GUILLAUME VILTARD – Running Away

Un Rêve Nu

This nugget was sent to me a couple of years ago by French sax improviser Heddy Boubaker (more on him in an upcoming review). It comes in a peculiar package: two hand painted wooden rectangles held together by small magnets at the corners. Inside, a man hides behind a double bass; a quote by T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets” gives perhaps a faint clue in regard to what one’s about to hear, the final line being “For us there is only the trying. The rest is not our business”. In each piece, the elapsing seconds are indicated by pauses and vice versa. At least, there’s no mystery on the source: Viltard is a bassist based in London, Running Away representing my initial contact with his craft.

This is one of those records where, after a while, I tend to look for the constituents of the sound rather than a strictly musical concept per se. The playing is at the same time physical and unspoken, placed in an area bordering with “regular” improvisation (including preparations) and Creative Sources-related settings. A lot of whispered harmonics; a general dearth of finished figures and phrases; thuds, honks, bounces and bumps; engrossing – if rare – subsonic moans and drones. Viltard surely likes conflict and ruggedness, yet he manages to make them coexist with a sort of underprivileged poetry that makes the whole not just listenable, but even moderately touching in certain occasions. The occasional participation of a wonderful selection of forest birds underscored by a faraway cuckoo (that’s right, the guy went amidst the trees and the bushes to record) further enriches a CD that grows with subsequent listens, perfumed with integrity and revealing a number of interesting acoustic events.

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