JOÃO CAMÕES / JEAN-MARC FOUSSAT – À La Face Du Ciel!

Shhpuma

We tend to lose certainties nowadays. Without launching pleas for the invention of new terms to depict improvisation (and forgetting for a minute the “entire-history-of-avantgarde-in-pills” of the liner notes), let me just declare that this is a tough record to swallow. It’s taking this writer a considerable number of spins to recognize its noteworthy traits; an appreciative comprehension is gradually growing after a gut reaction of perplexity, probably due to a weakened psychophysical condition during the initial approach. So, for starters, don’t blame the artists.

The music comes packaged in two lengthy suites. As always in duets where a single acoustic instrument and electronics are involved, this is all about actions, reactions and counter-reactions. In extreme synthesis, Camões’ viola is the source that gets denucleated, liquefied and sprayed across the ether by Foussat’s apparatuses. This happens according to methods exercising a remorseless destruction of the “romanticism” typically linked to strings (which in itself would represent a plus). Sometimes the outcome is extremely intriguing, recalling a pair of solitary souls attempting to communicate via atypical timbral attractions and somewhat unpractical contrapuntal solutions. Still, in selected fragments of the first track “Suite Pour La Trosième Oreille” a cruel use of distortion renders the aural colors truly ugly more often than not. I’m fighting with myself to accept them as they are, in the name of an open-minded tolerance of diversity.

However, do not question the quality of the interplay – top rank throughout – and do focus on the finer features of this work. We’re in presence of creative minds that want to go forward, regardless of aesthetic issues largely depending, as previously hinted, on the listener’s contingent state. Ultimately, the textural essence of À La Face Du Ciel! is remotely comparable to the body of a person who spends a whole day in front of the sea, inhaling the scents and looking at the innumerable ripples before returning home with the skin completely sunburnt. Badly aching, yet willing to reiterate the experience.

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