Jean-Luc Guionnet & Miguel A. Garcia | Siticidelhous
Moving Furniture Records (CD/DL)
When I knew I was to listen and review the latest album from Jean-Luc Guionnet and Miguel A. Garcia I took some time for myself and decided to wait. I knew that i was going to dive into a challenging record to listen to out loud, in one breath, and I didn’t want to spoil my listening experience by being tired and possibly stumble upon some distraction.
I was right, the album is a challenging one. Broken chords abruptly stab into coarse noisy lines, sound frames ranging from the lowest floor to the very canopy of the frequency range create unstable sound realms that open the way to sudden changes of mood. High paced rhythmic elements pop up and settle familiar but unwelcoming environments ready to be dismantled at the first possible occasion. The church organ, the instrument around which the whole album is conceived, is stripped to the bone and deeply investigated and exploited until it becomes almost unrecognizable, dragged into the domain of electronic sounds.
The two long tracks that form the album start in a similar way but then take two totally different paths made of many, interesting solutions and a diverse sense of communication between the two musicians. In some ways, staying true to free improvisation as a starting concept, one might think of how many different possible developments could have been there, just like in life, where a wide and ever-changing range of opportunity constantly unfolds. There lays the expertise of the two seasoned sound artists, always able to choose the most unexpected and tasteful ideas.
The parts I enjoyed the most were the two endings which represent the synthesis of the two different exploration processes. In the first piece we experience a floating trip into a noisy realm of distinct sounds. Clear fluctuating bass sounds and edgy high lines of swarming noises build a space in which the listener can slowly roam and look around – where a few single mid-range concrete items appear. Once more it is very difficult to make a distinction between the electronic sounds and the organ.
In Lomburthstific everything becomes much more complex and intense. The atonal organ progressions and the round panning electronic noises generate a swirling sound environment where every element pushes and pulls the listener in different directions. This unwelcoming, oppressive stance resolves then into a twisted pseudo-rhythmic pulse that carries out throughout the end of the piece.
I’ve always followed with great pleasure the sonic adventures of that particular scene of improvised music from the French area of which Pascal Battus, Seijiro Murayama, Eric La Casa are just a few names that now come to my mind. My first encounter with Miguel Garcia happened with a concert where he played duo with the Murayama itself and I’ve been following since. But I must admit that my knowledge of Jean-Luc Guionnet was quite scarce before this album and there is definitely a lot I got to catch up!