Erik Truffaz / Murcof

Being Human Being

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The collaborative relationship between French trumpeter Erik Truffaz and Mexican electronic sound sculptor Murcof (Fernando Corona) dates back to 2006, when the pair worked with percussionist Talvin Singh as a live pan-cultural hybrid trio. As a duo they issued the mini album Mexico in 2008, which wove together Truffaz's formal and post-jazz sensibilities with Murcof's fuzzy electronic abstraction. While Being Human Being isn't an enormous departure sonically, it does hold another dimensional element; namely, the inspiration of French visual artist Enki Bilal, who did the cover especially for this release based on the duo's concept, which ultimately included a film, making this in essence a soundtrack. This is easily heard that way, but it is also more. Opener "Origin of the World" feels like a theme, with Murcof's ambient soundscapes providing a backdrop for Truffaz's emergent, intensely melodic and suggestive bell-like trumpet sounds. But the very next cut, "Warhol," is far more dramatic, with percussive loops, darker textures, layers of reverb, wind instruments, piano, and the implication of a minimally employed sequencer create the body of the tune as Truffaz enters and exits more sparingly. Here, seduction and dread walk hand in hand over nearly 15 minutes. Other highlights included the paranoid futurism of "Chaos," the propulsive "Human Being" -- which, despite its experimental nature, should work well on the club floor -- and the restrained approach of Eastern European post-classical music in "Skin," where cellos, pedals, synths, woodwinds, and a four-note theme dictate a frame for Truffaz on tuba. His trumpet solo, while luxuriating in Murcof's backdrop, is elegant and evocative of both the soundtrack work of Krystof Komeda and Miles Davis' later work with Gil Evans. Being Human Being is compelling and provocative, but lovely all the same.

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