Gigs, dance, art

February 26th, 2010: Frédéric Blondy – John Butcher – Peter Evans – Paul Lovens – Clayton Thomas

@instants chavirés

It was nice seeing so many people in attendance for a change. I had seen all of these musicians before, but never together. It worked pretty well, though I tend to think they didn’t stray that far from their respective comfort zone. Paul Lovens and Clayton Thomas seemed to feed off each other very nicely though. Frédéric Blondy was often drowned out, the good side to that is that they all played loud. All too often these free improvisation musicians use the same approaches, avoiding anything that might sound like the way their instruments usually sound. None of that here, and John Butcher even went with a few melodic phrases — overall he was probably the most wide-ranging of the five. I felt Peter Evans was quite different from the others, but he had a knack for making his music mesh with the others anyway.

I liked the way they would pick what one was doing and build on that or take it in another direction. Lovens seemed to be more of a driving force early on, but it balanced out as the set progressed. It was a nice set, but I still think it didn’t break much ground. They’re all good, it was indeed nice to hear them go at it this way, but there wasn’t any moment that stopped me cold. Good set, a little short of great — but I think it could easily have been.


February 28, 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