nervure |cs214








































When it comes to improvised music if the more traditional, itchy scratchy variety I do have a bit of a weakness for straight-up guitar/percussion releases. Some of my earliest Derek Bailey albums, which remain some of my favourites featured the guitarist with assorted sticksmen. Bailey’s disc with John Stevens always remaining very special to me. Just the other night after writing about Roger Turner I took his Oche album with Christian Munthe down from the shelf for an airing as well, and another fine disc that one is. The names on tonight’s disc, called Nervure on the Creative Sources label are less known to me, in fact (I think) brand new to me. Olivier Dumont is the guitarist and Rodolphe Loubatiere the percussionist, and while they are not quite in the same league as the names previously mentioned they make the kind of music that its good to listen to on warm evenings under a window with a cold ginger beer…

There are three tracks on Nervure, with each made up mostly of small sounds scratching and scurrying around one another. The guitar often sounds as much like a further percussive element as Loubatiere’s instrumentation, usually amplified but played with little scurrying explorations and various items tapping and rubbing over the instrument as much as the strings are ever directly addressed by themselves. There are no rhythms as such, no pulse and no real extended passages in which the drums are struck, with extended techniques very much the name of the game from both musicians throughout, but exactly what each of those techniques may look like I haven’t a clue. Like so many improv records, and so many reviews I have written about them, this disc is all about that interplay, that struggle/tussle/squabble/chatter that two musicians in full flight, responding in a flash bring to the music. This isn’t music that will change the world, or even make me reach for the sleeve notes to see if there is anything on them I may have missed. Its clearly a nice clear recording of tinkling children’s musical boxes, tinging metals struck and decaying slowly, prickly tapping and crackling, bowed metal, rubbed strings, hammered hollow wood. Its a lot of nice sounds wrapped together with energy and with a sense of design and balance. It is music for nights like this, when I don’t want to have to think too much, but I want to enjoy the experience of engaging with music to pull it all apart, fathom out how it all works. It shard for me to sit here and recommend this CD particularly highly above a host of other improv discs. There is little to truly set it apart from other acoustic improv duos but its certainly not a bad recording at all, and its exactly what I needed tonight. Richard Pinnell (The Watchful Ear)

O guitarrista Olivier Dumont tem um trajecto de extremos, indo do "near silence" ao mais desbragado noise. Do baterista e percussionista Rodolphe Loubatière se pode dizer igualmente que não é o mais evidente praticante de jazz e música improvisada, dada a sua abordagem concretista a peles, metais e madeiras. Em "Nervure" encontram uma plataforma de diálogo que se vai circunscrevendo conforme o disco avança. Trata-se de jogos de tensão e distensão, se bem que mais uns do que os outros, não raro transmitindo-nos a ideia de que se prossegue o modelo dialogante do free jazz, embora num contexto que ultrapassa em muito esse subidioma histórico. Se a guitarra eléctrica de Dumont garante o alcance electroacústico do dueto, o certo é que este cordofone é frequentemente executado com um imaginário acústico. Temos, assim, um labor de percussão com influência electrónica e outro de uma guitarra "solid body" que se entende a si própria como "de caixa". Curioso e desconcertante… Rui Eduardo Paes

En révélant l’inexploré de leurs instruments (guitare et percussions ici), Olivier Dumont et Rodolphe Loubatière dévoilent un large spectre de résonances.

Les objets sont frottés sur le cerclage des fûts, la peau est massée, chaque portion y est inspectée, le bois des baguettes s’entrechoque : il y a de l’inouï dans le langage circulaire de Rodolphe Loubatière. Plus familière, la guitare d’Olivier Dumont n’en dévoile pas moins quelques fielleux sortilèges : éraillées, malmenées, entrechoquées, les cordes du guitariste grincent et ne cisaillent jamais inutilement. Soit une magnifique exploration de périphéries, rarement entendues jusqu’ici. Luc Bouquet (Le Son du Grisli)

A guitar/percussion duo from Dijon (France). Three long non-idiomatic free improvisations. Well carried, pointillistic-like for the most part, but slightly too monochromatic – the listener’s attention tends to wander. François Couture (Monsieur Délire)

Nervure, est une collaboration entre Loubatière (batterie) et Olivier Dumont (guitare). Il s'agit de trois improvisations chacune assez longues. De l'improvisation libre instrumentale qui se rapproche du minimalisme tout en s'inspirant de l'improvisation libre non-idiomatique. Dumont et Loubatière génère des textures souvent abrasives et tendues, tout en étant énergiques et nerveux par moments, et contemplatifs à d'autres instants. Le duo joue sur les tensions, les reliefs d'un côté, mais également beaucoup sur l'écoute et l'interaction. Le frottement des peaux et des cymbales se fond dans un larsen, l'agitation des micro-contacts se mêle aux percussions nerveuses et arythmiques de Loubatière. Les timbres sont assez recherchés, les couleurs sont plutôt neuves, et l'écoute est d'une attention constante. C'est varié, pour sûr, mais cet aspect hétéroclite paraît parfois un peu brouillon. On voudrait une position plus claire, moins de compromis et d'entre-deux. Mais on ne peut pas tout avoir... Et ce qu'on a ici, ce sont quand même trois pièces riches, denses, très attentives aux textures et à l'interaction, réactives et collectives. Trois pièces qui s'aventurent quand même avec facilité sur différents terrains, malgré un manque d'affirmation je trouve. Ce n'est pas mémorable, même si les deux musiciens sont talentueux et inventifs. Un disque que j'écoute sans grand plaisir et que j'oublierai donc certainement rapidement, tout en me demandant ce que sera la suite de ces musiciens. Affaire à suivre. Julien Héraud (ImprovSphere)

Some sonic wormholes and burrs together with hourse springing, odd hiccups, metallic tool grinding and scratches before turning into a searing swirl of white noises, grim dissonances, thudding rolling and squabbling knocks and squeks of the initial long-lasting track "Petiole" limber the listener up for the bizarre experience offered by guitarist Olivier Dumont, who turns his instrument into a percussive and scenic element, and percussionist Rodolphe Loubatiere, who seems to head the collection of sketches of the following "Nervure", which sounds like a collection of many possible strategies to fray guitar strings when they reach some peaks of tautness whereas it acquires very strange tones - guitar often sounds like squawking or strangling itself -. The final and longest recording session, "Limbe", sounds a little bit more well-structures and cinematic than previous ones and beyond hard rubbing, metal and wood rumming and occasional rumpus, you could have the impression they're representing the awkward bustling for the almost desperate repair of an handloom or a music box. Even if it cannot be filed under easy-listening, "Nervure" could disclose many amazing moments for your eardrums. Vito Camarretta (Chain DLK)

Guitarist Olivier Dumont and percussionist Rodolphe Loubatiére revel in their universe, rarely calling out what the audience should focus on and hardly giving a map to follow; they gently coax their sounds and allow them to dictate in the way that wind chimes figure out what to play, so to speak. Conveniently, John Cage offers a more enlightening deduction of this ethos:

"When I hear what we call music, it seems to me that someone is talking. And talking about his feelings, or about his ideas of relationships. But when I hear traffic, the sound of traffic — here on Sixth Avenue, for instance — I don't have the feeling that anyone is talking. I have the feeling that sound is acting."

Concerning Nervure, Dumont and Loubatiére mediate natural ambience that happens when you plug in and raise your arms to play, and then several notches before what 90% of humanity expects of a guitar and drum combo (that includes jazz fans). The sonic world ranges from barely registered as humanly manipulated to brief rhythmic alignments (think about the difference between leaves blowing outside your window and a critter rousing them with a purpose — am I the only one who fixates on this at 4:00 am?), spates of nimble ferocity and murky nebulae, all encircled with pensive pauses. The eighteen-minute opener, "petiole", commences with a gentle scrape and whisper of sticks radiating the diameter of a drum head (literally resembling pencils sketching out a blueprint). Within moments, Dumont and Loubatiére interject a torrential inventory role call: squeaking feedback, staccato metallic clinks, granular drum rolls, shrill whistles. Soon the scene is affected by a hypnotic bout of sustained bass drum rumble (via rubber balls attached to kebab skewers) whose vibrations jangle Dumont's accoutrement like a plane, flying too low, rattling the windows; Dumont answers with his penchant for throttled strings, aural depth via abrupt tone pot adjustments and use of pickups as amplification for a host of who-knows-which objects. After a passage of independence, the duo comes together in a mix of bowed cymbal and "slide guitar", creating a phasing wall of woozy pitches before Dumont slides out with a haunting echo that might be coming from the next room. A new color — a high-pitched buzz — unexpectedly elides the halcyon and begins a wind-up of thumps and menacing gurgles framed around Dumont's single isolated one-note twang; Dumont and Loubatiére are as proficient at squeezing their ensemble for last drops as holding back surprises to spring at almost incidental markers — such as the gong and bowls Loubatiére saves for 42 minutes into the album.

Some refer to spaces in-between as gaps, interludes, or ruts, implying a sense of absence or inferior motes that play a role of connecting A and B. Applying this limited view to music, you're going to miss out on a lot of fascinating stuff. For example, which tones exist between C and C#? Is bumping your instrument on the wall or a feature of the recording? From silence to locking groove and melody, there exist myriad interesting directions, and the roots and branches in there go on forever. In other words, the interstice betwixt two fence posts is where the action is — and that's where Dumont and Loubatiére excel. Dave Madden (Squidco)