Gigs, dance, art

April 13th, 2011: Toc Sine / Eli Keszler / Will Guthrie

@instants chavirés

I came for Will Guthrie, who I had seen with The Ames Room, and I wasn’t disappointed. He’s a great drummer who can make me eat any disparaging words I ever had about yet another drum solo — and that would be quite a meal. This solo had me transfixed right from the start, and that grip increased along with the loudness, but not because of it. What got me really impressed was what he did with the kick, it was fast enough to get close to the danger zone of virtuosity, but it never felt like it was speed in a vacuum, so I never got bored, far from it. There was little of the extended technique thingie at work here, but it was a constantly fascinating set, and a rare treat. I need to hear that guy again, alone or with others.

To continue with my serving of crow, now that I badmouthed extended technique, here came another drummer that made good use of these. Yes, he did bow his cymbals. But no, for some reason Eli Keszler wasn’t boring at all. He did use a guitar too, but just for an occasional resonating chord that nonetheless felt like percussion too, closer the part a gong might play than the usual guitar. It was less viscerally commanding a performance than the previous one, but almost as good as far as I’m concerned. Eye-opening too in that what I thought were tired recipes turned out to be valid tools in the right hands.

After these two shocks, Toc Sine sounded closer to my usual fare, no surprise because these two — Pascal Battus and Jean-Luc Guionnet — are familiar faces. Still, it was louder than what I expected, yet with the best of the deft touch I came to expect from them. But as I’m spoiled and expected nothing less from then, it came as less of a surprise and so left the weakest impression on me of the evening. It was merely good, and with my being so late posting this, I’m can’t remember enough of it except that I liked it, but less than the two great sets before this one.


April 26, 2011 Posted by | Music | , , , , | Leave a comment

June 11th, 2010: The International Nothing / Seijiro Murayama – Jean-Luc Guionnet

@instants chavirés

I suspect the many concerts in the past few weeks have made me picky. Maybe that’s why I never really got into Jean-Luc Guionnet and Seijiro Murayama’s set. There was a little too much silence for me, and I thought the set was too predictable and lacked interaction. I’d like to hear Murayama on his own, I like what I heard of these performance much better than this one.

The International Nothing were different from my usual fare, their music seemed more written and that probably explains why I felt something was missing. The set had its moments with nice combination of the sounds of the two clarinets. I usually don’t like that instrument much, and I guess I was too lazy to overcome those two hurdles. It’s just not my kind of thing, and I left it at that.

June 20, 2010 Posted by | Music | , , , | Leave a comment

May 29th, 2008: Jean-Luc Guionnet & Toshimaru Nakamura / Kristof Kurzmann & John Butcher

@instants chavirés

First day of a celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Potlatch label. I was pleased to see that a lot of people showed up for a change; a deserved show of support for people who’ve been doing a lot for free improvisation these years.
I think I didn’t bring an open enough mind for the first set. The very mention of Max/MSP is enough to make me wary these days. It turned out to avoid the pitfalls I expected though, no invasive technical wizardry. I was kinda disappointed anyway because I expected more from John Butcher, who spent the first part of the set playing long continuous notes, maybe to provide some fodder for Kristof Kurzmann‘s laptop. It got more interesting along the way, maybe I just got focused enough to hear both performers. I didn’t like the ending, some beatish loops that just rubbed me the wrong way. Overall I thought it was pretty frustrating because there were hints and promises of more interesting things, but they just never came to pass, and both sounds kept a bit too separate.

On the other hand, Jean-Luc Guionnet and Toshimaru Nakamura delivered all that and more. Guionnet played short percussive notes as well as longer ones, with a wide range of tones that sometimes meshed so well with the mixing board I couldn’t hardly tell them apart. They also were complementary or going their own way at other times, which kept the set from settling into any kind of routine. I was really impressed by Nakamura, this may be my favorite performance on mixing board ever, by anyone. I had been somewhat disappointed the first time I saw him because he had been very subdued, but here he more than made up for that. Many different sounds, from faint and high tones to noisish abrasive sounds, always making sense somehow. And the best in that set was that the whole was even better than the already good individual contributions.

May 30, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , , | Leave a comment

June 14, 2007: Guionnet, La Casa, Samartzis

A couple of computers and a saxophone. A mostly quiet show, unfortunately too demanding for me. Maybe I was tired, but I could not stay focused for long, and these mostly faint and monotonous sounds demand focus to catch the nuance and changes. I kept drifting in and out of it, but the half full glass is that I kept tuning in. And I was actually surprised when they stopped after about one hour: I thought it had been much less, which shows I wasn’t that bored.

June 14, 2007 Posted by | Music | , , , | Leave a comment