The Squid's Ear Magazine

Guionnet, Jean-Luc  / Dan Warburton / Eric La Casa: Metro Pre saint-Gervais (Swarming)

A reissue of the 2002 Chloe label album, where Jean Luc Guionnet on alto saxophone, Dan Warburton on violin, and Eric La Casa on microphones use the ambiance of the Paris Pre Saint-Gervais metro station as the starting point for free improvisations, using their surrounding as inspiration while they record a most unusual album of urban sound and discourse.

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Jean-Luc Guionnet-alto saxophone

Dan Warburton-violin

Eric La Casa-microphones

Click an artist name above to see in-stock items for that artist.

UPC: 9782955958131

Label: Swarming
Catalog ID: 2018 009
Squidco Product Code: 26526

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: France
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded in the Pre Saint-Gervais metro station, in Paris, France, on July 10th and 11th, 2001.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"This release has its unique point: the research of acoustic space of the subway station in Paris. There were some traditional instruments used (violin and sax), but the major part of the acoustic space is occupied by vehicles, movements and humans walking here and there. There are even some dialogues (between musicians and passengers?) If you are interested, I can tell you that I hardly can imagine all this situation.

In Moscow, a city with more than 15 million residents, there is absolutely no escape from the crowd and especially in the subway, people get a move on and scurry about in all directions, just like in an ant hill. There are also some street musicians, but they frankly have a different repertoire...

Well, back to music, it's haunting and lost in its timeless beauty. Both long tracks sometimes reach the point where the instruments sounding like the amplified squeak of train brake shoes or moving stairways, strained to infinity. It make me feel that instruments are merging into environment sounds and bulding strange combinations you can't identify. It seems that the purpose of musicians was, to dissolve completely in the vast subway space, and you see they were really succeed with it.

I think it's the merit of Eric La Casa's unique approach to the environmental recordings - you may be familiar with him since his old band Syllyk. Now, he has devoted himself completely to field recordings, mostly natural. He is an aural photographer of the certain locations, and his main instrument is the microphone, as the performers of his music are water, wind, stones and trees. Dan Warburton plays violin and is going to release "Basement Tapes" album on David Tibet's Durtro imprint, with percussionist Edward Perraud and free jazz legend Arthur Doyle. Jean- Luc Guionnet has contributed to plenty of projects as composer and instrumentalist, the styles of his works range from jazz to radio-performance. As far I know, this is their debut collaboration, and it should appeal to those who like to travel sitting in their armchairs at home.

As you might guess from the title, this was recorded in a Paris Metro station one night in July 2001 by violinist and Wire contributor Dan Warburton, alto saxophonist Jean-Luc Guionnet and microphonist Eric La Casa. This "environmental" music makes an interesting (and beautiful) study in advanced counterpoint: a counterpoint of proximities whose reverberant characters announce themselves subliminally yet resoundingly, and the temporal counterpoint between the slow, patient music makers and the spasmodic infusions of commuters and the trains that disgorge them.

The first piece is like an overture, introducing us to the sound characters and themes which are fully developed in the main movement. Morton Feldman's ghost hovers for some fifteen minutes, as Warburton continually bows a low A on his violin while Guionnet repeats a multiphonic figure. At the 20 minute mark a train comesin and whooshes all that away, and the calm departs. La Casa parks himself under a nasty buzz, the musicians evaporate into whispers and clicks, and then a raft of industrial noises floods the chamber. The train pulls away and Guionnet very cleverly retreats with it, while slap-tongueing Gustaffson-like thuds. Warburton goes nuts, flinging harmonic filigrees, a troupe of thrushes dancing on his strings.

Near the very end the automated announcement reprises, and one realizes what would in real-time have been a tedious wait for a train has been filled by the apparition of these soundspaces in the tunnels, filling the dead time with a poetry of echoes, ghosts, vapors wafting away into the cool Paris night."-Tom Djll, The Wire

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Artist Biographies

"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 (

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

"Dan Warburton was born in 1963 in Rochdale, England. He began studying violin at the age of 7, and piano four years later. With a North West Arts scholarship, he studied violin, piano, and composition (classes of Petr Eben and Dorothy Pilling) at the Royal Northern College of Music Junior School, Manchester. He also worked with composer Derek Bourgeois and percussionist Ian Wright at the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, whose musicians created "Music for Ten Percussionists" in 1980.

In 1981 he received a scholarship (Entrance Scholarship) to study music at Gonville and Caius College Cambridge, where he worked with Robin Holloway. His composition "I Will Not Lose Control", written for Peter Wiegold and Gemini, won the North West Young Composers Competition in 1982 and was performed throughout the North of England. In 1984, his music for "The Merry Wives of Windsor" (Shakespeare) won the Best Music Award at the National Student Drama Festival, at the end of a tour in five European countries with the Cambridge European Theater group.

He graduated with First Class Honors in 1984, earning him a Senior Scholarship in Caius to prepare his Master of Philosophy (Musical Composition), which he obtained in 1985. The same year he was awarded the prestigious Harkness Fellowship of the Commonwealth Fund of New York, which allows him to prepare his Doctor of Philosophy (Musical Composition) at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York, from 1986 to 1987, where he works with Robert Morris, Warren Benson and Allan Schindler. In 1986, in New York City, he worked with Steve Reich on an analysis of his "Sextet" for his doctoral thesis.

In 1987, "Modern Dreams / Ancient Nightmares", his poetry / music / video collaboration with Fred Goodwin, went to Riverside Studios, Hammersmith. Warburton obtained his doctorate in 1987 and moved to Paris in 1988, where he worked as a radio presenter, translator (IRCAM, Radio France) and professor at the IACP (Institute Art Culture Perception). In 1992 he won the Lili Boulanger International Prize for Composition (University of Boston), for his compositions "Small Animals", "Littoral" and "New Mexico Disco Project". In 1996, his ballet "Crime Caramel" with The Mireille Barlet Company shot in several cities in the south of France. He is a reporter for The Wire (London), Signal To Noise (USA) and for the internet magazine and has written songs for the Newt Hinton Ensemble in The Netherlands, as well as The Composers Ensemble ("Splinters for Misha", created in Dartington, where Warburton works as Affiliate Lecturer in Music since 2005), and soprano Ann Liebeck ("Four Beckett Songs", premiered at Wigmore Hall, London, 1997). Dan Warburton also plays keyboards with the Sons Traques and Return of the New Thing groups (albums on Leo, Ayler and Not Two). He also plays with Bruno Meillier (album "Cho", SMI NM 212) in duo "Rats" with Edward Perraud (Textile, Vynile Series 08, LP), in trio with Jac Berrocal and Aki Onda, in the group Po-Go with Pascal Battus, Frederic Blondy, Bertrand Gauguet."

-Dan Warburton Website (Translated by Google) (

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

"968: Born in Tours, France.
1987-91: Studied history of art (University of La Sorbonne, Paris).
1988: Starting sound experiments.

Since 1991: Sound artist.

(award: Festival "Soundscape before 2000")

- tape music composer
A research based on the landscape, its sound substances, its inner language, within a sensitive listening of the world.
[7 solo CDs, many CDs compilations : Japan, Germany, Taiwan, usa...]
+ Previous releases CD:
L'empreinte de l'ivresse (Digital Narcis Ltd, Japan), The Stone of the Threshold (The Ground Fault, Usa).
+ New CD (October 2000): Les Pierres du seuil part 4-7.

- "sound plastician"
(sound environments and installations: Clepsydre, Chute, mi-lieu...)
A research dedicated to the concept: the place - the sound/one place - one work.

- radio producer

(sound essays for the national radio program ACR-France Culture)
New work: Vent sur Ecoute (dedicated to the wind).
Work in progress: Ward Weis (a portrait of this sound artist).

Since 1996: Journalist for the french magazine of new musics: Revue et Corrigée.

Interviews with Pierre Marietan, Claude Schryer, Eric Cordier, Yann Paranthoën, Cédric Peyronnet, René Farabet, Slavek Kwi, Jocelyn Robert, Jean-Luc Guionnet,...
1989-1998: Director of La Légende des voix (label of experimental music).

10 releases (Arsenije Jovanovic, Jim O'Rourke, Syllyk, ...)"

-Kunstradio (

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

Track Listing:

1. Untitled 20:25

2. Untitled 43:25

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Electro-Acoustic Improv
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms

Search for other titles on the label:

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