ANTOINE CHESSEX – Antoine Chessex


Recording this CDR implied a good measure of sacrifice for the concerned parties, since the exact moment in which this session came about was a very cold Berlin day in 2007, and the selected location – the Electronic Church – had not been aerated for quite a lot of time, thus causing the room’s icy dampness to affect both the saxophone (which took approximately a hour to warm up, the protagonist already semi-exhausted before the recording’s start) and the attending personnel, all more or less freezing. The endeavor was repaid by a dazzling, if literally “minimal” result: the whole concept is in fact based on a single note, held by Chessex through the celebrated technique of circular breathing (listen attentively and you can hear him persistently sneezing as he plays moving around the place). The music was subdivided in five sections yet the central pitch remains practically the same, either precisely produced and kept resounding or slightly undulating, often brought to clash with its own reverberation to origin that slight conflict of adjacent frequencies that lovers of Phill Niblock or Alvin Lucier (or, better still, John Butcher) know so well. Only for a few instants of the fourth chapter, Chessex – I couldn’t say how willingly – transposes the tone one octave higher, but it doesn’t last. The concluding act lets us get the impression of the instrument’s sound slowly deteriorating, a handful of feeble multiphonics perceptible in the decaying airy mass at the end of the track. Despite the label’s recommendation of listening by headphones, the effect via the speakers is especially beautiful. 33 minutes of your life for these nerve-reinforcing quivers are definitely well spent.


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