Lieux Communs : Axel Dörner & Robin Hayward
The first of three days I will attend at Instants Chavirés in Montreuil, part of their annual "Lieux Communs" event that lasts a whole month.
There was 2 concerts on that day the first of which was a duo of Axel Dörner on trumpet and Robin Hayward on tuba. Extremely low volume breath sounds, a whole catalogue: wind, rifles, whistling, percussive, cyclic, whispering, gurgling, high, low... sometimes barely audible, played with utmost precision with a predominance of silence. I counted exactly two single tones throughout the 40 minute set. At points the music would densinfy, or Hayward would burst into a more typical tuba register but always very briefly, stopping as suddenly as he emerged. Dörner is a true landmark of precision and clarity, every idea he plays is clear as ice, for me surely one of the best players as his vocabulary is absolutely unique and his intentions always find their way through.
Sadly I think this music needs some very special conditions to reach its full potential, since the beauty of it lies in the quasi-atomic details of the sound that requires an immediacy of the source/ear relation which did not work in my case. My biggest mistake was to sit in the back of the room. The other factor is inherent to the venue where I believe it is a bad choice to play on stage, specially for the very low volume improvisation, I would highly recommend using the center of the room with the back against the left side wall. Due to the odd shape of the stage section there is a tendency of the sound to stay built-in the immediate surroundings of the musicians with an invisible acoustic wall screening the sound from the nearby audience.
On another level I could experience a mixture of the duo with the noise of about 50 people trying to remain silent but occasionally releasing a muted caugh or repositioning themselves on their seats as well as a multitude of assorted sound of micro movements of keys, glasses, digi-cams (including mine)... I have to admit that I specially enjoy this kind of ambient listening.