THE OCTOPUS – Subzo[o]ne


Acoustically speaking, a cello quartet is definitely a stimulating proposition. That’s why I was a bit surprised while noticing that The Octopus (Nathan Bontrager, Elisabeth Coudoux, Nora Krahl and Hugues Vincent) haven’t updated their website since this CD was released, namely in 2016. Are you guys still playing together? I do hope so.

The reason for my hopefulness is enclosed by the 14 tracks – all improvised – of Subzo[o]ne. The music’s quality is unquestionably high. The interplay is never less than passionate, the performers always ready to take advantage of someone’s ingenious intuition to plunge into earnest contrapuntal subversion. Notwithstanding the instrumental equality, this reviewer was very impressed by the quartet’s facility in diversifying the grain of the individual timbres. Most of all, I loved how they managed to achieve a commendable balance between the bulkiness of the fuller tones and the “carpe diem” of piercing partials, unruly percussiveness and unrestrained stridency carried out with evident mastery, without ever considering negativity or obstacles.

There is not a moment in which the sounds rest in conformist harmony. Brief segments of relatively easier digestibility get soon erased by the dissonant vivaciousness of the subsequent spurts. At the same time, The Octopus occasionally present the audience with rarefied hues and darker corners of mystery. Ultimately, what really matters is that your ears won’t be tired even after three or four consecutive spins. The dynamism radiated by the group is positively galvanizing. Now it remains to be seen where our heroes went after such a great record. We remain confidently waiting for news.

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