Gigs, dance, art

April 16th, 2009: Erik Truffaz – Murcof – Talvin Singh

@cité de la musique

I had never heard Erik Truffaz, despite seeing his name every so often, which had me mildly curious. I had also heard some praise about Murcof from people whose opinion I tend to trust, but the clincher was hearing Talvin Singh play tablas again. He had done so as an opening set for a gig in Paris almost eight (!) years ago, the first time I heard someone play this instrument live. So I went, with my usual misgivings about this kind of mix tampered by Talvin Singh’s experience at this game, hoping for the best but ready for the worst. It was neither of these extremes, and actually closer to the first.

Erik Truffaz and Murcof started the show on their own, but Talvin Singh quickly joined them. Strangely enough, I was a bit annoyed by his long solo at the end of the first song he played in. Not that it was bad, but there had been enough of a successful interaction during that song that it felt like a distraction. There were many times over the set where the whole really worked to put to rest my previous fears.

The beginning of the show was not the best for me, because it quickly became predictable, with Murcof and Truffaz starting slow, with some very nice trumpet phrases over his layers of beats and transformed instrument sounds, then picking up some speed with Singh chiming in and Truffaz adding some effects (mostly reverb and echoes) while standing in the back. Nice enough but by the third time or so it started getting a little old.

But the second half or so was really good, and I especially loved a piece Truffaz said was a Murcof composition. This one was much more interesting rhythmically, and that seemed to let each of them free to go in different directions while somehow playing more together than ever. But the whole second half of the set was really fulfilling the promises the first half had been making. Truffaz proved he could play at different speeds, without effects of with a lot, and displayed a nice sense of stopping for a while — maybe for a bit too long at times. Murcof was more or less keeping it all together, so the interesting part of his contribution was all in the details, small rhythmic disturbances adding up to good things and sometimes an unexpected sound. I thought Talvin Singh was at his best when more engaged in a conversation with the others than being too much on his own. He’s really good at interacting — so he’s probably a good listener — so what I thought was a bit of a missed opportunity was that he did that much more with Murcof than Truffaz. But I guess that the former’s role as supplying the backbone made that hard to avoid.


April 19, 2009 - Posted by | Music | , , ,

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