Mattin's quartet in the 4th of his "Songbook" series, a concert from Tokyo, where the musicians create "songs" on the spot with bizarre and unexpected results.
Songbook Vol. 4
Label: Azul Discografica
Released in: USA
"Ah, OK, what can we make of this? I'm apparently one of the few earthly denizens who enjoyed Mattin's first volume in the "Songbook" series on Hibari, a raucous, snarled set of improvised rock songs sounding (if this is possible) like a less studied version of DNA. I've missed the interim entries, vols. 2 & 3, though I somehow doubt there's any discernible "career arc" happening. This is a live set, a very recent one (July 5, 2006), recorded in Tokyo by a rather all-star quintet: Mattin (vocals, guitar), Taku Unami (bass, piano), the excellent Anthony Guerra and, from down the hall in the toilet, Jean-Luc Guionnet and Tomoya Izum.
It's a brief disc, the six "songs" presented in a single 22-minute track. Supremely lo-fi and unbalanced, Mattin maybe singing into his computer mic (I say, "singing" but of course other words would serve better: growling, shrieking, sobbing, howling, gurgling, etc.), Guerra alternating between harsh clusters and relatively delicate plucking. Unami's bass playing, given his predilection for computer-animated toys, is surprisingly funky. Cracks me up when, after a given eructative song, Mattin demurely says to the audience, "Thank you very much, thank you." In addition to DNA, the clear precedent for this approach seems to be Zorn's "Locus Solus" project from the early 80s. For my money, this works better, here largely due to Guerra's playing which, as usual, I find very compelling. That said, "Songbook vol 4" is at best going to be an acquired taste for most listeners. Dealing with Mattin's personality, as out front as it is here, ain't no easy thing. The final track, "Apologies", finds him bawling his head off. If he's faking it, it's a disturbingly convincing fraud. I don't know. That's also the section in which one can discern Guionnet and Izumi contributing from, apparently, a toilet far off mic."-Brian Olewnick, Bagatellen
• Show Bio for Taku Unami
"Taku Unami was born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1976. He is a composer and improviser working with assorted stringed instruments, including the guitar, mandolin, and contraguitar, laptop and vibrating objects (from which he amplifies the inaudible vibrations). Despite being linked to minimal improvisation his music is hardly classifiable, being able to surprise listeners on every new release, raising unforeseen questions and forging new paths for improvisation. He is part of the group HOSE and has active collaborations with Mattin, Taku Sugimoto and Masahiko Okura. In the past he has worked with Radu Malfatti, Jean-Luc Guionnet, Klaus Filip, Masafumi Ezaki, Burkhard Stangl, Rhodri Davies and Keith Rowe, among others. Unami has also composed for film, including 'Lost My Way' (directed by Takeshi Furusawa) and 'In 1,000,000 years' (directed by Isao Okishima). He has released more than 30 records, both solo and in numerous groups and collaborations. He runs the influential label Hibari Music and co-organizes the Tokyo concert series Chamber Music Concerts with Taku Sugimoto and Masahiko Okura."-Taku Unami Facebook page, Jon Abbey (https://www.facebook.com/Taku.Unami/about/?__xt__=33.%7B%22logging_data%22%3A%7B%22page_id%22%3A%22179276168795059%22%2C%22event_type%22%3A%22clicked_view_page_about%22%7D%7D)
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• Show Bio for Jean Luc Guionnet
"Jean-Luc Guionnet is an elusive figure. A Parisian artist active in many fields (music, visual arts, cinema), he has mostly worked in electro-acoustics but also has a career in free improvisation, playing alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, church organ, and piano. He has collaborated with Éric La Casa, Éric Cordier, and André Almuro on tape music. His main free improv and jazz projects include Hubbub, Schams, Return of the New Thing, and the Joe Rosenberg quintet.
Guionnet made scientific studies before shifting to fine arts. He studied musique concrete under Iannis Xenakis and Michel Zbar, but also pursued studies in philosophy (esthetics) with Geneviève Clancy. His first works date from the late '80s and are mostly collaborations with filmmaker André Almuro (some have been issued by Ground Fault). Then came a lasting partnership with electro-acousticians Éric Cordier and Éric La Casa. Together they wrote the series "Afflux." Guionnet also produces the Ateliers de Création Radiophoniques ("creative radio workshops") for France Culture. His eclecticism has kept him at bay of recognition -- because to the eye of the press it strips him from some credibility and because running careers in philosophy (he was co-director for the review Terre des Signes from 1993 to 1996), painting (he exhibited from 1992 to 1997), and music simultaneously tends to be time-consuming.
The release of an eponymous CD by Dan Warburton's free jazz quartet Return of the New Thing in 1999 on the respected label Leo Records introduced Guionnet to a wider audience. Since then his activities as an improviser have constantly stretched toward the fringes of experimentalism. His participation in the French-Swiss group Hubbub and his duo with guitarist Olivier Benoit (&Un, 2002) follow the school of Berlin reductionism."-All Music, François Couture (http://www.allmusic.com/artist/jean-luc-guionnet-mn0000231714)
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At The Squid's Ear!
Related Categories of Interest:
Rock and Related
Song Based Music
Unusual Vocal Forms
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Shipping Weight: 3.00 units
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Label: Azul Discografica
Catalog ID: azd02
Squidco Product Code: 8729
Recorded live at Enban, 5th July, 2006 in Tokyo.
Taku Unami-bass, piano
Jean Luc Guionnet-sax
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