Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Eric Normand, Philippe Lauzier, Not the Music

On tap today is a CD by Eric Normand and Philippe Lauzier entitled Not the Music (Tour de Bras). It is a Quebec Canadian release that gets your immediate attention by sporting a cover which is in fact a small brown paper lunch bag imprinted with red ink and tied together with a plain white string.

Musically it features Eric Normand on electric bass and clarinet and Philippe Lauzier on bass clarinet and soprano sax. It is free improvisation in a definite avant zone, with a new music feel that extends outward from some of the classic avant sounds of MEV and AMM. Unconventional sounds and unusual playing techniques are the rule, effectively so, as what apparently is an unconventionally bowed electric bass, prepared it seems in various ways, and the two wind instruments lay out a carpet of unusual sound colors and textures.

This does not have as much in the way of obvious jazz roots as it has experimental musical affiliations. To appreciate the music it helps to approach it with a blank slate rather than a set of expectations. If Lauzier sometimes sounds a bit reminiscent of Evan Parker on soprano, it is not in some obvious way and the overall context is the very advanced avant ambient rather than what is more typical in free improvisational circles.

It may put some people off but I find the entire album rather invigorating. There isn't a stitch of compromise to be heard here. They are not out to please the crowd so much as stretch the sonic boundaries of timbre. And for that they do very well. Very well, indeed.

Recommended for those who respond to the very daringly experimental. Bravo!

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