Saturday, October 14, 2006

Audiofocus 2.0 : Thomas Charmetant Solo


Day 2 of the Audiofocus festival was a very controversial experience for me due to the degradation of the local playing conditions compared to day 1.
In general there is always the sound of a loud buzzing fridge that the venue refuses to turn down, but on this day you had to add the constant sound of a drummer rehearsing binary rythm in the neighboring room (!!!!). For those of you who know the high level of focused listening to apreciate and grasp the full extent of these kind of sound creations it's no surprise that a constant muted drummer spoils the whole experience of abstraction into sound, breaks all possibilities of a true silence and destroys subtle low volume textures. The Mains d'Oeuvres venue is for me a place to avoid at all cost as I had these kind of events everytime I went there (unless you are inclined to like a Burckhard Beins solo mixed with an electric bassist rehearsing Nirvana lines for example). The manager of the venue has no decency or respect for the artists (some of which travelled a long way to get there), trashes all possibilities to complain, and almost despises them when he himself complains because someone disturbed a dance rehearsal by doing the mistake of taking a wrong turn and going into the wrong door (a disturbance that barely took a few seconds to disappear while we had to endure the binary rythm and the fridge buzz throughout). I felt the musicians where being insulted and equally myself as an audience.
However just before the drummer started his lonely next door show, we had the chance to calmly listen to Thomas Charmetant playing a cello solo. I've known Thomas for quite some time now and a trio with Christine and him was one of my first ever bands and gigs in Paris. But for me on this day was his best performance ever (that I saw of course). Very clear start, with simple gestures producing a fantastic acoustic drone. He then moved to a very intuitive approach to improv, moving from one sound to the other, superposing ideas, producing circular gestures that slowly evolve with time, keeping it very simple and clear. Absolutely no cello clich├ęs. An overall very courageous improvisation stance that we rarely see in a solo setting, at least not with such efficiency.

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