Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cyril Bondi - Komatsu (Insubordinations)

It was brought to my attention elsewhere that I'd heard Bondi in the context of the duo, Diatribes (short term memory fading!). Here, he's paired with Phonotopy (Yann Leguay) on "cracked electronics" and the result is striking an subtly unique. I'm not sure how his floor tom set-upset-up contributes to this dense, throbbing, quasi-rhythmic, menacing and altogether enticing music, but I'd be anxious to see. Phonotopy's instrumental description refers directly to the erstwhile Poire_z, even to the use of the underscore between his nom and the device on the disc sleeve, and I guess one reasonable description of this would be akin to a seriously excellent Poire_z set. That bristling pulse, the sense that there's a ton going on, much of which you're probably not picking up at any one moment, the real darkness and threat that's emitted; it all makes for an extremely satisfying and giddily exciting listen. It gets into some great shuddering moments as the rhythms seem on the verge of toppling into themselves, a real thrill of imminent collapse about 2/3 of the way through as the gears begin to squeak, the oil running low. Instead, it just settles into a slow boil, replete with bubbling explosions, like a hot, viscous liquid. A fine piece, would love to see/hear this live.

Trigger - the fire throws (Insubordinations)

Chris Heenan (contrabass clarinet), Matthias Müller (trombone) and Nils Ostendorf (trumpet) create robust and burbling textures. Structures, such as appear, seem to be subsumed to coloration and three horns in this range, played with more or less standard extended techniques can certainly generate luscious, rich layers of textural pleasure out the wazoo. Is anything left to linger, though? Well, not so much. I'm reminded off and on of a Braxton/Lewis/Leo Smith combination and, on occasion, when things really gel (parts of the sixth track, "Scree", for example) the current trio approaches the basic level of excitement one may have expected from their forebears. But too often, things are more routine. Well played, active in a way that seems to have become more common in recent times (an inevitable reaction against the silent surge of the past decade, I expect) but difficult to differentiate in any way that cause my ears to perk up or my skin to tingle. I feel compelled to point out, as though it's not clear, that reactions like this, to this approach to improvisation, are very much a matter of my own taste and what I desire to hear. I can easily imagine this appealing far more to others whereas, given the instrumentation, a Capece/Malfatti/Kelley grouping would likely generate music far more absorbing to this listener at this time.

Insub Meta Orchestra - archive #1 (Insubordinations)

A large ensemble bearing only a handful of names familiar to yours truly (Christophe Schiller, Cyril Bondi and Jonas Kocher among them) presenting six pieces, all improvisations. Their statement of intent indicates an expansive view, also implying the participation of musicians from various backgrounds. Recordings of big groupings like this, especially improvising ones, can be problematic insofar as, given the acknowledgement of the space in which they're performing and an appreciation of silence, both referenced in the cited document, there's necessarily a spatial aspect that's compromised on disc. Several dozen players will automatically encompass substantial volume. So one has to put oneself in that frame and do a little guesswork and creative listening. Given that, most of the recording fails to stir me. When the group tones things done, there are strong moments, as on much of the fifth track, "Lava underground", which lives up to its title with a slow, dark onset followed by a reasonably gripping eruption. Even there, it's not so much different than what one may have heard form a particularly solid Globe Unity Orchestra performance from quite a while back. Otherwise, the activity level tends toward the overdone side of things with gestures all too commonly encountered.



jesse said...

the komatsu release is stellar, delivering the pleasures you describe for me as well. i like the occasions where releases such as this - quietly slipped into the deluge, super-small label,sans stars,arrive confident, bracing, surprising.

Anonymous said...

Agreed on the Komatsu, a very enjoyable disc, but I'm not so sure it slipped through under that many radars. Bondi as part of Diatribes has been involved in several excellent CDs over the past few years. Not really a surprise to me on this occasion that this turns out to be good, he's an impressive musician.

jesse said...

well, things like recognition and "stars" being relative, i'll stick with my the EAI firmament i am aware of, i have never seen a discussion of bondi, diatribes or insubordinates.
and to be clear, not surprised in the sense of bondi's talents - i wrote enthusiastically about bondi in june 2011 - but as i mentioned then, the label and the improv crew bondi collaborates with are outside the orbit of most of the listeners we know. there are many such musicians, who routinely garner reviews by yourself, myself, and our host here,creating perhaps an impression that they reach the ears of many of our readers. from countless excjanges with muscians, i'd say it is otherwise. so that's the radars i refer to.

Richard Pinnell said...

OK, well hard to disagree that Diatribes don't get enough mentions in the trendier circles, which I don't understand... but given that their albums have all been free downloads I would happily bet that more people have listened to their releases than have heard the most recent Cathnor, Potlatch or similar CDs. They are relatively well known in Europe and I would guess their download figures would be up in the hundreds.

ricardo messina said...

thank you for pointing in this direction: the Komatsu release is great. i found myself relating these sounds to the "Cosmic Rumble" league. (Tim Blechmann/Timbre). good good work.

John Hanson said...

I *think* the video on this page may show how some of the wonderful Komatsu was made: