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Duthoit / Frangenheim / Turner
light air still gets dark
released December 2016
Isabelle Duthoit voice clarinet / Alexander Frangenheim doublebass / Roger Turner percussion

This is an intense recording and one of the most authentic productions of free improvisation we’ve witnessed. In this musical field it seems without a precedent – an unheard music – which even after more than forty years of  evolution in this way of creating music, never ceases to amaze us. Jean-Michel van Schouwburg (Orynx)

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De 340 à 398, le label Creative Sources file à toute allure laissant de rares trésors sur le côté à l’insu de bien des cognoscenti. Ainsi cet « air léger qui (malgré tout) reste sombre » en hommage au tromboniste Hannes Bauer, disparu cette année et avec qui Roger Turner, le percussionniste de ce trio, a joué durant plus d’une vingtaine d’années en compagnie d’Alan Silva (In The Tradition / In Situ). La chanteuse et clarinettiste Isabelle Duthoit avait elle-même initié un autre trio avec Hannes Bauer et Luc Ex un peu avant qu’Hannes nous quitte prématurément. Compagnon régulier de Roger Turner au sein de plusieurs projets, le très fin contrebassiste Alex Frangenheim complète l’équipée. Et quelle équipée !! On ne compte plus les collaborations hallucinantes qui lient cet extraordinaire percussionniste aux personnalités les plus marquantes de la free music tels Phil Minton, Hannes Bauer, Lol Coxhill, John Russell, Phil Wachsmann, Pat Thomas, Birgit Ulher, Urs Leimgruber etc.. pour en écrire l’histoire la plus vive. Voici maintenant que notre grand poète de la percussion improvisée poursuit l’aventure avec une vocaliste de l’impossible, la vestale du cri primal, la prêtresse du gosier libéré : Isabelle Duthoit ! En s’alliant les services d’un inventeur de sons à la contrebasse, animé d’une écoute et d’un sens de la répartie peu communs, Alex Frangenheim, le percussionniste trouve un partenaire qui joue à jeu égal avec lui. Ces deux-là ne se contentent pas de variations d’un discours instrumental « créatif », mais s’efforcent d’inventer et de rechercher des sons rares, des idées folles, des voies extrêmes avec une expressivité et une subtilité inouïes, si on compare avec pas mal d’autres improvisateurs de même calibre … nettement plus formatés. L’indépendance totale et la complémentarité intuitive. Ce faisant, les deux instrumentistes laissent le champ libre à la vocaliste pour explorer la face la plus cachée de la voix humaine. Ce qu’Isabelle fait est indescriptible. La variation infinie des affects du cri, du spasme, de la glottisation du sifflement, du râle, le délire surréel à côté duquel la supposée poésie sonore semble platement à un effet théâtral. Il y a une émotion indicible, le voile de la souffrance, le désespoir de la raison… A la clarinette, elle torture la colonne d’air et évoque les extrémités auxquelles elle soumet son organe vocal. Ces deux compagnons traduisent cette furieuse inventivité en inventant sans relâche des parties instrumentales requérantes modifiant en permanence les paramètres sonores, les timbres, les pulsations dans un flux vibrant qui attire et stimule l’écoute. C’est un enregistrement intense, inouï, un produit parmi les plus authentiques de l’improvisation libre, une démarche musicale qui, après plus de quarante ans d’évolutions, n’a pas fini de nous étonner.
Jean-Michel van Schouwburg (Orynx)

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previous release by this trio

Duthoit / Turner / Frangenheim
Kochuu (2014)
Isabelle Duthoit voice clarinet / Alexander Frangenheim doublebass / Roger Turner percussion

the style this trio explored (the release is a recording of an improvisational session they performed at Berlin-based Frangenheim’s studioboerne45 in April 2013) sounded so subversive that even some of the boldest free-jazz improvisations could look like stuff for weenuses. Vito Camarretta (Chain DLK)

reviews

I follow Alexander Frangenheim’s adventures in the sonic universe with an individual interest, so that after having introduced some of his stuff (and more recently his solo album „Talk For A Listener“) on this webzine, here it is another awesome collaborative output. The title „Kochuu“ refers to an idea belonging to Japanese architecture: it means „in the jar“ – …and there’s no whiskey into it! – and relates to the tradition of creating small physical spaces to create a sort of detached universe from the surrounding environment. If you are interested in this kind of subjects, I could recommend a documentary by Jesper Wachtmeister, dating back 2003. The sound that Alexander on double bass rendered together with percussionist Roger Turner and the amazing French vocalist Isabelle Duthoit (performing on clarinet as well) manages to develop such a concept using guessed stylistic choices. Full of unpredictable twists and turns that could remind that branch of Japanese theatre, where nothing seems to happen all over the play before that dramatic moment that disrupts a supposedly stable balance, the seven tracks on this album got titled as parts of an imaginary agonizing body: since the opening „Blind Stomach“, where Isabelle’0s voice seems to emulate the voice of a starving stomach, whose almost soul-breaking need for food and unuseful discharge of gastric acids match the piercing instrumental and rising dramatic instrumental parts, to the final „Dark Haunch“, a visionary crescendo that seems to portray of a prisoner on its last legs, the sound on „Kochuu“ evokes a scenario where an imagined confinement got easily turned into a sort of sonically acceptable madness. In many moments of the album (particularly on „Deaf Heart“ and the almost disturbing „Loose Liver“), the style this trio explored (the release is a recording of an improvisational session they performed at Berlin-based Frangenheim’s studioboerne45 in April 2013) sounded so subversive that even some of the boldest free-jazz improvisations could look like stuff for weenuses. Vito Camarretta (Chain DLK)

Back in July, I mentioned Skulking in the Big House from a quartet led by Alexander Frangenheim, and Frangenheim continues to release albums on Creative Sources, including more recently Kochuu, featuring French vocalist Isabelle Duthoit (b.1970). Kochuu is an appealing album, but does raise some of the same issues I’ve discussed in the past with so many quiet passages. The quiet seems to solicit activity, however, and I can imagine the album as the background to a spooky, perhaps partially darkened, contemporary dance scene. (The title refers, in Japanese, to integration of nature into architecture, much like long-time favorite Organic Modernism, which nonetheless sounds very different.) I very much enjoyed Duthoit’s vocal technique, particularly in the opening track, which has the most forward sound — sort of an overture leading into further exploration of space & the unknown. The latter perhaps probes the familiarity of interior space via sound, and judging by the track titles, involves going inside her body. (Although it doesn’t have a similar feel, i.e. no semi-ominous straining to hear, an obvious comparison for the vocal technique is Catherine Jauniaux on Birds Abide.) The string & percussion work (the latter by Roger Turner) is worthwhile on Kochuu too, although similarly straining for audibility at times. Duthoit sometimes switches to clarinet, although with rather conventional technique. Todd McComb (medieval.org)

É Frangenheim, novamente, que encontramos a tocar o contrabaixo de “Kochuu”, mas se no caso anterior era ele o principal factor de interesse, agora esse papel é protagonizado pelo inglês Roger Turner. O histórico baterista e percussionista da cena londrina está, porém, fora do seu meio natural. É como se lhe tivessem prendido os braços e as pernas, impedindo-o de ser o que é, um improvisador conhecido, precisamente, pelo seu agudo sentido da performatividade. Ainda assim, dele depende muito do que cativa nesta edição.
Isabelle Duthoit, essa, desilude. Os seus tão distintivos vocalismos guturais surgem nestas faixas como que amordaçados. Se, a crer no título japonês (que refere a integração da arquitectura na natureza), está em causa a exploração do espaço, o que implica uma noção de abertura, de relacionação com o que está em volta, este virar para dentro por parte de músicos habitualmente tão extrovertidos torna-se incompreensível. Seja um erro de “casting” ou algo de intencionado, saímos da fruição deste disco bastante frustrados. O que “The Jersey Lily” tem a mais, “Kochuu” tem a menos… Rui Eduardo Paes (Jazz.pt)

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