Gil Sansón & Bruno Duplant
1. foliage, brackets, skidmarks_excerpt
::: INTRODUCTORY WORDS :::
Immersion. It starts with a few words and a picture.
I get a concept : blank, and a picture of a white corner, evenly split in axial mode. These elements bring with themselves the unavoidable question :
what to make of this, and how to use these elements as starting point for music that would bear the mark of its origin ? One way to deal with this problem is by full immersion. The sea here is one of possibilities along the spatial limitations implied in the score, but still full of dangers that can sink the best of intentions. There are other seas, all real at different levels. Eight hours and an ocean away, Bruno is geographically afar but close at hand when it comes to working dialogue. Experiences regarding long distance artistic collaboration are becoming more and more common these days, but I doubt the sort of instant rapport Bruno and me have when brainstorming for ideas is somewhat commonplace, at least in my experience. It really feels like we have made some music for a long time, and we have yet to meet in person.
And yet we sail, and along the route the desire to share some of our visions and description of places.
foliage, brackets, skidmarks deals with memory of places and how to attempt sound reconstruction of events related to such places. Among the objects used are a broken mandolin, glass and assorted wooden items.
I read blank as an invitation to listen to the non eventful aspects of hearing. Bruno may have a different view, though. Objects used by me are untouched electric guitar (by means of a TV remote control) and empty maraca.
detachment (for Gilles Deleuze) was written with Bruno in mind. No image this time, just some rather vague instructions that leave much room for interpretation. For this same reason, it’s very tricky and it’s quite difficult to pull it off. I still don’t know the source he used to make the amazing percussive sound that’s present in all of the piece. All the other sounds are my responsability.
– Gil Sansón (September 2014)
::: PRESS RELEASE :::
Dabbling in this and that, eager collaborator & french composer Bruno Duplant has gradually nurtured a sensitive style of his own on the border between multi-instrumentation, improvisation, and site-specific recordings…here he teams up with like-minded transgressor and Venezuelan artist Gil Sansón, who already appeared on labels such as Winds Measure Recordings & Con-V, and Lengua da Lava. Often working on the basis of self-imposed premises & convoluted concepts, Gil shapes patiently questioning intense sound forms…
“blank” opens with distant hum, a faraway pervasive sea,
an opaline world,
just a way of falling into line with each fluctuation,
the wobble of things…
marks…scattered objects…traces of passage…
all become the elements of a receptive score…
Urban moans, muffled motion…
a sea yet to surge,
a scraped slate,
refusing all appearances,
“blank” captures the diaphanous, the transient,
the diffuse or dazzling instant…
A script of perceptiveness…
It punctuates, cuts,
incisions drawing unseen reliefs…
“blank” infuses you in revelatory intervals…
::: TRACKS :::
1. foliage, brackets, skidmarks
::: DURATION :::
::: FORMAT :::
CD ltd to 200 copies
all copies come with an additional art card on 300 gr satin paper
::: REVIEWS :::
Labels tend to develop their own aesthetics, naturally enough, so it’s interesting when one like Mystery Sea (with its sister label, Unfathomless), moves a bit outside of its comfort zone as is the case on at least one track here. There are three works presented here, the first and third from scored by Sansón, the title track from a score by Duplant. I’m guessing the scores in question are graphic/text and am reasonably certain the recordings are constructed from remote performances (as Sansón resides in Venezuela and Duplant in northern France), which has been a standard mode of operation for Duplant in recent years.
“foliage, brackets, skidmarks”, by Sansón, begins with field recordings of what sounds like a small urban area before it’s joined by Duplant‘s arco bass, a sound I hadn’t heard from him in quite a while and which was very welcome, dark, low and vibrant; “just” open strings, I think, but it works very well. A soft jingling, almost an alarm clock, enters, followed by high pitched, bowed metal (?), the bass still interjecting comments, though softer, over the basic ambient recording, eventually reestablishing itself as the primary voice. An attractive work though, at 21+ minutes, possibly lingering on a bit longer than necessary. Duplant‘s “blank” also commences with the sounds of the street, here perhaps a little more urban, a car alarm crying in the distance. The external sounds here are subtler; it’s often hard to distinguish which are from the street, which are created by the musicians, though one low hum, electronic, is certainly studio-formed. The piece itself is rather amorphous, held in place by the field and, to an extent, by that low hum, but spread out and centerless, not a bad thing here. It’s the same length, ore or less, as the preceding track and, again, I could have seen it pared down by five or six minutes. The final track, “detachment”, by Sansón, is the one that breaks the mold, consisting largely of silences interrupted quite brutally, by what sounds like jacks being pulled from amps or other disruptive electronic malfunctions. The silence gives way to a hollow, steely sound, occasionally automotive, reverberant for a brief moment, then the threatening pops recur, echoing and feedbacking in the darkness. This back and forth continues for most of the duration, sometimes discreet, sometimes overlapping; I get the impression one musician was responsible for each sound-set, their occurrences left at least a little bit to chance, perhaps within time brackets. After 18 minutes, a new sound occurs for a minute or two, liquid on hard surface, like rain water washing down a street gutter, after which those pops surface with a vengeance, now apparently causing windows to rattle. A tiny flurry of birds, then silence; quite different from the usual Mystery Sea fare and, at 23 or so minutes, of perfect length.
In terms of expectancy, this is certainly one of the stranger releases on Mystery Sea in some time. Many of the releases on this label have some connection with ‘sea’, ‘water’, ‘rivers’ and such like, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Although Bruno Duplant may use, perhaps, field recordings of the watery kind in this work, it all seems to be more the work of improvisation music on real instruments. Duplant plays horn, double bass and electronics and Gil Sansón (did I ever hear from him?) plays electric guitar and amplifier, broken mandolin, empty maraca and ‘phonographies’. He also wrote the score for the first and the last piece, and Duplant for the one in the middle. So, instead of having improvised music, this is composed music, which just happen to sound like improvised music. Three pieces, as said, and they are all around twenty-two minutes, and they deal with a lot of quiet sounds. A plink here, a plonk there, all carefully played, quiet and spacious. There is a bit of bird sounds, large chunks of unidentified field recordings rumble play an important role. I think (!) I like it, but I am not too sure: I do know that it’s all a bit long. I think I would have been equally satisfied with two of these pieces instead of three. Maybe I just lack the right amount of concentration today? Maybe I think it’s a bit too much of the same thing? Mystery Sea makes a daring move, however, with this release, making it different from the ones we already know.
Frans de Waard