Jean-Luc Guionnet/Eric La Casa/Philip Samartzis - Stray Shafts of Sunlight (Swarming)
Three selections from a 2007 European tour, all discreet, subtle and enjoyable. Guionnet is on saxophone here (the others on laptops and electronics), occasionally recognizable as such but always melding with Samartzis and La Casa in quietude and immersion into the room. You hear muffled conversations, breath through the sax, exterior sounds, thin sine tones--just a fine, breathing atmosphere. A few days ago, I went to the opening evening at Présences Electroniques festival here in Paris and, as is often the case, was appalled by the stale vocabulary utilized in much electronic music, the clichéd synth tones, the paucity of sonic exploration. Then I hear something like this where that whole desperate search for purportedly new sounds is, I imagine, not really a consideration yet...all these wonderful new sounds emerge, fresh and invigorating, without the slightest tinge of academe. That notion of "unfolding" which I prize so highly and which is so bafflingly absent in much contemporary, more "officially sanctioned" electronic music, is so manifest here. As ever, recounting sounds and sequences seems a fool's errand. Those familiar with Samartzis' work (of which scarce little has reached my ears in recent times--I miss his music!) will find it up to snuff with his best. For myself, the same is the case with Guionnet and La Casa. Windows open here, washing machine going, sounds of cooking and cleaning, the music blends in quite beautifully. What more can one ask?
A fine job, give a listen.