Bruno Duplant & Darius Ciuta
::: INTRODUCTORY WORDS :::
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It’s always thrilling to watch two artists ‘respective universes magnetize, and result in the appearance of a new entity…Here we have Bruno Duplant, french self-taught musician, composer, and geographer, in search of other territories of expression, & Darius Ciuta, lithuanian sound artist & architect, certainly obsessed with how time & space interact…
Although there’s a wonderful symbiosis at work, Bruno seems to dress the score drawn by Darius with half-melodic ghosts, bringing punctuation & breathings…Darius draws on his delicate, unmistakable minimal palette and sets a mesh of soft particles in motion, often basing himself on very specific recording situations…Both are fueled by an irrepressible creativity, and here, manage to reach effortlessly an improbable balance, a line of intuitive convergence, shaping an organic world living on its own rules…
In the end, what we have is a canvas for boosting our imaginary coming from a well which will not run dry soon as shown by their other very recent album released on Triple Bath : “Shed I”
“(G)W(3)” emerges from the depths,
sprinkled with a thin tireless furrowing rain,
Then, further on, things seem to unite
in an arc of potentialities…
from some simple elements, their placement, their smoothing,
“(G)W(3)” generates its own persistent original microclimate…
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::: DURATION :::
::: FORMAT :::
CD ltd to 200 copies
150 first copies come with an additional art card on 300 gr satin paper
::: REVIEWS :::
The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink, clamoring to become visible.
Another way to approach the thing is to consider it unnameable.
Architect and sound-maker Darius Ciuta has joined with Bruno Duplant on three duo releases to date; the two documents offered here, released closely together earlier this year, clarify how simpatico the pair are, how effortlessly they work with near-invisible materials in dark, dark waters.
Ciuta resides in Kaunas, Lithuania, employed as an architect. Like Lance Austin Olsen, who came to experimental music from many years as a painter, Ciuta followed a similar trajectory, his sound experiments beginning in the 90s cassette culture under the noise nom, Naj. Olsen came to mind for another reason – the two share a practice of meticulously reducing their sounds by a self-limiting means of sound production, and a sensibility that privileges minute particulars over overt shapes and forms. Even the titles of Ciuta and Duplant‘s releases are acronymic and runic, yielding no textual clues about the music.
Duplant, by my last count, has appeared on about 30 releases since I became aware of him in 2009. Prolific, to be sure, but also as recondite, where personal/biographical information is concerned, as can be imagined in these exhaustively linked-in times. I have amassed much of that improbable output, and think Duplant‘s best work can be found in the projects that connect him to playing partners of like-minded temperament and aesthetic biases.
As I said, that is the great strength of these two releases, as distinct and divergent as they are, at times: within the context of a rather severe micro-sound continuum, (G) W (3) is, measured against Shed I, luxuriant, aqueous, and occasionally serene. Shed I, even with location recordings that include the by now de rigueur barking dogs/sloshing water sorts of narrative signposts, is a work of impressive, insistent severity and reduction. Close listening, and time, bring the overall shape into focus, invisible edges and patterns emerging, and one is struck with how the duo’s melded sensibilities barely hint at discrete parts. In a fashion, the work and its authors are unnameable.
Crow With No Mouth
There’s no text on the CD, but there is some lovely artwork, as always with Daniel Crokaert’s labels. So if we go to the online notes we’re told that a score has been drawn by Darius Ciuta and interpreted by Bruno Duplant.
Overall the work is measured and muted. It seems to take place all by itself, that is with little in the way of obvious human agency. It also seems to take place in a very large space. I’m assuming here that the piece is made from processed field recordings, though there might have been some ‘playing’ of various objects. It just doesn’t come over as a work which makes us think of live instrumentation of any kind.
Small details almost manage to provide a foreground to this vast tableau in the manner of figures on a ground, a concept I’ve always thought to be worth developing, in opposition to the analogies with perspective (depth, spread and so on) which are expected in electroacoustic music that seeks to follow the ‘rules’ of good composition.
So for what it’s worth I enjoyed the work a lot, though it didn’t do anything very interesting in the field of investigating complexity, developing interesting morphologies, creating merging layers and movement between and within dense and detailed textures, or defying linearity. There are however a few passages of morphological interest, such as the breakthrough of gentle machine sounds which accumulate resonance and complexity. The scale of the work (79 minutes) allows an unfolding and unveiling which hints at non-linear treatment of the material but there’s still an overriding impression of ‘this followed by that’.
Generally the sounds are very effectively processed, no mean feat in a work of this duration. Only a couple of passages compromised this excellent technique, for example one passage in which the filtering is heard as simply filtering which always makes me try to figure out what the unfiltered sound might be.
Again, unusual in works of this scale, the pacing is well judged and the work gets busy at just the right times which implies that the artists have spent quality time auditioning the work with an ear to how it proceeds over its length.
Other positive attributes: the way in which the work borders on the abstract added to the muted gentle timbres almost invites an ambient listening behaviour, but there are some well-wrought passages which require closer listening; the range of muted timbres is well distributed, balanced by some overtly ‘musical’ passages of gentle percussive sounds and even windchime sounds; the recurring sound of a gently droning machine helps with the pacing of the piece as it appears to mark sections or punctuation.
There is a second piece, at least it seems to be detached from the longer work, which is much more sparse and repetitive sounding with recurring resonant pitches sound and background distant sounds. Rightly or wrongly though I was happy to listen to the whole cd as one work.
This might not seem to be much of a compliment, but I always consider long pieces like this to be good research pieces – in fact all the good music (to my ears) in the experimental/electroacoustic vein can usefully be seen as some kind of research, whether it be trying out something new, a technique, concept or undertaking with new and unusual materials, or even working towards solving a problem. Otherwise it’s not really experimental and probably follows a tried and tested formula which I don’t find very interesting. In this context the challenge here might have been how to maintain interest over nearly 80 minutes.
Finally, a small gripe, well quite a big one really – why can’t we see the score? I couldn’t find it online and would have liked to know more about what the music was supposed to be interpreting. Or maybe the secret score was part of the concept?
The Field Reporter
(G)W(3) est une œuvre composée par Darius Ciuta (un architecte et artiste sonore lituanien) et interprétée par lui-même, en compagnie de Bruno Duplant (que je ne présente plus). Je ne connais pas le reste des disques de ce label, mais cette œuvre correspond si bien à son nom (mystery sea) qu’on pourrait facilement croire qu’elle a été écrite spécialement pour lui.
Il s’agit d’une suite de deux pièces (65 et 15 minutes environ), une suite épique et immersive. 80 minutes de boucles qui ne sont pas sans rappeler des ressacs et des vagues maritimes, des boucles sombres et obscures, accompagnées et ponctués de sons abstraits et minimaux. Une album d’ambient très mystérieux et immersif , qui se plonge dans des vagues sonores abstraites, des vagues répétées auxquelles répondent toujours toutes sortes de bruits abstraits, indéfinis et indéterminés. On ne sait jamais trop si c’est de l’électronique, un ordinateur ou des field-recordings, Duplant & Ciuta se plongent de manière trop profonde dans le son pour que la source ait encore un sens. Ce qui compte ici, ce sont les qualités sonores les plus essentielles, et les impressions qu’elles dégagent. La structure est complexe même si l’ambiance est plane, l’intensité toujours égale à elle-même.
Des vagues toujours pareilles mais jamais identiques qui se succèdent de manière créative et interminable dans une ambiance obscure, maritime et un peu flippée. Je ne suis pas fan d’ambient en général, hormis du drone, mais là, il y a quand même quelque chose, un truc qui fait que l’on reste assez bien attentif malgré la longueur de ces pièces. Bon travail.
I’m not precisely sure of the background to the two pieces presented here; apparently they’re derived from scores by Ciuta, a Lithuanian musician/composer. Whether he contributes directly to the (presumably) long-range collaboration or whether what we hear are Duplant‘s realization on his own isn’t apparent. In any case, we experience some 79 minutes of subdued, atmospheric sounds (very much in keeping with much of the label’s output) that carries vague nautical connotations to this listener–distant foghorns, the knocking of floating objects against wooden pilings, a generally aqueous feel. The music is simultaneously rich in terms of detailed layering and almost uniformly quiet, enough so that, at times, it almost fades out entirely. It’s also sonorous and rounded, entirely “unobjectionable” which may be a positive or negative attribute depending on the listener’s predilections. Every so often, for example near the 30-minute mark, there are hints of far away conflagrations, shards of sound that might read as harsh were they closer at hand that serve to inject a degree of necessary abrasiveness lest the affair become too lulling. More descriptives would only belabor the point. Some may find it too long and self-similar for sustained concentration, others may not (I don’t). Some may prefer to use it in an ambient manner, for which it works fairly well. A good recording, to these ears, very satisfying, like lying down in an isolated, sonically intriguing environment, waiting for a nap that never arrives.