The Squid's Ear Magazine

Denzler, Bertrand : Arc (Potlatch)

Created by Felicie Bazelaire, CoO is a string ensemble drawn from the French new music ensemble ONCEIM; CoO develops new repertoire for strings, collaborating with composers like Bertrand Denzler, who wrote this innovative composition "Arc" in two parts, a work applying unusual techniques to bowed strings, particularly lower bass tones, for fascinating results.

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product information:

UPC: 34915700033428

Label: Potlatch
Catalog ID: P119
Squidco Product Code: 27620

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2019
Country: France
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at La Muse en Circuit, in Paris, France, on May 25th, 2018, by Camille Lezer.


Bertrand Denzler-composer

Patricia Bosshard-violin

Cyprien Busolini-alto saxophone

Elodie Gaudet-alto saxophone

Anais Moreau-cello

Felicie Bazelaire-double bass

Benjamin Duboc-double bass

Fred Marty-double bass

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Sample The Album:

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Created by Felicie Bazelaire, CoO is a string ensemble bringing together string players of ONCEIM. CoO aims to build new directions in instrument research, and create a new repertoire for bowed strings. Felicie Bazelaire works with musicians who are composers and improvisers such as Bertrand Denzler with this composition Arc. The fruitful collaboration between musicians and composer helps to organize new ways of playing, and produce minimalist and innovative forms. Score gives priority to specific techniques applied to bowed strings, allowing musicians to experiment rich material, and focus on collective sound potentials."-Potlatch

"This release is particularly welcome as Potlatch Records has not released an album since Infra by Pascale Criton, in September 2017. As the label issued its first album-No Waiting, by Derek Bailey & Joëlle Léandre-in 1998, this is an opportunity to mark the ground-breaking label's twentieth anniversary, and send congratulations to proprietor Jacques Oger. It is fitting that an album featuring Bertrand Denzler marks the occasion, as he has been a Potlatch regular, in various guises.

Recently, saxophonist Denzler has gradually been transforming from performer (as on his 2011 Potlatch solo album Tenor ) to performer/composer (the 2015 Confront release Morph with ONCEIM) to composer (the 2018 Confront Collector Series album Basse Seule , written by Denzler, performed solo by bassist Félicie Bazelaire).

Although the cover of Arc credits Bertrand Denzler / CoÔ, its music was written by Denzler and performed by the seven-member CoÔ, which consists of the bowed strings from ONCEIM (l'Orchestre de Nouvelles Créations, Expérimentations et Improvisation Musicales, incidentally), including the septet's founder Bazelaire as one of its three double basses, alongside a cello, a violin and two violas. So, after writing for one bass on Basse Seule Denzler has now written for seven strings. The music here consists of the eighteen-minute "Arc 1.1" and the twenty-three minute "Arc 2.1."

Straight from the start of "Arc 1.1" it is clear that we are not in conventional string quartet territory, nor in that of improvising string ensembles such as Stellari String Quartet or Barrel. Having seven stringed instruments, in particular those three double basses, gives a rich, bottom-heavy soundscape which resembles that of an orchestra more than a quartet or trio. Denzler's compositions exploit those characteristics to the full. Although Basse Seule consisted mainly of a series of short études for bass, with a couple of longer pieces, the two Arc tracks have the same composer's fingerprints on them. Both make extensive use of long arco bass notes which never approach drone territory, but serve to underpin the music.

"Arc 1.1" consists of eighteen pieces ranging in length from thirty to seventy-five seconds, most being around fifty seconds long. The pieces are separated by breaks and so stand alone, although employing similar sounds. They are not particularly melodic, sounding as if they were written for dramatic effect, occasionally employing extended playing techniques to achieve this. The overall impression is like a cinematic soundtrack where short bursts of music fit particular scenes; in this case, given the album cover's beautiful spacey images, the appropriate scenes might involve the aliens' mother ship hovering just above a terrified city while the inhabitants anxiously wait to learn their fate...

In contrast, "Arc 2.1" consists of two extended pieces of about eleven minutes each, separated by a short break. Their lengths give the composer and performers a larger canvas to work with and they fully exploit that; in particular, the violin, violas and cello are far more in evidence, their parts being well-framed by the ever-present basses. As before, long arco notes prevail and merge together to amply fill the soundscape, creating rich, relaxing music in which it is very easy to drift off and lose oneself; this would be the ideal musical accompaniment to lying on one's back on a warm summer's evening and gazing up at the heavens, free of alien mother ships, of course. Exquisite. (Try it as you listen to the YouTube sample of the piece, below.)

On this showing, we must hope that Denzler continues to expand his composing activities... without abandoning his playing, of course."-John Eyles, All About Jazz

Get additional information at All About Jazz

Artist Biographies

"Bertrand Denzler is a tenor saxophone player. He has played in Europe and Latin America both as a solo act and with musicians such as Xavier Charles, Peter Frils Nielsen, Jean-Luc Guionnet, Barry Guy, Ninh Lê Quan, Urs Leimgruber, Günter Müller, Bob Ostertag, Norbert Pfammatter, Hasse Poulsen, Mark Sanders, Mathieu Werchowski, and Otomo Yoshihide. He is a member of the groups Hubbub, Nanocluster, Laps, Denzler-Mariage, A3/1, and Chamaeleo Vulgaris. He has put out a number of compact discs on various labels." (

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"Patricia Bosshard is a composer and violonist from Lausanne in Switzerland, having a musical background both in jazz as well as in electronics. Besides numerous gigs in the free impro-scene as soloist, with small groups or in big orchestras (ONCEIM, IMO), she collaborates with the video artist Nicolas Wintsch, composes orchestral music for film and for contemporary ensembles. She produced the acoustic signals for the Metro M2 in Lausanne. Winner of the Luffʼs price with Simon Grab with the MRI project, electronicmusic with MRI sounds. Artist resident at the Steim in 2012, working on a sensorbow. Her language elaborates a very fine listening into the sound."

-Ausland (

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"Cyprien Busolini: violist Born in 1978. After classical studies of viola, Cyprien Busolini focuses mainly on contemporary repertoire and improvisation. He obtained a first viola prize at the CNR Rueil-Malmaison in the class of Françoise Gneri, then he perfected with P.Faure and P.H.Xuereb. His great interest in contemporary music and especially new works allows him to work with many composers like L.Naon, HULehmann, T.Johnson, JLGuionnet ... He has also played or created some of their solo pieces or sets. Improvisation allows him to work on other sound fields and to explore his instrument in a more personal way, notably on non-melodic and non-harmonic parameters but more focused on the matter of sound. Regularly, he works with dancers, actors, either in improvisation or for shows whose musical part he elaborates. On the other hand, he occasionally runs improvisation workshops for children. He currently plays in different ensembles, Dedalus, Onceim, and various groups of improvisation as well as in the whole Fratres, old music ensemble on old instruments. He has made several solo or Dedalus ensemble recordings, the Diagonal ensemble, but also with Garth Knox and various improvisational discs."

-Cyprien Busolini Website (Translated by Google) (

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"Anaïs Moreau - cello - Graduated from the Royal College of Music in London ; plays with Nomos, Laborintus, IMPACT, WARN!NG ; works with various composers such as Tomas Bordalejo, Stefano Bonilauri, François Rossé etc ; teaches cello at the Pantin conservatory."

-Onceim (

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"Felicie Bazelaire is a cello and double bass player based in Paris. She shares her time in different ways : between concerts and performances, studying pedagogy through a Masters degree at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris, and teaching at the Orsay and Auxerre's conservatory. She is interested in classical music (chamber music) and contemporary music with her solo projects (improvisation, compositions, performances/actions...), the Hodos ensemble and the ONCEIM (a french improvised large orchestra led by Frederic Blondy). She is curious about the link between musicians, composers, improvisers and the actual music."

-Ausland (

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"Benjamin Duboc is a very strong voice on double bass, born 1969, studied with JF Jenny-Clark & Bernard Cazauran, and has played with many great musicians (as Ernest Dawkins, Bertrand Denzler, Roy Campbell, Jean-Luc Cappozzo, Sabir Mateen, Byard Lancaster, Daniel Erdmann, Abdelahaï Bennani, Michel Doneda, Daunik Lazro, Sunny Murray, John Betsch...). And also with Henry Grimes for a great duet in Paris. He leads the "Nuts" quintet with Itaru Oki & Rasul Siddik on trumpets, & Makoto Sato & Didier Lasserre on drums. He plays in "The fish" with Jean-Luc Guionnet on alto sax & Edward Perraud on drums (double cd on Ayler Records) and Rocks in the Sea with Mario Rechtern, Eric Zinman and Didier Lasserre. Benjamin has a beautiful and big sound, you really feel the ground while hearing him... it's somethin' ! He also is recorded on Amor Fati, Futura Marge, Creative sources, le petit label, sansbruit."

-Benjamin Duboc Website (

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"Fred Marty was born in Blaye (Gironde) in 1970. After studying classical bass studies, he devoted his work to improvisation and experimentation of various game modes on bass. He strives to develop a personal language, inspired by everyday sounds, making some forget the bass itself (distorted sounds, harmonics "gaps" in incomplete or misleading spectrum percussion sounds without specific height, sounds The rubbing of the fingers or the hand on the body of the double bass). He also modifies the timbre by inserting between ropes of wooden or metal rods. Each part of the body of the double bass becomes an instrument of its own.

Thus, co-creation he also collaborated in multidisciplinary projects combining dance, music, and video playback, including Anne Ropers collective recidiva in UNICA, a project calling itself "night moves" around the collection of poems of the same Title of Henri Michaux, or with Bérengère Altieri-Leca in the duo OKAMI.

Fred Marty has played with Yuko Oshima, Ai Watanabe, Birgitte Lyregaard, Yoko Arai, Frederic Blondy, Edward Perraud, Itaru Oki, Claude Speaks, Xavier Lopez, Michel Doneda Sebastien Bouhana, Marcos Fernandes, Usui Yasuhiro, Alvise Sinivia Michael Nick, Daunik Lazro, Isabelle Duthoit, Benoit Cancoin, Matsumoto Kenichi, Jean Marc Foussat, Yoko Arai, Eric Dambrin John Cuny, Jean Brice Godet, Alexandre Bellenger, Nush Werchowska Mathieu Garrouste Pascal Marzan, Cyprien Busolini, Nicolas Souchal, Deborah Walker, Patricia Bosshard, Jean-Marc Foussat, Yoko Miura, Francesco Pastacaldi Richard Comte, Hideo Ikegami, Ugo Boscain and works with dancers of butoh Gyouhei Zaitsu, Maki Watanabe and dancer Bérengère Altieri-Leca.

Since 2012 he is a member of ONCEIM, an orchestra conducted by Frédéric Blondy."

-Fred Marty Website translated by Google (

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Track Listing:

1. Arc 1.1 17:57

2. Arc 2.1 23:05

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Stringed Instruments
Septet recordings
Compositional Forms
New in Compositional Music

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