BERTRAND GAUGUET / FRANZ HAUTZINGER / THOMAS LEHN – Close Up

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Live takes from 2007 and 2008; both performances occurred in France. The instrumentation: alto and soprano sax (Gauguet), quarter-tone trumpet with electronics (Hautzinger), analogue synthesizer (Lehn). The CD features three improvisations of progressively growing length (circa 12, 18 and 26 minutes respectively).

The fundamental character is immediately evident in the first chapter: the delicate stability between the extreme impulsiveness of the emissions and the trio’s level-headedness is indeed a rare commodity. Everything looks under control at any time, each musician free to locate spots to develop sequences of excrescences that, more for innate acumen than lucky circumstance, seem to belong to that particular milieu like nothing else. The entire mix is a jumble of de-structured stimuli that sounds perfectly natural.

The second subdivision contains lots of puzzling atmospheres fusing the impressive reach of Lehn’s synthetic ga mut with the poisonous steams released by Gauguet and Hautzinger’s conduits. The original sense of synchronized chaos moves back and forth, not without long instants left to the repudiation of muteness through scattered fragments of unadorned complexity and simpler sections of tense calm. The message is unequivocal: “we’re not here to please anyone, but the produced frequencies are still beautiful to hear”.

As a result, the final section is amply informed by echoes of secluded galaxies and stretches in which escaping rapture is not possible. The instrumental voices mingle in a single call to levitation – picture a cybernetic Jon Hassell, in particular around the twelfth minute – and the music appears to be directed towards a majestic etherealness at various points. Sure enough, the emergence of challenging acoustic hurdles impedes de facto a complete absorption, much less genuine relaxation, until an out-and-out timbral warfare explodes, pushing the whole to a sudden closure. You must not forget where all things started, and that for every small fraction of serenity there’s always a price to pay. Did life come from Big Bang or silence?

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