Monday, December 14, 2015

Hugues Vincent, John Cuny, Tagtraum

In the musical universe we currently inhabit in time and space, there is a burgeoning school of improvisers in the new music camp that bear our scrutiny well. I speak of a loose confederation of improvising musicians in France, Portugal, Germany and elsewhere on the Continent. There are counterparts in New York and elsewhere in the US, and I have covered many of them over the last several years. Today, however we return to France.

Today a duet between cellist Hugues Vincent, who we have talked about on these pages before, and pianist John Cuny, whose playing is not as familiar to me. They give us a full set of abstract improvisations on the album Tagtraum (improvising beings 42).

This is an extended two-way interaction that models some stunning sound-color essays using extended techniques, different ways of sounding each instrument and on occasion prepared strings.

Vincent is a virtuoso at this kind of improvising, but then John Cuny very much keeps up his end of the dialogue. The different velocities and intersection of dual sonic universes range from sharp pointillisms to simultaneous barrages of thick sound-carpet emanations.

This is uncompromising fare, with little in the way of sound signposts of a secular everyday sort. Instead the two avidly carve out ever-varying shapes built from exotic sounds and quixotic silences, in ever-differing intensities and poetically spontaneous inventiveness.

If anybody but me remembers the Acting Trio album that came out on BYG in 1969, that was a lineage forbear if you need to picture in your mind's ear what to expect. But perhaps there are not so many who know that record. No matter.

Suffice to say that this is full-bore free expression of the highest kind. It will appeal to those adventurous souls who come out of avant jazz or new music camps, or perhaps no camp at all except the camp of the new unknown.

A fine set!

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