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Nous perçons les oreilles More from the press

In the press

Du bruit à la musique

Laure Henri-Garand, Le Délit français, March 16, 2010

Le 10 mars dernier, le Goethe-Institut accueillait les Productions SuperMusiques, en collaboration avec la Saison Le Vivier et la maison de Disques DAME, pour un double lancement d’album de musique actuelle.

D’emblée, le concert s’annonçait intime: les quelques soixantedix sièges de la salle McLaren du Goethe-Institut, coin Sherbrooke et Saint-Denis, étaient occupés aux trois quarts quelques minutes seulement avant le début du concert. Un public d’initiés, à en juger par les conversations autour de moi –voilà ce qui arrive lorsqu’on se rend seule à un concert de musique actuelle– qui donnaient l’impression que tous se connaissaient. Intime aussi, la courte présentation de Danielle Palardy Roger, directrice musicale et artistique des Productions SuperMusiques, qui semblait s’adresser à des amis plutôt qu’à un public d’étrangers. Exit les grands discours, c’est la musique qui est à l’honneur ici, une musique qui défie toutes conventions et qui s’inscrit bien au-delà de l’expérience d’écoute traditionnelle. Car voilà le mandat de cet organisme à but non lucratif, fondé en 1979 par trois musiciennes (D. Palardy Roger, J. Hétu, D. Labrosse) aux parcours éclectiques: «promouvoir des musiques créées sans souci du commerce, des modes en vigueur ou des conventions académiques».

Divisé en deux parties, le concert faisait figure de lancement pour les deux ensembles invités, Nous perçons les oreilles, une formation composée de Jean Derome et Joane Hétu (aussi codirectrice des Productions SuperMusiques), ainsi que le duo formé par Ignaz Schick et Martin Tétreault.

Sans cérémonie, Derome et Hétu se sont installés sur la petite scène qui sert normalement de salle de cinéma pour interpréter l’intégrale de leur troisième album, Shaman, une pièce en douze sections d’une trentaine de minutes. Les deux musiciens, qui ont chacun un parcours musical impressionnant, utilisent en plus de leurs instruments respectifs (saxophones, flûte et voix) tout un éventail d’objets-instruments, permettant ainsi une combinaison de textures sonores que viennent mettre en valeur une écoute et une virtuosité évidente. Résultat: une ambiance étrange, faite de couinements et de clapotis presque surréalistes, dans laquelle les concepts musicaux traditionnels –harmonies, gammes, formes, etc.– sont complètements transformés, voire évacués.

Pour la deuxième partie, Ignaz Schick et Martin Tétreault avaient installé leurs tables tournantes (sans disques), ordinateurs portables et autres objets disparates sur deux longues tables au fond de la scène. Plus sobre, le duo a interprété quelques extraits de son dernier album, Live • 33 • 45 • 78, dans lequel il combine des matériaux bruts (bois, métal, plastique, papier…) à l’utilisation novatrice de la table tournante. Schick, qui vit à Berlin, et Tétreault, un montréalais, sont deux habitués de la scène électronique et ont chacun à leur actif un nombre impressionnant de contributions à divers groupes et festivals. Leur musique, pratiquement indescriptible, oscille entre le bruitisme et la musique d’ambiance, tantôt chaotique, tantôt syncopée, mais cherchant toujours visiblement à s’éloigner de tout terrain connu.

Malgré une expérience tout à fait intéressante, ce serait mentir que d’affirmer que ce type de musique est accessible à tous. En l’absence des repères traditionnellement associés à la musique (mélodie, rythme) l’auditeur non-initié se retrouve perdu. Et pourtant, l’expérience est enrichissante: elle impose une écoute nouvelle, et place l’auditeur hors du confort du système tonal et harmonique traditionnel. C’est, on en convient, le propre de la musique expérimentale.

… l’expérience est enrichissante: elle impose une écoute nouvelle, et place l’auditeur hors du confort du système tonal et harmonique traditionnel.

On Location. Live and kicking: festivals, concerts, events in the flesh. All Frontiers. Nuovo Teatro Comunale & Sala Civica Bergamas, Gradisca d’Isonzo, Italy

Daniel Spicer, The Wire, no. 311, January 1, 2010

Gradisca d’Isonzo, a small and unremarkable town in the north east of Italy, seems an unlikely spot to host an international festival of experimental music. But, close to the border of Slovenia, it’s the sort of place that can easily get hold of the generous government funding needed to draw the region closer to the heart of the nation. It explains how this three-day event managed to present artists from three continents to packed houses absolutely free of charge – a situation unthinkable in most other locations.

Still, much of the music would be familiar to seasoned festivalgoers, with the majority of musicians drawn from the fringes of Improv and free jazz. (…)

Canadian duo Nous Perçons Les Oreilles, ventured into some of the furthest out areas of improvisation. Combining twin alto saxes with Jean Derome’s whistles, flutes and mouthpieces and Joane Hétu’s vocal groans, whines and whinnies, they produced an ever evolving thicket of organic noise with a heavy dose of sound poetry. (…)

Bari Taverna del Maltese - Nous perçons les oreilles

Alberto Francavilla, Jazz Convention, May 12, 2005

Per la rassegna Idillio màgico, organizzata dai musicisti pugliesi Gianni Lenoci e Mario “Jillo” Volpe, in collaborazione con Dream Lab, in scena, alla Taverna del Maltese di Bari, il duo canadese Nous perçons les oreilles (NPLO).

Gli NPLO, fondatori dell’etichetta Ambiances Magnétiques, sono senza dubbio due tra gli artisti più interessati alla sperimentazione e alla contaminazione di linguaggi nel panorama mondiale. Come ben esplica la breve presentazione che precede il concerto, amano definirsi «due sax, due voci, due gorgogliatori, due satiri, due forze della natura che si dimenano, cinguettano, soffiano, mordono e trasformano la musica in incantazione profana e festa di suoni.»

Non è una caso che Jean Derome (sax, flauto, voce e “small instruments”) e Joane Hétu (sax e voce) abbiano deciso di essere accompagnati da Gianni Lenoci (tastiere) e Mario “Jillo” Volpe (elettronica, oggetti sonori), che da sempre hanno cercato di smuovere il panorama musicale pugliese con progetti originali e d’avanguardia. Ed infatti il concerto, completamente improvvisato, si articola in pratica in una sola traccia, all’interno della quale, però, è costante il mutamento di suoni e, conseguentemente, la creazione atmosfere diverse.

Derome e Hétu si confermano nella veste di agitatori, sovvertendo i tradizionali canoni della melodia sonora, grazie all’utilizzo insistito di vocalizzi, ma anche di particolari sonorità ottenute con le labbra e persino con i denti!

Dal canto loro, Lenoci conferma la sua consolidata fama di pianista versatile e foriero di soluzioni armoniche alternative. Si integra perfettamente con le stravaganze del duo canadese, partecipandovi anzi attivamente con particolari vocalizzi; Jillo assume una funzione quasi di «regista», essendo incaricato alla distorsione di suoni e voci, e partecipando alla costruzione di questo particolare clima con il ricorso a strumenti improvvisati (per es. legnetti, una scodella e persino un tubo!):ancora una volta, quindi, ribadisce il suo caratteristico ruolo di «manipolatore di suoni».

Risulta chiaro l’intento, peculiare dell’attività di ciascuno dei quattro artisti sul palco, di ricercare nuovi linguaggi sonori, dimostrando che la musica è un elemento intrinseco alla natura, e dunque che si possono creare melodie utilizzando oggetti tipici della nostra vita quotidiana. Inoltre è propria l’intenzione dei NPLO di «suonare il corpo», in modo da esprimere una nuova dimensione della fisicità, che diventa «naturalmente» melodica, anche se in alcuni momenti sfiora l’abrasione uditiva. Non si può comunque negare che la performance risulti molto originale, ed ottiene indubbiamente l’effetto di provocare in taluni punti una sensazione di inquietudine, se non proprio di angoscia. Questa percezione sarebbe forse stata ancora più efficace, se fosse stata accompagnata dalla proiezione di immagini (diapositive o video), che ne avrebbero aumentato il potenziale suggestivo; purtroppo la fusione tra arte sonora e arte visiva (che è una particolarità del duo Lenoci-Volpe, nda) non è stata in questo caso possibile, dato che era la prima volta in assoluto che essi si trovavano ad esibirsi col duo Derome-Hétu, e perlopiù si trattava di un’improvvisazione.

Per concludere, il concerto è risultato di difficile comprensione per un pubblico che è apparso «improvvisato» e impreparato; d’altronde è questo il rischio di esibirsi in un pub, solitamente ricco di avventori e gente «di passaggio». Ciò ha causato in più momenti un fastidioso brusio che impediva una ascolto accurato, per un’esibizione che aveva bisogno di più attenzione e, quindi, di maggiore silenzio. Rimane innegabile, però, che la Taverna del Maltese risulti ancora una volta tra i locali più attenti, nel panorama barese, nel dare voce a nuove forme artistiche e musicali, promuovendo prodotti ed iniziative che si muovono su terreni nuovi, un fenomeno che è difficile riscontrare da queste parti.

Edgefest 2004, Ann Arbor MI, 13-16 October 2004

David Dupont, One Final Note, November 1, 2004

Edgefest in Ann Arbor, Michigan is an avant-garde jazz Brigadoon. Walking into the Kerrytown Concert House, the same folks are settling into the same seats as they were just over a year ago, and as they have been in the six years I’ve been making the trek up here. And even the leader of the band ready to take the stage was familiar. Guitarist James Emery had been here last year with the String Trio of New York. In fact, Edgehead-in-chief David Lynch likes to present musicians in different formats. This year he presented Emery leading his own quartet featuring ace reedman Marty Ehrlich with the rhythm team of bassist Drew Gress and percussionist Kevin Norton.[…]

But Thursday I’m ready to make the short six-block walk to the Firefly Club, a cozy nightspot in the heart of Ann Arbor’s downtown. Opening the two-band show was Nous Percons les Oreillles (We Pierce the Ears) featuring Jean Derome and Joane Hétu. Derome’s appearance is an example of how festival producer David Lynch likes to work. In 2002, Derome was at the festival with two different groups. In 2004, he returned with a third aggregation, a duo with his wife. Together they delivered their own brand of urban bohemian folk music. Their sounds seemed rooted in the urbane detritus of a cosmopolitan household. They both sing—she in a powerful, malleable voice and he in a rich, but unaffected voice. They both play saxophone, though on this night the saxophone playing seemed more of an emulsifier than the key ingredient.

Derome adds a toy chest full of little instruments—toys, whistles, animal calls, which the duo brought together in odd, whimsical combinations. Sometimes their singing seemed to be emanating from a church. Or on one number, Hétu produced gagging sounds as if she had something lodged in her throat. It had the audience on edge, caught in that odd place wondering whether this was to be taken seriously. I smiled, and breathed a sigh of relief when Hétu’s voice suddenly rang free. Following the piece, Derome explained the text. Sure enough, it was about having something caught in the throat. Yet this was more than the reprise of an unfortunate scene one might witness at the dinner table. Even at her most strangled gagging, the overtones in Hétu’s voice resonated.

“We’re from Montréal", Derome said. “This is the kind of music we do." Not everywhere, he added dryly. “So you can visit." At one point between numbers, the bar’s ice machine clattered—an aberration, the Firefly is very solicitous of performers. “The ice is nice", Hétu commented, thinking I suspect about how it could be integrated into the music. The duo closed its set with a game of avant-garde patty-cake, beating hands together while singing a simple four-bar, nursery-song like phrase. That little melodic nugget stayed lodged in my ear during the break between shows.[…]

So how did Edgefest 2004 stack up? The festival is always a high point of my year, and this year was no exception. As usual the variety of acts that fell under the cover of the festival’s large umbrella was impressive. I suspect the strongest images I’ll retain from this festival will be Rashied Ali’s torrential drumming, the fine balance of James Emery’s quartet, the out-lyricism of Joe McPhee, and those few fleeting moments of Jenny Scheinman’s Salagaster. Those are the kind of memories that will keep me in anticipation of next year’s festival.

Annual Edgefest Kicks into high Sonic Gear

Will Stewart, The Ann Arbor News, October 15, 2004

Avantjazz’s outer edge isn’t only razor sharp; it’s also broad enough to accommodate a range of artists who at once push the envelope of improvisatory music to glorious effect, but also, at times, test the patience of the casual listener’s attention span.[…]

And the fact that some of these performers are pretty far out there only adds merit to their accomplishments. That a vocalist squealing and grunting in French and slapping her torso in time to her accompanist’s caterwauls on various whistles can come across not only as listenable, but enjoyable and oddly soothing, is a tribute not only to the artists’ abilities but to the patience of an open-eared audience.[…]

Derome and Hétu performed for an hour, their unique sound occasionally living up to their performance moniker: “We Pierce the Ears." Oddly, for as challenging as their sound was - and “challenging" isn’t a pejorative when it comes to Edgefest - the duo frequently found harmonic plateaus that, while frequently dissonant, had an unmistakable beauty.[…]

… “challenging” isn’t a pejorative when it comes to Edgefest — the duo frequently found harmonic plateaus that, while frequently dissonant, had an unmistakable beauty.

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