Gigs, dance, art

May 3rd, 2011: eRikm – Dieb13 / Yann Leguay

@instants chavirés

Yann Leguay‘s could have turned out too smart for its own good: hard drives with turntable arms around them. But it was no issue, the sound stood its ground fine, despite a laptop crash a few minutes into the show that led to a restart. He would raise the arms and let the cartridge hit the drives, then the cracks would generate crackling loops. It all added up and slowly built a nice soundscape, where the source didn’t matter much. The setup could possibly provide some additional interest, but the performance worked on its own, as it should. The rest is just gravy, and I didn’t really think about it.

I was surprised at the sparse attendance, eRikm usually draws more people. His set with Dieb13 took a while getting started in my opinion. At first it was a bit too nice and sophisticated for me, and it looked like they were treading too lightly. It did take off when they added some tension by going their separate ways. I think that’s probably more eRikm’s doing, I’ve heard him play too nice before. He can be very good at this collaborative stuff, but I think he should be more assertive early on. These sets usually end well, but the ramp-up can get tedious


June 13, 2011 Posted by | Music | , , , | Leave a comment

February 18th, 2009: Arnaud Rivière – eRikm – Jean-Philippe Gross

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I didn’t have any expectations for this gig. The only time I heard Jean-Philippe Gross was with a lot of others, so I don’t really know what he does. I think eRikm is better when he plays with people with a very different approach, but I didn’t know what this particular lineup would yield. And even though I’ve heard Arnaud Rivière many times, he was usually playing solo or with other familiar faces.

The bottom line is I did like both sets, but there was a frustrating side to it because I think I could have enjoyed it more. Overall I just heard Arnaud Rivière too much, but I suspect it’s part because I know him better and thus follow him more easily and part because he had the rhythmic part all to himself which made him stand out even more. Especially during the first set, there were times when I had to make an special effort to pay attention to the others. But that was not true throughout, because each had opportunities to take the lead in some loose sense, while the others would be more subdued for a while. There also were some very nice loud parts, nice because there was a real balance and dense texture there.

I think I liked the second set better, with Arnaud Rivière on electronic drums instead of turntable and mixing board — even though I usually like him better in the latter setup. I thought it was more balanced than the first, and I especially liked the beginning, with some regular music in the background and each one kinda playing on a different layer, so that they were both distinct and forming a richly textured whole. It got louder then and the separateness gave way to more buildup and interactions closer to the first set, again with maybe the drums standing out a bit too much. Well, I think that’s just because eRikm and Jean-Philippe Gross have closer sounds, and I probably wouldn’t even think of complaining about it if there had not been those moments of fragile balance that made the performance special.

February 19, 2009 Posted by | Music | , , , | Leave a comment

October 4th, 2008: CCAM Benefit

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That evening was a benefit for CCAM, who need help after seeing part of their funding cut despite having made the Musique Action festival a reference. Many musicians showed up, but I was a bit disappointed at not seeing more people in the audience.

Eleven short sets, quite diverse yet definitely showing a common spirit. In a sense it was a gathering of a musical family. I can’t say I liked it all, but I did like most of it, and probably didn’t expect to be that fond of the evening. I guess the cause played a part, and I got a good feeling out of it. I had my favorites, but that seems to be besides the point now. I’ll just list those who played, because showing up is meaningful to me, enough to make me want to check out even those whose performance passed me by on this particular occasion.

Dominique Petitgand

Xavier Charles / Bertrand Denzler

Martine Altenburger

Jérôme Game / Carole Rieussec / Jean-Christophe Camps / Didier Aschour

Lê Quan Ninh

Michel Doneda / Pascal Battus

Jean-François Pauvros

Bertrand Gauguet / eRikm / Hervé Birolini

Thierry Madiot

Dominique Répécaud / Bruno Fleurence / Daunik Lazro / Heidi Brouzeng

Sophie Agnel / (someone I couldn’t get the name of from my internet searches)

Any further information and links to the websites of people I didn’t link to would be much appreciated.

October 6, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

May 5th, 2008: Otomo Yoshihide & some guys / Martin Tétreault & eRikm

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Another gig related to the Musique Action festival, unfortunately I couldn’t attend the second one because of a scheduling conflicts. I seem to always get one when Sachiko M plays anyway.

I was that fond of the opening set. It started pretty well, with eRikm going a series of smooth and compelling noise bits on turntables while Martin Tétreault was holding his own in a harsher way. I’m fine with the latter’s approach of using the turntable itself as a source of sound, and his harsh fireworks had very nice moments, but I didn’t feel they were bringing much to each other. I already had this feeling with previous collaborative efforts featuring eRikm, I feel he’s best when paired with an acoustic musician with a very different sound; whereas when they’re as close as this time, he tends to blend in too much for my taste.

Anyway, the second set delivered the goods, with an unusual setup that really brought something to performance. A lot of people making noise, many of them familiar faces — the unequally magnificent seven?. Alexandre Bellenger (guitar) and Strom Varx (laptop) were the only ones on the stage proper. Otomo Yoshihide had his turtable and mixing board just in front of it, on a side, faced by Jean-Philippe Gross on a landing upstairs (electronics probably, I couldn’t see). FRed Nipi and his analog synth were on a side pretty much in the middle (next to the bar, figures), Philémon had his table of effects and boards in the back, with Arnaud Rivière further back and up on a platform with both his battered turntable and drumkit. So they had us surrounded.

Moving around was often the best way to hear what some were doing and to get a kind of band-scanning effect, but for the most part I just hovered around the middle and let it all mix. It was not that loud, but nonetheless a physical experience. Once I got used to the wall of noise, I could make out a lot of small details, both the difference among performers, changes in what each was doing and a kind of overall direction — not always, but it happened. The drums were rarely used and that was just as well because they were too distinct — a good jarring effect when used sparingly. There were some great moments — most of them musical — which is already a nice feat with so many improvisers generating a whole lot of noise. I do thing the setup added to the performance, having them all lined up on stage would probably not have worked that well. I don’t really care about why, but I had a good time and got to experience something new, or at least something familiar in an eye-opening way.

May 6, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

April 5th, 2008: eRikm + Akosh S. / Sun Plexus 2 / Melmac / Arnaud Rivière

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Still in catchup mode over this busy weekend. Plus I was in a pretty foul mood and didn’t feel like writing much. I was pleasantly surprised at how diverse this gig was. The four acts were very different, which had its good and bad sides, but mostly good. Packed as well, which did nothing to improve my mood, but even though I don’t like it, it is better than a sparse attendance for everyone that matters.

It had been a while since I had seen Arnaud Rivière with his battered turntable, mixing board, springs and sensors, with his focusing on drums lately. It was not my favorite performance of his with that setup, but there some trajectory of sorts, as in a move through different kinds of sounds. Maybe a bit too linear and transient for me, but that could an effect of expecting too much and not being very receptive; I’m likely to have missed any pattern lying in there. Definitely the most experimental set, it was good enough to lighten up my mood, despite my bitching.

Good thing it did, because Melmac strained by patience. It was not bad or anything, just that I could not find a way in. I’m usually fond of these layers of feedback and wailing guitars, but it seemed tame to me. Too predictable and probably requiring a more contemplative bend that I could muster.

I don’t know why, but I expected Sun Plexus 2 to be much more experimental, in the improvisation mold. It’s not mainstream radio fodder at all, but far more primal and almost punk at times. I didn’t know anything about them, so it was a pleasant surprise, and they brought a lot of light hearted energy. I really liked their attitude as well, and they’re a real good live band with a personal approach.

Yet another completely different direction with eRikm and Akosh S. Another different take on turntablism, much more intellectual, more the kind I’m used to. Not much obvious in there, paying attention really matters, and at times I thought Akosh S. didn’t help, as his jazz overtones made his music more accessible. It turned out to be a gross oversimplification, as there was a lot going on, and also between both. Not as much as I’d like in the later department, but maybe that’s because I missed the point. It turned out to be my favorite set nonetheless.

April 8, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , , | Leave a comment

November 30th, 2007: Michel Doneda, eRikm & Jerome Noetinger / Jim Denley

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I was happy to see a lot of people attending for a change. I guess big names do help, not surprise here.

Jim Denley went with a saxophone wired through a laptop for additional processing. He tended to play conventionally unconventionally, which is really starting to annoy me, but he did bring a few interesting wrinkles, sometimes using is instrument as percussion and most refreshingly using his voice as well, either adding a layer while playing or just going for some clicking sounds. Too long for me though, the novelty wore off and I was left in uncomfortably familiar territory.

Doneda, eRikm and Noetinger were the ones that brought me there, and they were better than I expected. I tend to like what they do, but I was somewhat worried about their playing together, such meetings sometimes fall flat. Not this one. First good sign is that even when I could they were distinctly different, there was some exchange going on. But what really made my day was when they blended so well into a single compelling sound structure of meshing textures, tape, samples, electronics and saxophone all contributing to the mix. It really worked. And it’s very satisfying for me to see such established musicians unafraid to play together this way, as opposed to side by side or alternating in front.

December 1, 2007 Posted by | Music | , , , , | Leave a comment