Various Artists

Musique Action No. 03

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Released by the label Vand'oeuvre in time for the 2002 edition of the music festival Musique Action in Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy, this compilation proposes nine pieces by 16 artists active at the forefront of the avant-garde. Seven projects consist of fresh duos; all artists were invited to try something new in seven minutes. The results form an accurate snapshot of the French experimental scene in the near future, since listeners can assume most of these artists will continue to investigate these waters. Live electro-acoustic improvisers Lionel Marchetti and Jérôme Noetinger contribute two good pieces separately -- Marchetti's cinema-for-the-ears soundtrack set to one of his texts read by Olivier Capparos is beautifully filthy (it involves an Amsterdam prostitute) and stands as a highlight. Human speech provides the basis for a number of other pieces. Carole Rieussec dresses up the ramblings of Martin Jauniaux while Catherine Jauniaux vocalizes around the recording, "interpreting" the words in her own special way (she has been rather discreet for the previous few years; it's good to hear her highly personal brand of fantasy again). Sophie Agnel's "La Chanson" features accordion and piano (and inside-piano) set to playground sounds -- the rusty swings squeak in harmony with her bowing and scratching of the piano strings. Listeners also find on this disc a few numbers of acoustic free improv: clarinetist Isabelle Duthoit with pianist Jacques Demierre, cellist Martine Altenburger with saxophonist Michel Doneda, and a thrilling duet between Pascal Battus on saz and the ever-surprising Jean-Luc Guionnet on çiftelia. Recommended, unless you cannot stand voices speaking in French.

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