DIDIER LASSERRE – Silence Was Pleased

Ayler

According to a dull cliché, many people are used to represent the strains of a given album as a soundtrack to an “imaginary” or “non-existent” movie. Silence Was Pleased cannot be encapsulated in such trite definitions as the film is, in this case, represented by the music itself. Different scenes and characters, profound conversations, seemingly secondary yet essential appearances, environmental ripples. Plus, an insightful quietness and a skillful director – percussionist and composer Didier Lasserre – beautifully highlighting the particulars that circumstantiate each sonic locus. The final result translates as sheer quality.

Borrowing from the bio notes, Lasserre’s artistry is rooted in free jazz and improvisation. However, in contrast to the activity in those areas, he has always been interested in silence, as well as in very soft dynamics as a means to reach the “silent zone”. Accordingly, Lasserre devised a coherent composition, incorporating elements of cultivated reductionism, tranceful soloism, John Milton verses sung by Laurent Cerciat, and rather sober jazz unrest. Executed by a small group of fine French instrumentalists, the score attributes significance to the individual voices but allows no room for narcissistic protagonism. Indeed, several parts are characterized by a gradualness that closely resembles the unfolding of a Zen ritual. Still, Christine Wodrascka’s pragmatic pianism, Gaël Mevel’s remarkable cello tone and Jean-Luc Cappozzo’s eloquent phrasing on trumpet and flugelhorn remained imprinted in this writer’s memory amidst the general excellence.

The entire work unintentionally describes an existential arc, alternating episodes of meditative introversion with more lively phases of interchange, then returning to a kind of “ultimate solitude” escorted by rarefied contrapuntal presences. We’re never permitted to imagine what may happen, until it actually happens. The sections succeed one after another without preambles; gratuitous virtuosity between the lines simply does not exist. In fact, what’s most admirable is the ability of the performers to act as “colors” perfectly functional to the part. The quiet intensity of specific junctures makes time run faster than we wish. The mind cherishes the juxtaposition of resonance and stillness, absorbing every second as indispensable fuel for our internal luminosity. These clear-cut geometries, to which all participants contribute decisively, contain the seeds of an expressive evolution enriched by serious focus and gestural firmness.

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