Ensemble Accroche Note

Live in Berlin

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Accroche Note, an ever-changing collective that revolves around the voice of Françoise Kubler and the clarinet playing of Armand Angster, makes sound rather than music, or at least that appears to be their intent from Bert Noglik's typically wordy and overly platitudinal liner notes that say little about what actually happens here. The rap is that this group works outside the norm of compositional and free improv modes to create a "new" musical idiom and language...blah, blah, blah. The truth of the matter is that this little band cares not a whit for anything but free improvisation and the creation of oppositions in sound. With a vocalist who relies primarily on wordless tonalities and techniques more befitting a bass or saxophone, a clarinetist as interested in the physical innards of his instrument as what comes out of it, and a rhythm section comprised primarily of elements that reflect an interest in tonality rather than conventional time-keeping (marimbas, xylophones, bendir, tar, chimes, darbouka -- and the bass -- of course), many colors, shapes, and textures are possible. This concert from 1995 reflects the lengths to which Accroche Note will go to keep the timbral shifts of vocal and instrumental collaboration flowing. From a very loose read of "Tierkreis" by Karlheinz Stockhausen to "spontaneous compositions" by Kuber and Angster, what flowers from the middle is usually dictated by an idea from one of the pair, refracted through a tonal prism to capture a series of notes in between one place and another, and the combining of those same notes in new ways until another series of them is found and refracted further, creating an improvisational framework that relies neither on dynamics nor drama to achieve its ends. There are no interval or scalar considerations here, nor are there modal constraints to hold back what is essentially an architecture of sound itself becoming a body that transforms itself in every minute, extending and distending itself in a tense, restrained, orderly fashion that offers process as a maxim rather than result. Is it jazz? Is it new music? What are they trying to say? Who cares -- they already said it. With a humorous grace and controlled approach, Accroche Note opens sonic worlds of light and shadow with a method that relies not on musicality but on an intuition for music itself.

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