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William Paulhus, Mes enceintes font défaut, June 3, 2019
Tuesday, June 4, 2019 Press

Ça y est, le Suoni Per Il Popolo s’entame officiellement demain à Montréal et il s’étendra jusqu’au 23 juin prochain. Afin de réellement débuter notre couverture de ce très éclectique événement, nous croyons qu’une sortie à l’extérieur de notre ligne éditoriale s’impose pour refléter la richesse de la programmation qui nous est offerte. C’est en vous présentant la plus récente parution du Quatuor Bozzini que nous espérons vous donner l’envie d’assister aux premiers jours du festival. La raison derrière cette sélection est bien simple, nous avons adoré l’écoute de leur album Phil Niblock: Baobab paru en début d’année et avons très hâte de les voir à l’œuvre lors de la semaine de lancement du Suoni. Même si ce que nous analyserons dans les prochaines lignes ne correspond pas à ce qui sera reproduit sur scène, nous espérons vous mettre l’eau à la bouche et surtout piquer votre curiosité.

Avec cette ambitieuse création du compositeur Simon Martin, l’imprévisibilité et la fragilité du son jongleront avec votre perception. Très confrontant par moments, le quatuor est particulièrement fascinant sur Musique d’art pour quintette à cordes: B. Cette fresque auditive de haute voltige nous chavire aux quatre coins de notre corps, jouant avec notre confort, tiraillant nos méninges. La suite nous propose une certaine forme d’accalmie, se voulant toutefois inquiétante et sournoise. Les sonorités virevoltent avec méfiance dans la pièce, s’appropriant instantanément le lieu d’écoute. Nous faisons face à un album absorbant qui nous attrape dans sa toile et nous observe sans empressement. Cette musique vivante est empreinte d’un trait incontestablement dramatique, penchant plutôt vers le cauchemar que le rêve inoffensif. La dernière composition en est le parfait exemple avec ses pulsions rythmiques déroutantes. Musique d’art est une escapade sonore intransigeante, défiant son public à plonger au plus profond de lui-même.

Si l’écoute de cette pépite vous a aussi chaviré que moi, alors n’hésitez aucunement à répéter l’expérience les 4 et 5 juin prochain dans le cadre du festival. Vous aurez l’opportunité de voir le Quatuor Bozzini collaborer avec la talentueuse Andrea Young lors de la soirée d’ouverture et de les voir présenter la composition Agréable, désagréable, neutre d’André Cormier le lendemain.

Cette fresque auditive de haute voltige nous chavire aux quatre coins de notre corps, jouant avec notre confort, tiraillant nos méninges. Musique d’art est une escapade sonore intransigeante, défiant son public à plonger au plus profond de lui-même.

Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 1185, May 27, 2019
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 Press

Whim Ensemble is Ofer Pelz (prepared piano, percussion) and Preston Beebe (percussion). Both are new to me. Beebe is a composer and percussionist with a strong interest in using technology, live as well in the studio. Preston studied composition, electronic music, and percussion at several institutes. For example from 2014-2015, he studied at IRCAM and composed a work for baritone saxophone & electronics, performed in the Centre G. Pompidou in Paris. As a duo, they debuted in 2016 with a release for the Montréal-based Kohlenstoff label. The music keeps the middle between improvised and modern composed music and moves within abstract territories. They have a very varied sound palette to their disposal, using prepared piano and a variety of percussive objects and gadgets. Some of their improvisations are very intense and dramatic, like the opening one Four Zero, that sounded like an abstracted version of a Morricone-theme. In other improvisations, I missed however something. Lovely sounds, but a bit too much sounds only, missing an idea, focus or direction. Just dwelling around. But in contrast, there are also some dazzling perspectives opened up by them. The rich sound spectrum built from scraping and percussive sounds, lead up fascinating timbres and textures full of details.

… fascinating timbres and textures full of details.

Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 1185, May 27, 2019
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 Press

Not The Music is a duo of bassist Eric Norman and bass clarinettist Philippe Lauzier, both Montréal-based musicians. English saxophonist John Butcher joined them for concerts in Ottawa and Montréal. First five improvisations — En conséquence — were recorded live on April 27th 2018 in Ottawa. The second set of five improvisations — par interruption — were recorded live on April 26th in Montréal. Lauzier is a composer, improviser, instrumentalist (clarinet & saxophone) and sound artist. Normand is likewise working on many fronts as a composer, improviser, bassist, instrument designer, composer, songwriter, singer and record and concert producer. Earlier the duo released an album for Tour de Bras. Here in the company of John Butcher, they give way to very concentrated set with a lot happening. All three of them are experienced improvisers, each one with its distinctive style and technique. They interact and communicate with full force and concentration, although sounding sometimes a bit hesitant and modest. Strongly focused they demonstrate a concentrated interaction with sometimes diverging sometimes-converging manœuvres of emotional impact. Often repetition of motives and gestures is an important strategy of building up tension and drama. Excellent work.

Excellent work.

Review

Nick Ostrum, Free Jazz, May 15, 2019
Tuesday, May 21, 2019 Press

The Canadian ensemble Quatuor Bozzini are really something special. I only recently came across them on Cassandra Miller’s Just So, which I loved. A quick internet search reveals that they have interpreted everyone from contemporary composers such as Miller and Linda Catlin Smith to John Cage (of course they did) to, now, Phil Niblock. And they do all of this with great aplomb and, even more impressively, refinement.

Phill NiblockBaobab is no exception, though it is a very different beast than some of their other releases. (For you Niblock fans out there, you likely already know what to expect.) Originally penned for orchestra, the two tracks on this album — Disseminate and Baobab — have been chopped and reconfigured as 20 separate tracks, each consisting of a single instrument, performed by the quartet of Clemens Merkel, Alissa Cheung, Stéphanie Bozzini, and Isabelle Bozzini. The result, per the notes of Emanuelle Majeau-Bettez, is a sort of “hardcore drone” of microtonal layerings, albeit created by a chamber quartet. In that, it reminds me of a less wandering and less entangled take on Zeitkratzer’s Metal Machine Music recording. As seems fitting for such acoustic drone, these tracks are characterized by sonic modulations rather than melodic shifts or unpredictable sounds. In this sense, the music sounds deceptively mechanical, as if it were a series of digital loops. Of course, the acoustic nature of the music belies this. Apart from the brief fade-in and fade-out marking the beginning and end of each piece, these songs have no prescribed course. They simply and glacially fluctuate, as the listener’s ear wanders from tone to tone.

This is music to listen to closely. This is music to read to, to tune in and out of. This is music to mediate to and contemplate. If full, subtle, and loud new music is your thing (and, yes, this should be played loud), Baobab is well worth the listen. And, if you are not yet sure whether you enjoy this “hardcore drone,” this compounded, aggressive monotony dense with rich timbral subtleties, then this album is an excellent place to start.

The Canadian ensemble Quatuor Bozzini are really something special. […] And they do all of this with great aplomb and, even more impressively, refinement.

Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 1183, May 13, 2019
Wednesday, May 15, 2019 Press

The profiled Quatuor Bozzini started in 1999 and interested mainly on contemporary music. They make their own decisions in choosing and producing their programs, never taking the easy way. Over the years they built up the impressive experience and premiered hundreds of compositions. About 20 CDs appeared filled with works by John Cage, Phil Niblock, James Tenney, Gyula Csapó, etc., etc. This time they concentrate on a composer from their homeland Canada, Simon Martin. Martin is a composer and producer of contemporary concert music, operating in the footsteps of Harry Partch, La Monte Young and James Tenney, implying a focus on natural intonation. With Musique d’art they set their teeth in an hour-long, five-movement composition for string quintet. Besides the Bozzini sisters and Allisa Cheung and Clemens Merkel, they are joined here by Pierre-Alexandre Maranda playing the double bass. Earlier Quator Bozzini performed work by Martin: Icebergs et Soleil de minuit — Quatuor en blanc (2007). But Musique d’Art is a welcome next step. The work is built from extended dissonant and abrasive sound entities, moving on like a massive tectonic plate, with a very differentiated sound spectrum at a micro level. In the second part there occur some dramatic changes where the music changes into harsh and noisy sections. Overall with this composition Martin offers an intriguing exercise in combining noise and music, that reminded me at moments of the work of Rumanian composer Iancu Dumitrescu. Playing with timbre and pitch the music deeply resonates, and is very expressive and emotional in its own way. In a great performance by Quator Bozzini and Maranda!

Playing with timbre and pitch the music deeply resonates, and is very expressive and emotional in its own way. In a great performance by Quator Bozzini and Maranda!

Recensione

Davide Ingrosso, SentireAscoltare, May 11, 2019
Tuesday, May 14, 2019 Press

Nobili gli intenti del sassofonista, flautista e compositore canadese Jean Derome, classe 1955, che con questo Somebody Special dedica uno splendido omaggio alla memoria di Steve Lacy: si tratta di dieci composizioni estratte dal vasto canzoniere del sassofonista americano, scomparso nel 2004 all’età di 69 anni. Atto dovuto, se consideriamo che Steve Lacy, che ha vissuto a lungo a Parigi e per un breve periodo anche a Roma, viene ricordato prima di tutto per aver riabilitato ed esplorato uno strumento, il sax soprano, che nel jazz era fermo agli anni Trenta e a Sydney Bechet. «Ma molti hanno dimenticato che questo gigante del sax soprano ha composto anche centinaia di bellissime canzoni», sottolinea giustamente Jean Derome nelle note che accompagnano il disco, uscito di recente su Ambiences Magnétiques. Il quintetto è completato da comprimari di lungo corso come Pierre Tanguay alla batteria e Normand Guilbeault al contrabbasso, cui si aggiungono Alexandre Grogg al pianoforte e la cantante Karen Young.

Negli ultimi quindici anni abbiamo ascoltato le rivisitazioni del Rova Saxophone Quartet e gli studi in solitaria e non (non per forza al sassofono soprano, anzi) di Roberto Ottaviano, Matt Gustafsson, Gianni Mimmo e svariati altri. Ci sono persino dei gruppi interamente dedicati alla musica di Steve Lacy, dai The Rent ai The Whammies, passando per il progetto Ideal Breads di casa Cuneiform Records. Ma in pochi hanno rivolto la loro attenzione esclusivamente alle canzoni, tutte ovviamente bellissime e con versi estratti da poesie beat, da testi di filosofia Zen o da classici nascosti della letteratura mondiale. Lacy aveva iniziato a comporle nei primi anni Settanta per la voce della moglie, la violoncellista e cantante svizzera Irene Aebi, per poi coinvolgerle in un processo continuo, decennale, di trasfigurazioni e nuovi arrangiamenti.

E di questo si tratta, di ri-arrangiamenti, nelle dieci canzoni scelte da Jean Derome, basate su testi di Herman Melville, Brion Gysin, Po Kiu-yi, Lao-Tzu, Thomas Gainsborough e Judith Malina. L’effetto è piacevole e curioso, dal momento che Derome e soci fanno respirare, aprono e rendono accessibili delle musiche che, originariamente, presentano aspetti di non-immediatezza, dinamiche storte, angoli bui, strutture complicate e passaggi intricati: in pratica, quello che Lacy andava inquadrando sotto la definizione di poly-free; ciò che della sua musica è il tratto caratteristico. Qui, invece, gira tutto intorno alla voce di Karen Young, meravigliosa e accogliente, capace di modulazioni che impressionano, viva, vivace e ricca di calore umano. Una carezza sul viso, laddove il timbro vocale di Irene Aebi, a causa delle inflessioni da perfetta cantante d’opera, continua in molti casi a rappresentare uno scoglio per chi desidera avvicinarsi allo sconfinato corpus discografico di Steve Lacy.

Tra un senso classico dello swing e l’eleganza del miglior vocal jazz, queste cover sono quanto di più accessibile si possa trovare nella discografia di un autore obliquo e imprevedibile come Jean Derome, legato a formazioni che parlano i linguaggi dell’art-brut e del kitsch (pensiamo al jazz-rock mutante e cacofonico dei suoi Dangereux Zhoms, fondati negli anni Novanta), dell’improvvisazione rigorosa e della musica da camera. Ma qui la storia è un’altra e — leggiamo ancora nelle note — «l’intera comunità jazz dovrà cogliere la musica di Steve Lacy per mantenerla in vita». Nient’altro da aggiungere.

L’effetto è piacevole e curioso, dal momento che Derome e soci fanno respirare, aprono e rendono accessibili delle musiche che, originariamente, presentano aspetti di non-immediatezza, dinamiche storte, angoli bui, strutture complicate e passaggi intricati…

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