MARTINE ALTENBURGER / FRÉDÉRIC BLONDY / BERTRAND GAUGUET – Vers L’Île Paresseuse

Creative Sources

Sometimes one lives entire days with a record, inhaling its spellbinding fumes yet unable to find the right words to express feelings about music that absolutely refuses a classic description. It can even happen that the theoretical reviewer decides to set aside additional time for a suitable terminology to materialize, dedicating the attention to other things in the meantime. In the case of Vers L’Île Paresseuse I still feel, after the umpteenth listen, that conventional terms are inadequate for a correct interpretation of what the musicians meant to convey in the first place.

The separate artistic personas, fully flourished during years of significant collaborations detailed in impressive curricula, coalesce magnificently in the five tracks of the CD. Altenburger (cello), Blondy (piano) and Gauguet (sax) are undoubtedly a trio of sensible COTV (Catchers Of The Vibration) able to seize the resonance of a thought, or the instantaneous deviation from a given expectation, and exploit a spontaneous gesture in contexts where the momentary abandonment of one’s own personality is required to produce an emotional impact. When that feeling of uneasiness mixed with admiration appears – the room quavering with drones, or inert in near-hush – you know that something special is happening. This type of occurrence is practically constant here.

I could spend hours in telling how wonderfully the low strings of Blondy’s piano resonate, or depicting the inexplicable pitilessness of certain decisions by Altenburger, always defined by her impeccable control of the arco. In comparison, Gauguet might at times look like the “regular guy” with his corpulent honks and clearly detectable flutters: but it is soon obvious that the human factor in the interplay is especially evident in the saxophonist’s repudiation of formulas, either rooted in traditional styles or in the so-called freshness of worn-out EAI tricks.

Three voices generating acoustic materials whose high quality does not diminish for a minute over the course of an almost full hour. Imposing sounds, exemplary coordination of the single parts, perceivable humbleness, admirable equilibrium between reverberating percussiveness, quiet collective percolations and abrasive dynamism. Substances spreading around without caring if you understand or not, but once the actual nature of the improvisation becomes a little clearer there’s no looking back to weaker stuff. A masterpiece, that’s what it is.

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