The prospect of listening to a trio of soprano saxophones will make some of you cringe. After all, this instrument can turn into a head-drilling implement -- let alone three. But Placés dans l'Air (literally: "placed in the air" or more elegantly "placed in space") is gentle on the ear, despite its high demands in terms of listening attention and open-mindedness. There are no endless circular-breathing tirades, no screeching solos, no out-breathing contests. Alessandro Bosetti, Michel Doneda and Bhob Rainey join forces to produce soft sound-oriented (as opposed to note-) drones, interrupted by short silences. The dynamic range is wide and includes some startling outbursts. The album presents a single 40-minute improvisation recorded at Les Entre-peaux in Toulouse (France), May 2002. The musicians' high level of concentration is what sucks you in at first. Then comes the quality of the interplay and the sheer beauty of the complex music that unfolds. The album brings to mind John Butcher, Xavier Charles and Axel Dörner's The Contest of Pleasures, also released on Potlatch. The work of engineer Pierre-Olivier Boulant is described as a "subjective stereophonic recording," which to this reviewer's ears sounds very much like a binaural recording where the wearer is moving around the musicians. It helps blur the distinctions between the three saxophonists. Changes in sonic perspective makes it very difficult to trace back individual contributions, forcing us to focus on the music as a whole. In the long run, this CD is more interesting and addictive than The Difference Between a Fish, a second trio album featuring Doneda that Potlatch released simultaneously.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture