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Michel Doneda continues to extend the sonic capabilities of the soprano sax and, in the process, confirms his position as one of the most important and exciting performers of improvised music.

Doneda, Michael
Anatomie des clefs

Doneda, Michael: Anatomie des clefs (Potlatch)
Label: Potlatch    
Released in: France    

"Michel Doneda (born 1954) made his recording debut at the rather advanced age of 31. Not surprisingly, the Frenchman's soprano saxophone sounds remarkably assured on Terra (Nato, 1985), though in its multiphonic circumrotations we can still perceive the influence of Evan Parker's legendary, one-man polyphony of split tones, drones and overtones, seamlessly sustained by circular breathing. However, by 1991 Doneda's parkerisms had become noticeably fewer, L'Elementaire Sonore (In Situ) announcing a solo improvisor of great clarity, subtlety and timbral invention.

Eclipses, a solo project recorded in 1992 (issued by Poil in 1994) inside the resonant ambience of a former vermicelli factory, accompanied by the hazy roar of nearby river Tarn, fully revealed the potency of Doneda's imagination, which had begun to surface on trio recordings (on In Situ) with Lê Quan Ninh, Daunik Lazro and Dominique Regef, where various traditional musics had provided the touchstone for extraordinarily atmospheric improvisations. Doneda's soprano was now making connections with ancient non-western wind instruments like the shenai, shakuhachi and sho, while also suggesting european renaissance woodwinds like the shawm and crumhorn. Above all Eclipses showcased his ability to evoke a mysterious, primordial energy through a sensitive use of inventive extended playing techniques. This strange and compelling confluence of the ancient and modern has made Michel Doneda one of improv's most original voices.

And so to Anatomie des clefs, arguably Doneda's most intensive investigation of the soprano to date. Here we can savour his mastery of the art of solo improvisation. Derek Bailey speaks of a "panic of loneliness" which can descend upon the anxious soloist. Not so with Doneda; for these three lenghty improvisations are wonderfully paced, characterised by an authoritative sense of purpose and direction. Never merely a parade of unusual techniques, they flow with an organic necessity. Notice in Creux actif how he deftly returns time and again to the sound of tremulous air passing through the body of the instrument - a kind of serene, almost pastoral, reference point against which the more agitated, bestial sounds are measured. In contrast, Bloc d'air skilfully maintains a mood of querulous tension, offering us only the briefest moments of release as its closing, strident sustained tones dip and die away. Like its predecessors, Portées divisées specialises in sounds of indefinite pitch, sounds of both scabrous intensity and wispy fragility, asking us to be attentive to the subtlest details of their textural gradations.

With Anatomie des clefs Michel Doneda continues to extend the sonic capabilities of the soprano saxophone and, in the process, confirms his position as one of the most important and exciting performers of improvised music."-Chris Blackford

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related

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Price: $17.95
In Stock


Shipping Weight: 5.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

UPC: 3436471165431

Label: Potlatch
Catalog ID: P598
Squidco Product Code: 12521

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 1998
Country: France
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded on winter 1998 by Jean Pallandre.


Michel Doneda

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Track Listing:

1. Creux actif 31:02

2. Bloc d'air 16:18

3. Portées divisées 26:38