Thursday, September 8, 2011

Joey Baron, Bruno Chevillon, Elliott Sharp, Franck Vigroux - Venice, dal vivo [D'autres cordes]

Franck Vigroux - turntables, guitar
Elliott Sharp - reeds, guitar
Bruno Chevillon - doublebass, electronics
Joey Baron - drums

D'autres cordes 2010

I put the 'jazz that rocks' label on this one but it is misleading as there's no jazz to find in here. Starting with a mesh of electronic squeaks this one surely brings an odd palette of sound in the game and joined early enough by the powerhouse, muscular drumming by Baron goes way deep into the rock grounds.
"Acqua Alta", after the electronic intro, gets off with a metal mayhem of guitar arpeggios, fuzzy bass (the acoustic bass sounds electronic throughout the most part of the album thanks to some filters) and trance drums patterns relying heavily on the bass pedal kick. Things slow  down with a thoughtfull drums solo just to explode with "Cannareggio" again. Distorted sax versus shimmering electronics battle brings forward a psychodelic guitar, then again hushed and somewhat creepy exploration of small noises, echoes, feedbacks, pulsations and textures.

Abandoning the concept of a 'solo' this music is all about the dramaturgy and tension created via ensemble improvisation, slowly paced between elements of experimental and groovy, of fragility (the beginning of "Fondamenta Nuove") and force. One can recall the recent album and review of the "Unreleased?" by the Fire! and Jimmy O'Rourke as this is equally non-jazz improvisation but that album relied very heavily on the Gustafsson's baritone sax, while this albums is focused more on the guitars (three  of them if you count  the double bass also) and and electronics interaction, with reeds being played rather rarely and quite gently (enhanced by the electronics filters and live processing - exemplified well in "Veronese").

The continous live performance is dedicated to Mitch Mitchell ( the drummer for the Jimi Hendrix's Experience) who died on the day of a concert. "Mitch Mitchell" is also the title of the last track of the album,  its longest (clocking around 17 mins) and also the most powerfull statement pushing through the various stages of a madness (a massive explosion of thick guitar layers, head-spinning distortions and powefull grooves). as it comes to surprising  slide guitar over a bluesy bass riff (deep wooden acoustic sound) and is concluded with some live electronics variations on the motiv.

I get to appreciate this album with each listen more and more, discovering new layers of sonic manipaluations. It's hypnotic, weird and distorted. A strange marriage between free improvisation, metal, psychodelia, experimental electronic and more. Closer in spirit and execution to some group improvs by King Crimson that any jazz (be it Charlie Parker, Ornette Coleman or Peter Brotzmann). Heavy stuff that goes heavily recommended.

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