Guido Del Fabbro

Carré de Sable

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Known for his participation to the Fanfare Pourpour (an avant-garde street fanfare) and Rouge Ciel (a hyper-complex avant-prog group), violinist Guido Del Fabbro reveals his inner sound world with Carré de Sable (or Sandbox). Truly a one-man band, he is credited for playing 29 different instruments ranging from his trusty violin to banjo, recorder, turntable, outdated keyboard, various hand-held percussion instruments, voice, even water. Each one of the 19 tracks features a different instrumentation and the music itself shifts from one style to another, eluding classification. There are elements of Quebec and Irish folk (Del Fabbro's other projects are all influenced by folk music to some degree), bedroom electronica, the naive junk/toy ensembles of Frank Pahl or Pascal Comelade, and home-brewed sound experiments reminiscent of the Jewelled Antler Collective. The whole thing is a bit dizzying at first and can be seen as a case of hit and miss. The track list occasionally jumps out of hand: for instance, the beautiful pastoral overture "La Bergerie I" is followed by "Jaka," a rather miserable attempt at lo-fi techno (even if it is meant as an ironic take on the genre, and it may very well be). Other sections on the other hand are obviously the result of careful attention to editing. Adventurous listeners will find gems buried in this pile of fragile melodies and strange textures, and they will differ for each person. But the best moments arise when Del Fabbro throws everything into the pot, like when an elegant duet between violin and bass clarinet (Pierre-Emmanuel Poizat, a rare guest) is backed by gritty guitar drones in "Gaviscon." These short pieces recorded while on the road give the impression of a little meddler (to pursue the childhood metaphor developed by Del Fabbro in the booklet). The album has the pros and cons of a scrapbook: variety, lots of imagination, but a lack of organization and cohesion.