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Five A’s, Two C’s, One D, One E, Two H’s, Three I’s, One K, Three L’s, One M, Three N’s, Two O’s, One S, One T, One W Michael Snow, Alan Licht, Aki Onda

Here it may be the epic of Gilgamesh in a flood of electrons, a thick swath of static, hum, pedal-altered guitar chords and taped street scenes and voices—near, distant, in several languages, occasionally singing. Point of Departure, ÉU

Au total, beaucoup de jeux d’interférences et de filtrages pour un ensemble dense et enchevêtré. Octopus, France

  • Victo
  • VICTO 111 / 2008
  • UPC/EAN 777405011114
  • Durée totale: 48:15

Five A’s, Two C’s, One D, One E, Two H’s, Three I’s, One K, Three L’s, One M, Three N’s, Two O’s, One S, One T, One W

Michael Snow, Alan Licht, Aki Onda

La presse en parle

  • Bill Meyer, Signal to Noise, no 54, 1 juin 2009
  • Stuart Broomer, Point of Departure, no 23, 1 juin 2009
    Here it may be the epic of Gilgamesh in a flood of electrons, a thick swath of static, hum, pedal-altered guitar chords and taped street scenes and voices—near, distant, in several languages, occasionally singing.
  • Jean-Claude Gevrey, Octopus, 20 avril 2009
    Au total, beaucoup de jeux d’interférences et de filtrages pour un ensemble dense et enchevêtré.
  • Kurt Gottschalk, The Squid’s Ear, 1 avril 2009
    Snow, Licht and Onda create a nervous, visceral frenzy laced with the feeling of turning knobs. Dozens, it seems, hundreds of knobs, electrical impulses running awry.

More Moments

Stuart Broomer, Point of Departure, no 23, 1 juin 2009

This CD consists of two pieces by one of the more unusual improvising ensembles extant. The first piece, the 33-minute Allorolla was recorded at FIMAV (Festival international de musique actuelle de Victoriaville) in 2007; the 15-minute Doo Rain was recorded in concert in Toronto in 2006. Alan Licht and Aki Onda work regularly as a duo and have previously recorded together. Licht is a versatile and creative guitarist, combining both a strong linear sense and an ability to build densely layered electronic textures; Onda is an extraordinarily original musician, the one whose medium makes the group genuinely mysterious. Using cassette tapes as his fundamental instrument, he transfers them repeatedly until tape and signal degrade into often unpredictable and indecipherable transformations of concrete elements with which he improvises. Michael Snow often joins them and his particular mix of skills both complements and expands this work. Snow will turn 80 this year and it’s likely his international reputation rests primarily on his work as a filmmaker and sculptor. He is, however, a remarkable improviser. Like the late Hal Russell, a musician of the same generation, Snow has improvised over an extraordinary range of contexts. Strongly influenced as a pianist by Jimmy Yancey, he worked regularly in Dixieland in the early ‘50s, and he’s been involved in free improvisation since the 1960s. Like Russell, he’s an intrepid improviser, the free radical in the chemistry set, and here he manages to span the improvising range of his much younger partners, whether it’s developing an orchestral voice at acoustic piano, matching electronic lines and textures with an analogue CAT synthesizer or amplifying a radio to match the verbi-vocal elements among Onda’s taped messages.

Allorolla begins acoustically with Snow darting up and down the piano keyboard –hand over hand, bass rumble to random treble splash, with some tremoloed clusters in the middle register before Licht and Onda enter and Snow joins them in constructing a passage through electronic walls. There’s a fondness afoot for the notion that “an improviser is telling a story” and that may be true of some (was Little Bo Peep or Ulysses I heard earlier? or the E flat’s loss of innocence? or does music emphasize their similarity?). Here it may be the epic of Gilgamesh in a flood of electrons, a thick swath of static, hum, pedal-altered guitar chords and taped street scenes and voices—near, distant, in several languages, occasionally singing. The layered sound can create voices of its own, beat patterns and vestigial elements that chime with other components to suggest submerged singers. The shorter Doo Rain functions without the acoustics. At times one seems to be listening through the surface sound, washes of noise making spoken messages more urgent, Onda’s cassettes a charnel house of memories that somehow arise internally in the listener.

Here it may be the epic of Gilgamesh in a flood of electrons, a thick swath of static, hum, pedal-altered guitar chords and taped street scenes and voices—near, distant, in several languages, occasionally singing.

Critique

Jean-Claude Gevrey, Octopus, 20 avril 2009

Prenez les lettres épelant les noms des trois protagonistes de ce disque, rangez-les par ordre alphabétique et vous obtiendrez son titre complet (et à rallonge). De fait, on est tenté d’y déceler un renoncement aux formes établies, aux démarches préconçues, une volonté de réduction de l’artiste à son identité fondamentale: finalement une certaine approche de l’improvisation libre! Si Michael Snow est probablement plus connu pour ses expérimentations cinématographiques (cf. Wavelength, pierre angulaire du structuralisme en 1967), ses incartades musicales ne datent pas d’hier. Initialement pianiste de jazz, il a depuis rejoint le Canadian Creative Music Collective (CCMC) pour y développer un goût certain pour les manipulations électroacoustiques. C’est donc muni d’un synthétiseur analogique, d’une radio à ondes courtes et d’un piano qu’il aborde cette rencontre transgénérationnelle avec le guitariste Alan Licht, autant marqué par le minimalisme que le rock bruitiste, et le tripatouilleur de bandes magnétiques Aki Onda (comment appelle t’on déjà quelqu’un qui joue avec des walkmans en appuyant sur «rwd» alors que la touche «play» est enclenchée?). Enregistrées à Toronto en 2006 et au FIMAV l’année suivante, les deux pièces ont en commun une rare intensité qui n’est pas sans rappeler l’enthousiasme des pionniers de la musique électronique devant l’univers des possibles. Les fulminations cosmico-vintage sont ici enrichies de multiples incises: saillies de collages sonores dont la vitesse de défilement est altérée, drone sur cordes, avalanche de feedback et signaux captés au hasard (c’est de la pop indonésienne ou des mariachis qu’on entend en sourdine à un moment sur Doo Rain?). Au total, beaucoup de jeux d’interférences et de filtrages pour un ensemble dense et enchevêtré.

Au total, beaucoup de jeux d’interférences et de filtrages pour un ensemble dense et enchevêtré.

Review

Kurt Gottschalk, The Squid’s Ear, 1 avril 2009

Upon repeated listens, the first 5 minutes of Five A’s, Two C’s, One D, One E, Two H’s, Three I’s, One K, Three L’s, One M, Three N’s, Two O’s, One S, One T, One W start to seem very strange. Strange because the brief opening is familiar yet out of place. Veteran experimental musician is heard playing jazz piano, a bit discordant yet not too jarring. And it is something that, if you put the record away for a while, you’re likely to forget. A few minutes in, Aki Onda’s manipulated cassette player rips the fabric of the piano melody with a surprising whoosh. Alan Licht’s guitar soon follows, ambient at first but soon becoming imposing. The piano makes one last attempt with a little filigree before disappearing entirely. Music has lost, and sound is left to impose its will. For much of the rest of the set, recorded live at the 2007 Victoriaville festival in Quebec, Snow generates sounds from a synthesizer and a radio. In deference, perhaps, to the MIA piano, Licht’s guitar refrains from making recognizable sounds, and the remaining 40 minutes are filled with disembodied tones, ghost voices and anxious static. The result is something like a maximal AMM: the instrumentation is similar to the legendary British group in its recent trio form, but the line-up says little about the resultant sound. Snow, Licht and Onda create a nervous, visceral frenzy laced with the feeling of turning knobs. Dozens, it seems, hundreds of knobs, electrical impulses running awry. When at length the piano returns, it provides scant solace.

Snow, Licht and Onda create a nervous, visceral frenzy laced with the feeling of turning knobs. Dozens, it seems, hundreds of knobs, electrical impulses running awry.

Blogue

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    vendredi 20 février 2009 / Nouveautés

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