Title: le fils de la prophetesse
: Bristophe
Release Date: 18 December 2013

Genre: Avant-garde / Experimental
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Label: Pan Y Rosas Discos

I actually received this release quite some time back, and have held back on reviewing this release.  Part of the reason was scheduling: with the holidays, an end of year wrap-up to do, and a marathon of a podcast show on the schedule, I knew it was going to be difficult to get it in the queue.

But there were also a couple of other reasons.  One: this is a massive release: a full two hours of music.  Two, this is a mostly atonal release.  Three, this is an improvisational release.

Now, I love this kind of music.  I’ve loved the works of John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen since I was in college some thirty years ago (and boy, does it hurt to admit that it’s been thirty years – it really only feels like it was five years ago).  But, this is where things become really complicated. How do you go about reviewing the works of John Cage or Karlheinz Stockhausen?  More to the point: how do you review such works without an academic frame of reference?

See, I have to admit to having forgotten a lot of the things that I studied in college, especially when it comes to avant-garde music.  These days, I tend to listen to atonal, abstract types of work when I feel like it, and I don’t really try to put too much thought into the process of making it, or the structure of the work, etc. Instead I prefer to just experience the work, imagine I was in the middle of an ensemble and reacting to the sounds that I heard all around me.

And, this release provides more than ample space for the listener to react.  Moving from passage to passage, some more calm and intricate, some containing a dense onslaught of thick textures exploring the top end of the dynamic range.  The one thing that definitely holds throughout this work is Bristophe is a duo that has finely honed their ability to listen to each other, and dynamically adjust to each other’s movement and counter movements flawlessly.

Bristophe is Brice Catherin and Christophe Schweizer, they are half Swiss living in Hamburg (Germany), half French living in Geneva (Switzerland). They record their music when they are able to both be in the same place, at the same time.  And their range of instrumentation is all over the place, including (but not limited to): Cello, Trombone, Electronics, Tuba, Clarinet, Recorder, Flutes, Double Bass, Alpine Horn, Voice, Bird Calls, and toys.

This work is divided into two halves.  The first half is a series of shorter works organized into a larger composition.  The second half presents a series of longer individual works.

I can’t claim that this work is easy listening, not by a long shot.  However, I can claim that it is rewarding listening if you close yourself to everything around you, focus on the sounds, and let yourself feel the sounds, movement and spaces defined around you.

Bristophe: le fils de la prophetesse




Posted by George De Bruin