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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Potlatch - June 2007 Sale

:: from their website ::

Potlatch est un label français indépendant qui enregistre les artistes les plus représentatifs de la musique librement improvisée.

Potlatch is a french independent label working with significant performers of free improvised music.Potlatch means an old ceremony (in indian tribes) studied by famous anthropologist Marcel Mauss (who wrote L'Essai sur le Don in 1925).

Le terme “potlatch” est utilisé par les ethnologues pour désigner diverses cérémonies ostentatoires et dispendieuses donnant lieu à des festivités, à des déclarations publiques, ainsi qu’à des distributions et des destructions de biens. Cette pratique courante des tribus indiennes du nord-ouest américain a été étudiée par Marcel Mauss qui a mis en avant l’un de ses fondements : l’obligation de donner, celle de recevoir et celle de rendre encore plus. Son ouvrage L’Essai sur le Don (publié en 1925) connut un grand retentissement et eut une influence certaine sur – entre autre – Claude Lévi-Strauss et Georges Bataille.

«La vertu exemplaire du potlatch est donnée dans cette possibilité pour l’homme de saisir ce qui lui échappe, de conjuguer les mouvements sans limite de l’univers avec la limite de ce qui lui appartient.» Georges Bataille, La Part Maudite

:: the sale ::

During the month of june 2007 :
Special sale on the whole catalog : each single CD is at 12 euros and double CD at 15 euros (Fred Van Hove - Flux).
Free shipping.

:: soon out of print ::

Potlatch P201 - The Contest of Pleasures (John Butcher, Xavier Charles, Axel Dörner)
Potlatch P498 - Hauts Plateaux (Daunik Lazro & Carlos Zingaro)
Potlatch P2398 - Flux (Fred Van Hove) (Double CD)
Potlatch P401 - rouge gris bruit (Sophie Agnel, Lionel Marchetti, Jérôme Noetinger)

:: my modest reviews ::

Derek Bailey / Joëlle Léandre - No Waiting (P198)

The first release, and already one of the best, in my opinion. A true meeting of spirits, Bailey and Léandre interact at the highest level and create music of deep beauty. (It evades me anyway why beauty is not one of the words most often associated with the late great Derek Bailey's music, at least with his many solo outings. And I'm not just speaking of "Ballads", his great standards album on Tzadik, but also his earlier solo stuff, such as "Domestic and Public Pieces" or "Improvisation" from the 70s.)Bailey being to me a pivotal solo artist (I know, I know, Company, SME, etc., but the solos is just what I love most!) really gets into a dialogue with Léandre here, much more so than with Lacy (P299) they seem to connect with each other and the outcome is quite astonishing. Highly recommended! (also to weak-hearted...)

Daunik Lazro / Carlos Alves "Zingaro" - Hauts Plateaux (P498)

The highlight among the eight Potlatch discs I've known for a while now! Act quick as it's about to go out of print! Four stunning free improvisations recorded in 1995 at "Cité de la Musique" in Marseille. One of the very best discs of freely improvised music I've ever heard, highly recommended!

PS: on hatOLOGY, there's another stunning and highly recommended Zingaro duo available, that one with Peggy Lee on cello.

Derek Bailey / Steve Lacy - Outcome (P299)

The second of Potlatch's Derek Bailey offerings, this isn't as good as their first, alas. It's much more about Steve Lacy who is in stunning form on several of these five "Inputs" recorded at 28 rue Dunois in Paris, in 1983. Bailey plays more of a background and accompanying role here and there's little in the direction of a real musical dialogue. Still, the results of this meeting are worth hearing, though much more for Steve Lacy's meandring lines.

Evan Parker / Keith Rowe - Dark Rags (P200)

Another one consisting of two long improvisations (37 and 40 minutes), recorded in Nantes at New Year's Eve 1999/2000. This is another strong duo recording with Keith Rowe providing mostly electronic sounds and Evan Parker sticking to tenor throughout, which is great, as I much prefer Parker on tenor of late (there's much less of the sameness making his soprano circular breathing so boring after 5 minutes). As the title says, this is rather dark music, fragmented music, music of tiny moments. There are many glimpses of beauty in there, making this another rewarding listen.

John Butcher / Xavier Charles / Axel Dörner - The Contest of Pleasures (P201)

This disc releases the live set of the great trio's set at the 2000 edition of Jazz à Mulhouse. This is again exemplary free improv - what else to expect with John Butcher and Axel Dörner aboard! I am less familiar with Xavier Charles, though, but he certainly holds his own in this fast company. Dörner is one of the most introspective musicians I've ever saw live (with Die Enttäuschung's project "Monk's Casino" featuring Alexander von Schlippenbach), often just blowing air through his horn, and producing minimal sounds, rather than actually blowing in a conventional way. Butcher is a monster player - likely the most controlled, in-command of his instrument sax player around, able to make audible the tiniest nuances... In short: impressive musicians, pretty fine disc - recommended!

Daunik Lazro / Carlos Zingaro / Joëlle Léandre / Paul Lovens - Madly You (P102)

Defninitely not for the weak-minded and faint-hearted! Two long (40 and 20 minutes, roughly) improvisations recorded at the Banlieues Bleues festival in 2001. Lazro is on baritone sax for long stretches and Léandre does some of her crazy vocalizing. This is a great chance to catch four great improvisers at the top of their game, creating wild and extremely strong music - some might say it's dark music. This is one to crank the volume up and try and cope with what one is hearing - not an easy thing, in fact I found it quite exhausting, but finally a great and rewarding kind of exhaustion!

Frédéric Blondy / Lê Quan Ninh - exaltatio utriusque mundi (P203)

This is one of the strongest discs, in both the meaning of rating, as well as in its impact on the listener... Lê Quan Ninh, who plays a big tom standing in front of him, treating it with different sticks, with cymbals, little instruments, etc. is one of the most astonishing drummers to experience live. Once he gets started, he's in a state of constant controlled frenzy (I had the luck of seeing him with boring violinist Gunda Gottschalk and Chinese guzheng player Xu Fengxia at the 2003 edition of the Taktlos festival). Blondy seems to work generally under the influence of Cecil Taylor, being the weaker of the two partners here, but that may in fact be good, as it could easily get too much, having Lê Quan Ninh going apeshit AND having a strong duo partner! Highly recommended, but not for the soft-eared...

Stéphane Rives - Fibres (P303)

The most extreme of these eight discs... solo soprano saxophone, often played in the higher end of the spectrum of this high-pitched and often inconveniently-sounding, bitchy horn. Sometimes this music almost hurts the ears (and the mind, too!?), but in the end, if you can stand it, it's worth being heard! Rives mixes conventional playing with stuttering blowing sounds, creating totally abstract pieces of sound. Again, not for the faint-hearted and soft-eared!


Kreilly said...

Thanks for this reminder! I just ordered "Alibi Days" P205 and "The Big Misunderstanding Between Hertz and MegaHertz" P106.


ubu said...

Please let me know how P106 is! I wondered if I should throw it in the latest order but decided against it for now... too many unheard things lying around these days!

Kreilly said...

P106 is one of the more challenging Butcher titles for me. I definitely find it interesting on an intellectual level but I'll need to spend more time with it before I know if it is something I'll be returning to again and again. But this is what attracts me to Butcher, he consistently pushes me to reconsider and stretch my limits. No recognizeable "instruments" on this one but plenty of buzzing, popping and whirring (for lack of a better term). Actually at one point there seemed to be the vestige of a melody in one piece but it vanished so quickly I wondered if I was imposing it on the rhythmic sound bursts. If Butcher is a leader or co-leader, I think it's probably worth checking out. My two cents.

Thanks for the heads up on the sale.


ubu said...

Thanks Kevin - sounds indeed like a disc worth checking out!

Butcher to me (a struggling hobby sax player...) is indeed one of the most in-command of his horns player I ever heard!