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Gauguet, Bertrand: Shiro (Herbal International)

French alto saxophonist Bertrand Gauguet uses acoustic techniques and microtonal approaches to the reed instrument, presenting 4 tracks of acoustic-only playing, and 4 with amplifiers and guitar feedback, creating cogitative sonic environments of remarkable patience and pure and intersection tonal and timbral harmonics; remarkable work.

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product information:

Label: Herbal International
Catalog ID: 1405
Squidco Product Code: 24016

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2014
Country: Malaysia
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded in Guebwiller, France on july 19th, 2014m by Augustin Muller.


Bertrand Gauguet-alto saxophone

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Artist Biographies:

"Bertrand Gauguet is a musician trudging through a practice without hierarchy involving sound and music: as an improvising saxophonist, electronic music composer and as a sounds collector.

He plays since the early 2000s the alto saxophone in contexts of solo and group improvisation. His approach takes part in research on the technical areas of the instrument by which precise exploration of a sound language consists of materials produced by the breath, multiphonics and microphony.

Collaborations with John Tilbury, Robin Hayward, Franz Hautzinger, Xavier Charles, Sophie Agnel, Pascal Battus, Eric La Casa, Michel Doneda, Insub Meta Orchestra, Seijiro Murayama Tetuzi Akiyama, Toshimaru Nakamura, John Butcher, Axel Dörner, Isabelle Duthoit... Many festivals about new and experimental music (Europe, USA, Japan ...).

As an electronic music composer, he composes original music and original soundtracks with dance, movies and radio broadcast. He produced the LP The Torn Map in 2013.

In 2011, he was a resident of the villa Kujoyama in Kyoto. He studied the shakuhachi while learning to Honkyoku directory with Mr Yoshio Kurahashi.

Since 2004, he taught at the Haute Ecole des Arts du Rhin in the Sonic research program he co-founded in 2007. He leads the generative improvisation workshop at CFMI in Sélestat since 2012 and conducted educational workshops at the Cité de la Musique in Paris from 2002 to 2012."

-Bertrand Gauguet Website (

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track listing:

1. Le Temps De Sable Fin Chante Dans Mes Bras 6:46

2. Shiro 4:14

3. Yugen 14:08

4. Bloc Noir 2:56

5. Sabi 4:36

6. Jo-Ya-Kyu 7:18

7. Kuro 2:28

8. Anitya 7:02
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"For the past decade or so, French alto saxophonist Bertrand Gauguet has developed a reed strategy that involves hushed microtones, yet also uses amplifications to create a distinctive presence in group and/or solo situations. Following time in Japan studying the honkyoku repertoire, plus cementing links between improvising and meditation, Gauguet's expanded agenda is exhibited here. Ironically, except for volume, novel reed techniques have become so internalized, that he can produce uniformly consequential work with or without electronic saxophone extensions.

The differences among the eight solo tracks on Shiro for instance, lie more in what is being created rather than how. Consider, for instance the variances and consistency that exist between "Yügen", where the saxophone is amplified with feedback; and "Sabi", where the electro-augmentations come from a guitar amp; with "Jo-ha-kyü" and "Bloc noir" which are all-acoustic performances. Featuring loud, dissonant and disjointed timbres, the textures on "Sabi" could as easily have been produced by a guitar. But while that pumped-up program encompasses jet-plane-like buzzing and fuzzy oscillations, guttural reed tones may be non-specific, but preserve their identity. More crucially, there's an emphasis on breath control and chromatics remains on "Yügen", despite swelling flanges and intermittent pings take up most of the foreground. By the finale a secondary ghostly line plus buzzing feedback has been shoved sideways to create context for a distinct alto saxophone tone.

Lacking plug-ins, the all-acoustic "Bloc noir" still manages to willfully inflate the alto's sophisticated tone so that its parameters are undeniably established. The track also highlights Gauguet's facility as an acoustic reedist. As expressive, but likely amplified by placing a microphone in the saxophone bell "Jo-ha-kyü" is bellicose and stentorian. As staccato asides swell into harsh whistles and fire-bell-like timbres a narrative strategy that is also magisterial is delineated."-Ken Waxman, Jazzworld

"Heigh alto saxophone improvisations, four acoustic, four with feedback and/or guitar amp. The language that Gauguet employs is not anything particularly new in this field but the combination of precision, delicacy and sensitivity of sound placement is unusually fine, making the disc well worth hearing. The tracks with electronic enhancement recall, of course, players like Butcher in terms of technical approach but Gauguet reaches different levels of sublety and layered interaction-not better, just different, exposing his own personality. "Yungen", the longest piece here at 14 minustes, is a superb, calm variation on tone, the pitches drifting in and out, steadily, beautifully held, Gauguet letting things linger enough that you have the impression of a quiet, night environment with just the occasional breeze floating through. This album was conceived during a residency in Kyoto and the legacy of the shakuhachi seems clear, though Gauguet is never at all imitative. On "Sabi", he lets loose a bit, creating a work the listener might have attributed to someone working an electric guitar in Hendrix-feedback mode, resonating cavernously and very effective. But the larger portion of this disc contemplative, controlled and very strong, an excellent recording."-Brian Olewnick, Just Outside

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
European Improvisation and Experimental Forms
Recordings by or featuring Reed & Wind Players
Electro-Acoustic Improv
lowercase, reductionist, micro-improv, sound improv, onkyo sound
Solo Artist Recordings
Ambient & Minimal Music

Search for other titles on the label:
Herbal International.

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