Marc Ducret

Un Certain Malaise

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Guitarist Marc Ducret has done a pair of solo guitar albums for Tim Berne's Screwgun label, one each for acoustic and electric guitars; Un Certain Malaise is for electric guitar. Opening with a live recording called "What Did I Forget?"/"Old Brown Shoe" (yes, the Beatles' tune) Ducret departs from his older style of linear, arpeggio-heavy playing and instead digs deep into the tonal possibilities of a guitar turned to stun volume and tuned to an open E. His style here is reminiscent of Sonny Sharrock's heavily percussive, relying on the lower strings for base and ballast as fragmented chords are sliced out of the maelstrom in a riff formation while charging up and down the neck to fill the rest of the space with dulled strings and the occasional bent note and drawing a rock & roll in overdrive rhythm out of the instrument. Elsewhere Ducret explores the dynamic range of the instrument, without the use of special or digital effects. He's playing single and double strings, hammering them at low volumes on one or two tones, reducing the sustain level as mush as possible while still trying to allow for individual note identification. This part of his process is best illustrated by the track "Detail." But there is also a noticeable jazz element on this album, as denoted by the appearance of the improvisations "Méfiance" and "Le Bruit Court." For fans of solo guitar recordings, Ducret's experiments and compositions are more than dexterous or fascinating -- they are downright musically edifying.

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