Gigs, dance, art

June 15th, 2010: Keiji Haino – Eric Cordier

@instants chavirés

Keiji Haino again. Well I like his music a lot, and he does so many things I think he could play several days in a row without repeating himself all that much. And he was joined by Eric Cordier playing hurdy gurdy, and that sounded very interesting. And it was, at least when I could hear what he was doing, because most of the time Keiji Haino was so loud that he was too often reduced to a drone.

So I quickly took the set as almost a solo act, but it was a great one. Well over two hours long, it featured many facets of his music, mainly on the loud side. He played guitar most of the time, but he also used electronics and used his voice in many ways and ranges — unlike the previous show where he stuck to higher notes. He even concluded the set with what I think were covers, though he makes these songs to totally his that there’s just a few words or a chord progression that somehow ring a bell, and calling these covers is highly misleading.

As a solo set, it would have been great, but I think Eric Cordier made it even better, despite his being almost drowned out too often, because what I did hear made brought depth to the music. And the beginning of the set saw them create beautiful sound landscapes that would have been well worth hearing had the show stayed there. It didn’t, and I don’t regret that embarrassment of riches at all. Hopefully I’ll get another opportunity to actually hear more of that hurdy gurdy sometime.

June 21, 2010 Posted by | Music | , , | Leave a comment

June 13th, 2010: Keiji Haino – Makoto Kawabata – Jean-François Pauvros


I had some misgivings about that show; these three are talented, but there’s always the ego issue to consider when those kind of personalities meet. At first I thought those fears were stop on: Makoto Kawabata and Jean-François Pauvros were bowing their guitars and Keiji Haino was playing on his own. The first two have played together several times in the past, and that 2+1 setup was just what I thought might happen.

But they seemed to find some common ground later when they played louder, and the set took off. Though I kept feeling that Keiji Haino was still a little more apart. Then again, he’s the one I like best of the three and am the most familiar with, so that might have been just me focusing on him. The second set started louder and faster than the first, other than that it was quite consistent with it. I liked Pauvros better in that set than in the first, maybe I just paid more attention.

It worked better than I feared it would, but still it wasn’t the meeting it might have been. I had the feeling they found some workable compromise to play together and pretty much stuck with it, with occasional individual forays that didn’t stray all that much, and weren’t really seized as an invitation for more by the others. It was nice, but still not what I know these guys can do.

June 21, 2010 Posted by | Music | , , , | Leave a comment

July 9th, 2009: Keiji Haino

@instants chavirés

Last gig for a while here. There’s the usual summer break, but this year drastic subsidies cuts — much worse than expected — are putting them in serious trouble. So they had to cancel all events until next year. It’s bad enough to make the place’s closing altogether a distinct possibility.

At least this final gig was a good one, a single long set by Keiji Haino showing his noisier side on guitar and occasional voice. High intensity sustained basically throughout. Not too loud either, enough to be claiming full attention, but it never got painful or excessive.

This guy definitely knows what he’s doing, and that was especially on display with loops. When building up a dense texture of noise, those would keep the sound intricate, with several layers moving at different speeds, and those patterns were there to be followed without one obscuring the others. And of course he would sometime just stop the loops suddenly, but even those breaks were part of the bigger picture, an obvious switch to something else but with a continuity nonetheless. Of course, the loops are not even half the story, the guitar sound alone was totally great, and his mastery of the instrument just awesome.

It wasn’t just an onslaught by any means, and not just because of the parts where voice would be the main course. Obviously those are a big part of what makes him special, but there was a balance in this show that made it possibly the best I’ve seen by him. It’s hard to say because the very first one has something of an edge from the pure shock value of my first contact with his music. That one was clearly divided into two parts though, and this latest one was one continuous set that nonetheless covered a lot of ground. And that made it very satisfying and interesting. A great experience.

July 16, 2009 Posted by | Music | , | Leave a comment

October 31st, 2008: Keiji Haino / Bishi / Internet 2

@centre pompidou

Final day of the in famous carousel. I only went to half the shows this year, there’s just been too much going out all around. Which is not a bad thing. There were videos before and between the sets, but more about that later.

The first set was Internet 2, which seems to be a musical project of a quite busy guy. Though he did use a clarinet at times, the main instrument were pad laid out on the floor like piano keys, and he would step, dance or jump or these to trigger samples. The music had a toyish feel at times that was nice, but the visual component was a bit too much for me, and I tuned out complety when he brought people on stage at the end.

Then Bishi. Not my quite of music at all, and I didn’t like it. To each his own. It’s always worth giving it a try.

I was there first and foremost for Keiji Haino. Even though this voice facet is not my favorite of his, he’s such a charismatic performer than I just had to go. I thought the start of the set was too monodimensional. He started standing with long high notes, then sat on a chair then on the ground, going deeper with each change. A short venture into noise territory without voice got my full attention back, and then he went back to voice only, but this time layering different loops and sounds, going through all he had done earlier and much more. Gone was the steadiness of the beginning, and this was much more to my liking. Rumblings, loud whispers, screams and more piled up on each other that had people leaving plugging their ears but had me on the edge of my seat with a big smile on my face. Not my favorite show of his by any measure, but worth it, as usual.

November 1, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , | Leave a comment