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Doneda, Michel / Le Quan Ninh: Thirty Ways To Avoid Talking (Relative Pitch)

French free improvising soprano saxophonist Michel Doneda, using profoundly unusual techniques on the reed instrument, meets percussionist Le Quan Ninh, performing on "surrounded bass drum", a large drum affected by various objects across the skin, for 5 dialogs at Montreuil-sous-Bois, France, and then joined by noh theater drummer Shunichiro Hisada in Tokyo's Shushinkan Hall.

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product information:

UPC: 5902249001679

Label: Relative Pitch
Catalog ID: RPR 1084
Squidco Product Code: 27793

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2019
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Tracks 1-5 recorded at Instants Chavires, in Montreuil-sous-Bois, France, on June 6th, 2017, by Benjamin Pagier.

Track 6 recorded at Shushinkan Hall, in Kobe, Japan, on july 14th, 2017, by Mai Saitoh.


Michel Doneda-soprano saxophone

Le Quan Ninh-surrounded bass drum

Shunichiro Hisada-Tzuzumi, voice

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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 (

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"As a classical trained percussionist, Lê Quan Ninh worked with contemporary music ensembles and was a founder member of Quatuor Hêlios (1986-2012), a percussion quartet that performed and recorded, among others, John Cage's percussion works. Their last creation was Seul à Seuls by Georges Aperghis premiered in late 2006 at the Musica Festival in Strasbourg (France).

As an improvisor, he participates at numerous meetings in Europe and in North America and plays regularly in ensembles in forms that mix improvised acoustic & electroacoustic music, 'performance art', dance, poetry, experimental cinema, photography and video.

With the cellist Martine Altenburger, he founded in 2006 the ensemble]h[iatus, a contemporary music ensemble whose its members are at the same time interpreters and improvisers. They commissioned pieces to the composers Vinko Globokar, Peter Jakober, Steffen Krebber, Jennifer Walshe and Anthony Pateras

His discography counts about 40 CD on european and north american labels. The last release (Aplomb, 2015) is a duet with his long term colleague Michel Doneda.

In 2014, he publishes the translation of his book Improvising Freely. The ABCs of an Experience (previously published in french)."

-Le Quan Ninh Website (

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Shunichiro Hisada is a drummer, known for his work as a Japanese noh musician for traditional Japanese theater. He has recorded with Syunchan, Shunichiro Hisada, Tetsu Saitoh, Kazue Sawai, Masanori Hoashi, and Nozomu Machinaga.

-Squidco 5/18/2022

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track listing:

1. Thirty Ways Of Undoing 6:02

2. Following 29 And Preceding 31 8:48

3. The Smallest Spheric Number 12:03

4. Zn 3:36

5. Triacontagon 10:26

6. Thirty Ways To Avoid Talking 8:07
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

Two concert locations for French free improvising soprano saxophonist Michel Doneda and classically trained percussionist Le Quan Ninh. The first location is Instants Chavires, in Montreuil-sous-Bois, France for five free dialogs of profoundly unusual technique and patient pacing. Le Quan Ninh uses a "surrounded bass drum", a large floor drum with which he rubs and coerces unusual sonic events from the heads and frame. Doneda coaxes strange harmonics from the reeds, flutters and an extended language of quick detail and long timbre. The two are intently listening as they develop their meticulous conversation. The second concert is in Kobe, Japan at Shushinkan Hall, adding Japanese noh theater drummer Shunichiro Hisada performing on the traditional Tzuzumi, and also sing/speaking. The latter, from which the album receives its title, adds a dramatic flair of ritual and narrative to their playing, all three responding as they create their unique audio environments. Absolutely impressive.

This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
The Squid's Ear!
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Duo Recordings
Trio Recordings
Unusual Vocal Forms

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