Jean-Luc Chevalier


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The obscurely titled [N:Q] is a superb electro-acoustic recording of a quartet featuring three young Parisian musicians and AMM's Keith Rowe. The single track is an unendingly fascinating and refreshingly sensuous journey of free improvisation, never lacking for ideas and inspiration. Despite the presence of two reed instruments, the general ambience is electronic with drones of varying depths and sonorities predominating. Indeed, while Havard's alto sax occasionally breaks through with frantic squiggles, Chevalier's bass clarinet tends to provide a lush companion drone to that generated by Rowe. By maintaining an impressive concentration on one (apparently) slender slice of the sonic spectrum, this quartet is able to unearth a richness and corporeality often lacking in this sometimes arid territory. One is tempted to credit Rowe with the steadying hand here; his playing is at once both extremely assured and democratically deferential to the group. Along with The World Turned Upside Down on Erstwhile, this is one of his finest projects outside of AMM. Fans of that protean group will find much to enjoy on [N:Q], a state-of-the-art document of electro-acoustic improvisation at the turn of the century.

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