room and improvising the music, without saying a word. We did a first concert few weeks after and it was such a great experience that we decided to go in the studio really early. At the same time I had begun working with my friend and photographer / filmmaker Stéphane C. on a photography/music/video project. We made a few trips to Greece together in 2012, collecting material for this. We did few shows there, in Thessaloniki and Athens, with screenings and improvised music, and the idea for ‘Temps Zero’ (improvised music to photographic slide shows) was born. We have performed several of these in different European cities since.  During our trips to Greece, Stéphane shot some analogue photographs and filmed, I took some field recordings, and began composing with some electronic devices and keyboards. Stéphane stayed longer than me and did some interviews as well. We wanted to capture the decline and chaos of Old Europe and in most parts of the world, the floundering failures of the dysfunctional West. And we wanted to take Greece as a starting point, this country that is at the same time the birthplace of modern thinking and a terrible victim of the global economic crisis.
Somehow this new band, Oiseaux-Tempête, was immediately linked to the work we had been doing in Greece: the raw energy and spontaneity of the music, the waves of sound foretelling the storm, caressing the horizon, the sense of urgency… Stéphane C. followed us into the studio in Lyon and we improvised for three days to the background of his video footage. Back home in Paris, we edited the 17 hours of recording and built an album. Stéphane C.’s photographs and the field recordings, both included on the album, provide the narrative structure of the music.
Oiseaux-TempeteThe cover photograph was an obvious choice for everyone since the beginning of the recording sessions. Surely there is no God who will save us from this individual and collective plight, we have to unite to create a larger force. It is with that in mind, that Oiseaux-Tempête becomes more than just music, I guess. We perform sometimes just as a trio, but sometimes Stéphane C is with us to screen some video footage or photographs. We can choose to play the tracks from the album or to improvise a whole set. It can be a concert, an installation, a live film performance. The final format remains open. We recently scored 20 minute video installation by Stéphane C, The Divided Line, which was screened during the Promenades Photographiques Festival in Vendôme (FR).
Regarding Le Réveil des Tropiques, few live albums should be out on vinyl in a couple of months. This band is really about performing, the craziness of the moment. In the upcoming months, I will work on some new material with Richard Knox for The Rustle of the Stars, featuring Angela Chan and Lidwine, and probably a few other guests. We’ve got a narrative idea for the next album, we just need to figure out how to get together to play. In my spare time, I might embark on a solo piano record, and I’m preparing a 2xLP release of more than ten years of soundtracks… but that’s still confidential!
 What can we expect from the upcoming FareWell Poetry album?  Will “Penelope on the Boredom Bridge” (an unreleased track streaming on Soundcloud) be included?  How does it relate to “Persephone: A Soft Corpse Comfort” (a 10-minute 2010 film by Ross with music by FareWell Poetry)?
As True as TroilusFrédéric: To be honest, we don’t know what the next FareWell Poetry album will look like. It could be a double LP+DVD or maybe two separate ones, maybe a 10 inch with extra tracks could come before that. We will go back into the studio in mid-Novembre. We already have some material we recorded last year, and some of that will be part of the new release, some will go in the trash – which is something we are used to with FareWell Poetry. The first album took two years to make and lots got thrown out… The next recording sessions will be more improvised, there are some written parts as always but we want to allow ourselves more freedom, we want to find a new way to write the music, and to experiment all together, with the poetry and the films as well. We have been working at Mikrokosm Recording Studio in Lyon, with engineer Benoit Bel and we really love this collaboration, and there is a new, vibrant energy in the work we’ve been doing during recent rehearsals. Regarding the films -and soundtracks- there will be three films: Persephone I: A Soft Corpse Comfort and The Golden House : For Him I Sought the Woods as well as a completely new film, Persephone II. We worked quite hard on shooting the film during the summer, between Scotland and South of France, and we’re really happy with the first musical ideas we composed for this. I think we’re all really excited about all of it and if we’re lucky in the studio something could be ready sooner than we thought.
Jayne: I delight in trying to give a literary coherence to our albums, and I am looking forward to creating a structure for the upcoming releases. During our last tour in France, we started performing a cover of a French translation of the Song of Songs from the Old Testament, set to music by a French musician called Rodolphe Burger and performed by Alain Bashung and Chloe Mons. I had a lot of fun performing this cover, in French (a first for me), with Stef picking up the male vocal parts. The Golden House: For Him I Sought the Woods is about accessing transcendence through the physical experience of pain and desire, and is really influenced by a lot of the Christian Mystical poetry and prose that I was reading at the time, as well as my obsession with the Gita Govinda, which is a sort of Hindu Song of Songs. There is definitely something to explore in that. As for the other two films (Persephone I & II), they can be taken as a sort of two-part whole. There is something a little more gothic and fable-like about these two films. The first film is a companion piece to a poem called A Soft Corpse Comfort about the female body’s love affair with Death and the promise of renewal. Although Persephone I is a little more contemplative,Persephone II is a really positive film, I think. So we’ll see, if we keep our eyes and hearts open, the mainline vein of the album will appear. All we have to do then is follow.
A Closer Listen thanks Jayne and Frédéric for their valuable time and thoughtful answers!  We encourage our readers to read and listen more at the links below.
The Freemartin Calf is out now on Gizeh Records
Oiseaux-Tempête is out now on Sub Rosa
Jayne Amara Ross website
Frédéric D. Oberland website
- acloserlisten.com/

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