Fabrice Eglin / Jérôme Noetinger

Psychotic Reactions & Lightnin' Rag

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This is a very strange offering from guitarist Fabrice Eglin (a member of the collective Vert Pituite) and sound artist Jérôme Noetinger (best known for his work with Lionel Marchetti). Basically, these three improvisations consist of Eglin on guitars and Noetinger on a reel-to-reel tape machine. In fact, things are rarely what they seem. The material listed includes a Revox with built-in speakers, a half-body electric guitar, an amplified folk guitar, a Walkman, and a contact mic. Some of the playing involves "straightforward" guitar sounds -- arpeggiated chords, skeletal melodic lines -- but most of it is controlled feedback, textural playing, and electrical sounds (from pickup switch and quarter-inch jack). Where things get interesting is in how Eglin's playing is mirrored by Noetinger. He records him in real time and plays him back, slowing down the speed, "scratching" by manually moving the tape back and forth over the tape head, and so on. It gives way to confusing situations. For instance, at some point in the last of these three untitled pieces, the listener is enjoying a rather melodic passage from Eglin accompanied by crackles and pops from Noetinger -- or so it seems, until Eglin's guitar begins to contort, stutter, and run backward in slow motion. At some point during the piece they switched places, the real guitar being replaced by the recording, all undetectable to the listener's ear until Noetinger intentionally shatters the illusion. Similar moments populate the third and longest piece. The first track begins with a long stretch of silence and sticks to a highly focused but Spartan improvisation. The second piece is the shortest and the noisiest, building from delicate nondescript sounds to a dialogue between twangy guitar effects and "revoxified" twangy guitar effects, culminating into a feedback assault. Noetinger's use of the Revox has always been perplexing, but here it reaches a new level of artistry. Psychotic Reactions & Lightnin' Rag is definitely not for the faint at heart. Even seasoned free improv fans will find it "unusual," in lack of a better word.

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