(Potlatch)

The idea of a saxophone quartet might instantly recall ROVA, but “Propagations” certainly does not belong to that kind of expression. Two altos (Baron and Guionnet), a tenor (Denzler) and a soprano (Rives) are the tools that give life to this concise piece, a pretty homogeneous improvisation that is nothing but another try to exorcise the concept that every secret in this artistic area has been revealed by now. It is a successful one, in virtue of the players’ choice of dividing their introspective conversation in a series of frameworks whose basic characteristics exploit the nearly obvious, however fascinating conditions of pneumatic peculiarity that reed instruments determine when stimulated in the right way. Fluxes of continuous notes, halfway through the sound of a detuned squeezebox and an enthralling hypnosis, are reinforced by the slightly grainy distortion deriving both from the clash between the upper partials and the extended techniques applied by the four. Sine wave-like washes are complemented by impressively unhurried sharp frequencies, the sonic mass becoming at times almost colossal, a moment later next to pale-skinned and, just apparently, weak. Silence, when it appears, is soon disturbed by gentle hissing and tongue clicking and popping, only to re-launch the musicians towards those slanted settings in which the machines require once again to be set in vibrating contexts, the ones that better represent the most satisfying aspect of a music that – if intelligently tackled – has still much to say after all these years. Silently or not.

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