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Quan Ninh, Le: Le Ventre Negatif (Meniscus)


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product information:

Label: Meniscus
Catalog ID: MNSCS 011
Squidco Product Code: 2297

Format: CD
Condition: New
Country: USA
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded at Les Entrepots in Toulouse, France in October 2001 by Pierre-Olivier Boulant.


Le Quan Ninh-bass drum

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track listing:

1. Tel Quel 13:07

2. Ni D'une Part, Ni D'une Autre 9:36

3. Appuis Et Alentours 8:28

4. Peau Neuve 6:38

5. Autres Distorsions Elémentaires 9:07
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Japanese & Asian Improv/Rock
Free Improvisation
Before April-2006
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descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Le Quan Ninh's music is a very personal and intimate. The French percussionist plays a bass drum laid horizontal on a stand, and uses it as a "sound table" for the various smaller percussion instruments and objects he has arranged on the floor "surrounding" him. In this sense he is a minimalist because he limits his choice of instruments. But his amazing sense of adventure creates a maximum amount of sounds. While most improvising percussionists come out of the jazz field, Ninh has a strict classical background, having studied with Silvio Gualda at the Academy of Versailles. He became aware of the late composer, John Cage, a true musical anarchist, and has explored a variety of Cage's work. Today he continues to perform it with the Quatre Helios percussion group. He has also worked extensively in the improvised music field with such musicians as saxophonist Michel Doneda, bassists Joëlle Léandre and Peter Kowald, percussionist Günter Müller, as well as various dancers and artistsfrom other disciplines. The opening track, tel quel, is a perfect example of his techniques. He rubs, scrapes, bows, and manipulates a wide array of objects on top of his bass drum. One can hear sounds within sounds, as he allows the various instruments to randomly interact with each other. Thus, while he is scraping one instrument, another one is rattling. This goes on for nearly 11 minutes, building in intensity until he gets down to some serious bowing of cymbals and metals that creates an astounding wall of harmonics across the soundfield. "ni d'une part, ni d'one autre" is more percussive. He works with a Chinese cymbal, striking it, rattling it, squeaking it - while also striking the bass drum and using the cymbal to muffle and change the drum's sound. Large swirling bowed sounds open appuis et alentours. Dark growls lead to staccato tappings that rush by like a stream running down a mountain side. A flurry of high pitched squeaks mutate into furious scrapes before giving awayto a rustle of sounds that builds things back up with harmonic cymbal sounds once again. Barely audible squeaks open "peau neuve". One needs to be actively engaged in the music to take it in. There is blowing and rustling of small percussion, occasionally disrupted by a staccato burst. Then he plays a series of rolls on the bass drum causing the various instruments resting on it to clatter together in a collage of sounds. The track closes with what sound like singing bowls or cup gongs being struck with a soft mallet, their sound resonating through the drum. The final track, "autres distortions elementaires", opens with him quietly rolling on the drum, objects rattling, as he builds up the intensity of his strokes. This multiplication of sounds creates the illusion of more than one player, as it keeps building, much like a musical landslide running down hill and gaining momentum. Metallic clatters begin to dominate, tinkling like sinister bells, or a jumble of alarm clocks ringing out in a cacophonous symphony. Brash metallic sounds enter and wobble as he brings it down in intensity, til softly ringing bowls vibrate against each other, throwing off streams of harmonics. This is another wonderful release by Lê Quan Ninh. For the adventurous listener, this recording will yield new things each time it is listened too. Highly recommended. "-Michael Bettine, Jazz Review

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