JEAN-LUC GUIONNET – Non-Organic Bias

Herbal International

I’m not the kind of person who squanders precious time in decoding people’s visions when they’re expressed via written concepts that, even after an accurate translation, bury the exact aims and grounds of an artistic statement under the dozens of question marks engendered by a (willingly?) unclear explanation, or the transliteration of a daydream. This happens when I try and read Jean-Luc Guionnet’s notes to the three pieces comprised by Non-Organic Bias, which make your purple prose merchant resemble a hieratic minimalist in comparison.

Therefore this writer reverted to the more palatable food. That means the music which, in this occasion, was born from the sound(s) of organ(s), subjected to various types of alteration, granularization and dismemberment. It was not an easy mission to accomplish, despite the hypothetical unfussiness of the music’s gestation and overall structure. The main motive: a big discrepancy in the results generated by the two traditional methods of enjoying the content of a disc. In fact, the frequencies privileged by Guionnet are so damn near and below the ground that, from the speakers, the large part of this double album behaves like an all-engulfing gathering of humongous purrs and potent winds as heard from within a padded room, sporadically interrupted by jarring clusters in the higher registers, or rendered totally awesome through the use of sloping slow motion and other kinds of techniques. In those circumstances, the composer nears some of our favourite masters’s expressive nuances. Xenakis (mais oui!), Kayn, a smidgen of flanged-out Palestine and Niblock in a few brief instances. I’m shivering at the thought of the nonentities who might have the guts to sample parts of this record and reprocess them for their own worthless businesses.

But if you need to assess the actual compositional value of this outing, headphones turn out to be necessary. Also, they must be able to tolerate the centre-of-the-earth throbbing grumble that a piece such as “Espace Bas” constantly elicits, otherwise what you’re hearing is going to be inexorably blemished by the gnarly rattle of earphone membranes unable to perform a truthful conversion of the acoustic mass (in this place a recent cheap Philips worked much better than an old expensive Beyerdynamic). Only at that point one is in the condition of acknowledging Guionnet’s subtle craft, his finely tuned superimposition of roar, wheeze and flutter, the diligence in placing slight substrata and virtually inconspicuous details in the mix. And become acquainted with the presence of extremely acute pitches and foreboding virtual choirs (“Estuaire” is fantastic in that sense). We’re as distant from “ambient” as a metropolitan inferno is from an airport’s waiting hall, regardless of what can be peeped around the web. These are the organ’s bowels screaming, get the picture?

This stuff should be experienced intensely, differently and continually to merely break the external ice of its impenetrability. Success is not a given, which is one of the many reasons behind my attraction towards this thick slab of a release. Consequently, let me join the admiring queue and declare that a copy of this item is mandatory in a serious listener’s collection. The verbal contortions are entirely forgiven.

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