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Doneda, Michael: Anatomie des clefs (Potlatch)

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.

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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 in Cordes, France, in the Winter of 1998, by Jean Pallandre.


Michel Doneda-soprano saxophone

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Artist Biographies:

"Michel Doneda (F) soprano saxophone, born in 1954, comes from the French South-West. He is a self-taught musician.

In 1980 he founded in Toulouse a reed trio: HIC ET NUNC, a group that toured quite a lot in France, playing mostly improvised music. At the same time he founded with musicians, dancers and actors a place called IREA (Institute for research and exchange between arts of improvisation).

In the following years, he participated in music projects with other artists and he became a regular guest of the Chantenay-Villedieu festival. Meeting other artists he developed a very personal approach with his music and his instrument in improvised music. During this period he played with Europeans musicians: Fred Van Hove, Phil Wachsmann, Max Eastley, Steve Beresford and Americans: John Zorn, Eliott Sharp, Elvin Jones

In 1985 he made his first record under his own name: TERRA (Nato record). At the same time he started playing regurlarly with Lê Quan Ninh, Daunik Lazro, Benat Achiary, Martine Altenburger, Barre Phillips, Paul Rogers, Tetsu Saitoh, Kazue Sawai. More recently he developed his work with Keith Rowe, Gunter Muller, Bhob Rainey, Giuseppe Ielasi and dancers as Masaki Iwana, Yukiko Nakamura, Valérie Métivier and poets, actors.

Since then, he has been very involved in the international improvised music scene, toured in Africa, Japan, Asia, USA, Canada, South America, Russia and with a lot of improvisers in Europe. In 1992 he founded in Toulouse with musicians, actors, poets, dancers the association: La Flibuste. As of today he recorded almost 50 records for European, Americans and Japanese labels."

-Timeart Ensemble Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.
track listing:

1. Creux actif 31:02

2. Bloc d'air 16:18

3. Portees Divisees 26:38
descriptions, reviews, &c.

"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 Improvisation and Experimental Forms

Other Releases With These Artists:
Recommended & Related Releases:
Doneda, Michel / Frederic Blondy / Tetsu Saitoh
Spring Road 16
(Relative Pitch)
Bosetti / Doneda / Rainey
Places dans l'air
Sawai, Kazue / Michel Doneda / Kazuo Imai / Le Quan Ninh / Tetsu Saitoh
Une chance pour l'ombre
(Les Disques Victo)
Other Recommended Releases:
Studio Dan / Michel Doneda
Fanfare III
Battus, Pascal / Michel Doneda
Doneda, Michel
(Tour de Bras)
Doneda, Michel / Le Quan Ninh
Thirty Ways To Avoid Talking
(Relative Pitch)
Frith, Fred / Michel Doneda

Doneda, Michel
Everybody Digs Michel Doneda
(Relative Pitch)
Doneda, Michel / Joris Ruhl
(Umlaut Records)
300 Basses (Monteiro / Kocher / Venitucci)
Sei Ritornelli

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