"Nearly four years old, this trio meeting from France - with Mariage again on guitar, Dan Warburton on violin, and Frédéric Blondy on piano - recalls for me a very specific French musical source, the master Olivier Messiaen. The three long improvisations on L'Écorce Chante la Forêt feature a voicelike instrumentalism and interaction that, for all its rude squeaks and tempests, reminds me of the late composer's preoccupation with birdsongs. For much of the title track, it is difficult to discern how Blondy coaxes the shimmering translucent sounds from his (apparently prepared) piano. Warburton glides over his strings, as Mariage rudely throttles his pickups (often using a slide in multiple ways), but the pianist blasts through his instrument's representations as Rhodri Davies does with harp. The results are subtle and transfixing, and the intense music conveys quite vivid imagery which, perhaps embellished by the evocative French titles, suggest that upon entering a seemingly tranquil space one is delighted to discover the wealth of detail and activity that teem below the surface. Appropriately, one has to listen very actively to these performances for, while they do occasionally invite you in with threeway tussles or with accessible chamber music gestures, this is more often the music of nightbirds and hidden things. The long, slowly warping tones of "Sleep, Perchance to Dream" confirm this impression most psychedelically; despite the use of extended techniques, the music coos to you, tugs at your eyelids, and invites reverie.[...] Taken as a whole, this quintet of discs is pretty satisfying. While some clearly work better than others, they give improv freaks some insight into what's happening in some lesser-known European scenes. They also confirm the strength and identity of this excellent label."-Jason Bivins (Dusted Magazine)
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European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
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