sounding out scotland – north west coast 2017

19 10 2017

 

 

A visit to Scotland was long due. And this is my favourite area. The trip took us from north west coast sea lines through wild moors and lochs to the very northern point. This post however will focus on a specific section of the western coastline, following the path of the steam train – the jacobites.

The first stop was in Arisaig. A large church towering above the town with a view – tucked between green suburbs and a road out to the sea front.
The very high ceiling and wide open space inside the church made a strong impression and it was like stepping out into space. The slow sound inside was indeed very stilling. A single bell marks a warm welcome and the improvisation flows.
When giving tracks titles, one in particular reminded me of an experience i had nearby meditating on the rocks overlooking the sea. so i chose an image i took that day of a view over to Skye with the sun setting over the calm water.

In the harbour town of Mallaig, i found a shelter from the day for a short exploration of this small church on the edge of town. It was like stepping into the 70’s. Both amusing and welcoming, i felt at home in the cosy carpeted warmth. And nudged into motion by the nearby steam train parked at the station and some building works, i let the saxophone sound out this clear close space.

The next stop was the church at Morar. The place looked cosy, but the vibe of the place was not quite right and the space was not responding. I played for a while but could not get into it, and the sax felt raw. So i did not stay for meditation and instead moved on to a more welcoming location.

For contrast, i returned to Arisaig and bathed in that grand space. After a sweet meditation, i revisited the acoustics. A different day, a different light and still the wonderful immersive stillness was very inspiring.

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first bell
alto saxophone, 22 august 2017
arisaig church

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forest of peaks
alto saxophone, 22 august 2017
arisaig church

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silent silver sea
alto saxophone, 22 august 2017
arisaig church

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open skies
alto saxophone, 22 august 2017
arisaig church

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a gentle descent
alto saxophone, 22 august 2017
arisaig church

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interlude
2.1 hochiku shakuhachi, 22 august 2017
arisaig church

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steamline
alto saxophone, 23 august 2017
mallaig church

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white orbs and billows
alto saxophone, 23 august 2017
mallaig church

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contrary measures
alto saxophone, 23 august 2017
morar church

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counter currents
alto saxophone, 23 august 2017
morar church

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slow rise
alto saxophone, 23 august 2017
arisaig church

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a raft in the other shore
alto saxophone, 23 august 2017
arisaig church

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mixed feelings
alto saxophone, 23 august 2017
arisaig church

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Jazz beats and sax

21 01 2017

lately, i have revisited the idea of working with backing tracks using computer. I find it is a quick way to lay down a few musical ideas.

generally, i am really not keen on using software instruments, and i really dislike spending time on the screen tweaking midi information. i much rather get my hands straight into matter and sculpt into the immediacy of sound. but still,  it is fun to improvise to some groove and it provides a change to abstraction. perhaps that’s what i do late at night when entertaining my neighbours with the horn is not an option.

using ableton live, it is easy to get a few simple ideas down and quickly move on to recording sax lines. and as it happens, i have a few project files waiting for some attention. some are just quick sketches, some tracks are more arranged. and just now, i have been wanting to put to good use the time i have spent working on new ideas with the saxophone.

 

i have been focusing on ways to develop musical narratives in improvisation. and i have been trying out various ways to find melodic or harmonic paths to navigate outside of established structures while maintaining a sense of evolving melody.

this work has come out of a desire to expand narratives in longer forms. i felt tied down by shorter cycles that keep resolving to the root, and wanted to open up the possibilities of extended melodic development such as found in classical music. however, i did not want to fall into completely random root movements. i guest i wanted a method that would be suited to support free flowing improvised narratives without being tied to a structural approach or to the predictability of a specific, limited linguistic approach. (i really do not take on the idea of limiting musical expression to the form of a language and follow on this metaphor to expression in terms of a personal vocabulary, and the implied pitfalls of predictability. ok, let’s not get too political or philosophical here.)

so to sum up my idea in a few (but rather big) words… i felt i needed to free myself from limiting structures and find an open method for the free flow development of narrative in improvisation. so i had to look outside of cyclical forms that imply repeated return to a root and this sense of continually converging back to a fixed point.

for this, i started working with musical ‘sounds’ that dissociated ‘root’ with ‘tonal centre’. this is a very interesting and important distinction, and looking into Steve Coleman’s idea of negative chords helped a lot. and then, it was just a question of finding ways to detach from the informed habit of sequencing the tonal centre in predictable ways. the only way was to follow the logic of narrative development and of course not falling into the pull of following protocol. a very good bass player once said to me the very simple rule that applies to all music, ‘harmony always follows melody’. it had to be this way, and not the opposite.

so in the development of melodic narrative, i removed the anchor, this force of attraction found in tonal centers, and instead looked for ways to follow the logic intrinsic to improvised narratives, so that the melody would keep unfolding without being tethered. i had to rethink how i looked at musical forms (and even how one looks at form… is emptiness, emptiness is form… remember?).

so i started developing modalities (rather than scales), harmonic shapes (rather than chords) and considering axis (rather than tonal centre) and therefore orbits, pathways, nodal points between orbits. we’re not lost in space here, this is not music of the spheres, nor a nihilist chromatic hell, however, i had to detach from traditional approach to tonality and think in terms of interval relationships – in order to be able to move freely between paths, while retaining a narrative logic, that is without sounding completely aleatory, chromatic or just random.

of course, it takes a long time to assimilate all this method in my playing, to be able to improvise with it, particularly as i do not have a mathematical nor analytical approach when playing. free flow is essential to creativity i believe, and one way to detach from predictable structures is to ‘walk away from the expectations of the world’, as is expressed in another article you can find in this blog.

this approach also has taken a long time to develop, and i found that some aspects of it started to show in the solo work i have been documenting as ‘sounding out‘.

 

more recently, i have taken this to the studio, and we are now back to where this article started.

so here are a few pieces that i have recorded using sets of chords and beats, which of course are all arranged in advance using live, and then improvised saxophone lines over the top.

some of these were recorded a while ago and explore simple ideas and remain very melodic.

 

 

 

and i do like messing with beats and groove, even improvising bass lines on the keyboard of my laptop (yes, right…)

 

 

 

other tracks were developed differently; for example, the following piece actually started with a saxophone improvisation, to which i later added keys and bass, allowing me to leave much space, and follow the feel of the narrative improvisation.

 

 

 

and more recently still, the saxophone is now exploring new structures over simple tonal background. i quite like the wobbly feel of that nasty reaktor synth – this is a nice change to the traditional keys set up i have been using. this is not modal music, and perhaps more open ended, as it is closer to the drone on indian raga.

 

 

 

and coming back to the more traditional quartet sound, which a live group could be playing, with drums, bass and keys, but this time using harmonic shapes more suited for the structural abstraction of saxophone improvisation… an extract from a longer piece, this track is more of a demo in a single modality, with the multiplicity of harmonic options implied:

 

 

 

to finish with, a couple more pieces hot from the press…

 


 

 

as usual, i hope you enjoy listening to this work, and would love to hear your thoughts and reactions…

 

peace,

xrv

 





Ecart de Sons EPK

29 08 2016

banner

 

 

contact:

henry – hherteman@wanadoo.fr

hervé – sndsukinspook@live.com

 

web

soundcloud.com/henry-herteman

soundcloud.com/herveperez

 

 

 

Dialogique intuitive d’un duo d’improvisateurs.

Multi-instrumentistes, ils sculptent des idiomes imaginaires de forme acoustique et électronique, à la croisée du jazz et de l’expérimental.

 

 

Ecart de Sons

documents audio:

01 [Ecole de Danse, Cazères]

02 [Club 52, Prat Bonrepeau]

03 [A.I.R., Sarrant]

04 [le caméléon, Toulouse]

 

 

 

Le duo Ecart de Sons offre un dialogue d’affinités musicales et poétiques de deux personnalités expérimentées dont la vocation est l’expressivité concertée.

 

Le parcours individuel de chaque musicien, riche de collaborations diverses est ponctué de nombreux concerts, d’enregistrements et compositions.

 

Le désir de parfaire ce duo prend corps au cours des années, et évolue selon la recherche de chaque musicien. Cette rencontre s’illustre dans la pratique de l’improvisation libre et des musiques intuitives et nouvelles, dont les bases convoquent: des développement jazz ou free, des idiomes imaginaires, des échos de la musique contemporaine et de l’electro-acoustique.

 

 

 

Documents video du duo en concert : vimeo.com/channels/ecartdesons

 

 

biographies:

 

Henry Herteman

clavier – trombone – mélodica – sax électronique

 

Musicien autodidacte, auteur de texte, il est attiré par la maîtrise du langage de divers instruments: piano, clavier, trombone, mélodica, percussion, Valiha Malgache.

Une orientation marquée par les rencontres d’improvisation avec lecteurs, poètes, musiciens, danseurs, peintres, performeurs. Engagé dans les courants d’échanges spontanés, de rencontres croisées. Il revendique le concept d’improvisation libre ou compovisée et musique intuitive avec des incursions dans les climats du jazz, du rock progressif, de la musique ethnique voire contemporaine. Ne rien s’interdire est son fil conducteur.

Il participe et organise de nombreux événements sur les scènes régionales de la musique improvisée. Participe aux ateliers de l’IREA, aux Sonofages, intervient aux «Nuits de Lauzerte» dans une performance «Passages croisés». Concepteur des journées de musique intuitives, des concerts rue des fleurs.

Il sort en mai 2015 un CD solo, Roule ta Salive chez Improvising Beings. Un travail qu’il présente au théâtre du pavé.

 

Sur son trajet, il croise nombreux musiciens:

Didier Laserre , Nuch Werchowska, Le Fil, Grand Piac, Zoubooo, Synapsis, Gilles Dalbis, Naoto Yamagishi, Laurent Rodriguez, Heddy Boubaker

 

soundcloud.com/henry-herteman

henrynow.simplesite.com

 

 

 

hervé perez

saxophones – shakuhachi – laptop

 

artiste, compositeur, improvisateur.

Participant actif sur la scène Européenne depuis 2000, en collaboration avec d’autres formes artistiques tel la danse, l’art visuel et l’écriture, il s’intéresse principalement aux modalités d’improvisation et aux relations entre musiciens, audience et environnement.

Travaille dans différentes formations de free jazz et d’improvisation libre, électroacoustique et musique contemporaine, ainsi qu’en performances solo. Il présente aussi son travail audio-visuel en installations in situ.

Il poursuis une recherche du son et sciences vibratoires d’une part, et aussi développe une approche très contemporaine de l’harmonie et de la mélodie. Inspiré de techniques anciennes de guérison et par la pratique de la méditation, il intègre science et spiritualité au sein de modalités de performance de la composition spontanée.

Le travail sur la résonance, la relation des formes vibratoires à l’architecture et au corps, la pratique du deep listening font alors partie intégrante du processus créatif qu’il chemine hors des enceintes stylistiques.

 

sndsukinspook.wordpress.com

spacers.lowtech.org/herve

soundcloud.com/herveperez

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https://vimeo.com/channels/ecartdesons

 

 





WHM live in artsmith gallery

28 02 2016

had a smashing time with my trio WHM. with walt shaw on drums, matt harling on tenor sax and home design ‘saxobone’, we had guest lorin halsall on UEB, theramin and electronics. artsmith live gallery space is quite resonant but also a great place to play, with inspirational artwork. you can hear extracts from the two sets here

 

 

WHM live at Artsmith Live gallery, Derby, 27th feb 2016

walt shaw – percussion
hervé perez – saxes, saxobone
matt harling – tenor sax, saxobone
with guest
lorin halsall – ueb, theramin, el.

 





sounding out top 10

22 08 2015

while working on brand new recordings for the series ‘sounding out’, i decided to look back in time, and review all the locations featured on the soundcloud page dedicated to the project:

 

 

 

 

so here is a sample selection of some of the best acoustics and inspiring spaces i have visited in the recent past. and guess what. YAS woz there.

 

1 – Ilam church. hidden gem. beautiful and intimate. my relationship and my playing have evolved with many visits.

 

2 – Dore Abbey. place of magic and history in the golden valley, gently spoken through the stone of its old walls.

 

3 – buxton dome. ex-hospital now university property with unique sonic magic. reverb + delay + whispering gallery.

 

4 – Clachan Church. plain chapel in the mist of remote applecross. energy like mountain streams wild raw beautiful.

 

5 – smoo cave. cascade and cathedral chamber. strong character, challenging response and inspiration in gentleness.

 

6 – stoney middleton. unusual architecture and shape. great for sound. subtle, bright and soft.

 

7 – St Catherine. out of this world experiences in this chapel at the top of a hill. plain, bare, expansive.

 

8 – Rydal cave. lifted out of this plane of existence into fluffy clouds. all is sound.

 

9 – Cathedral cave. exposed to elements. dark damp raw edges. the sound takes you to a different reality. soft suspension. pure bliss.

 

10 – St Sardos. surprisingly generous village church. plain dark appearance. sound gently-powerful and sophisticated, wide and brilliant.

 

this last track is a sneak preview…:

the new series of recordings i am currently working on are from the very recent trip to France. it features some outstanding locations. small village churches with surprising character and large abbeys, abbatiales, cathedrals… it has been a real treat and i am very excited to share all this with you. so keep your eyes peeled as some great sounds are coming your way here, on soundcloud or my website (visit field rec / sounding out).

and as usual, i’d love to hear from you.

cheers

rv

 

 





get some jazz beats

3 07 2015

hello friends,

it’s been a while since i last wrote here, but do not despair, musical movements are continuously taking shape… so after a period mostly dedicated to collaborative work  (which has been very productive, with several albums and compilations released in the past few months, see previous posts), i decided that my own work and compositions had taken the back shelf for far too long.

i have so many project files with sketches, nearly finished tracks, ideas thrown around, i did not know where to start…

so to ease myself back into the swing (of things), i reacquainted my horn to the house mike, and i tell you, the luxury suite at nexTTime studios is sweet as ever.

two new pieces will perfectly accompany your summery meanderings. i posted these on soundcloud, so don’t hesitate to hit me and show some love, if you like it…

 

i decided to begin with my latest creation, which went like this. well, it was a warm day and…

ok, it’s not gonna be a once upon a time story, but there IS a happy ending, i promise.

bored with scales and having finished my practice routine, i wanted to play along to some track and have some fun. i discarded the youtube jazz scene and wanted to up-beat it. this is where live comes in.

sax in one hand, hitting some keys with the other, here goes a couple of chords. sax doodles ensue and i just had to get some ballzy bass in there. ain’t loops great. no, not really, but this one just hit the spot and man, i’m riding the wave so here goes, on the fly, some basic jazz kit ride along.

and it’s grooving down here with an added 808 kit, some pitch and granulation on the sax, even some spectral space-sines processing (that shadow the sax lines). i could swear i just heard an apparition from the great north, it’s like molvaer woz ere.

 

you know, i’m spoiled with much interesting and experimental music and so i have a very low threshold for cheese. and techno is right there with the cream of the cream. but take a listen, 4/4 can be fun AND interesting at the same time. i dunno, somehow it made some sort of sense at the time.

ain’t live great. spinning beats on the fly with one hand… and i got myself a track. a little sculpting and reshuffle later, i revisited the sax, keeping some of the processing, striping it right down, for a driving yet light feel. and the living is easy…

the phrase from plato, picked up by foucault, is one i keep referring to. the Techne Tou Biou is quite central i would say. and it resonates with me. with my current routine, practice and thinking processes – which include music and meditation – the perfect blend of science, art and spirituality just hits the spot. Techne Tou Biou refers to a science and craft of living. guidelines to a happy experience of our time on earth. this is where the buddhist teachings come handy. and well, it is common sense, logical principles that come up in many cultures.

so i think that this piece is somewhat fitting for a highly charged title. there is an easy-going complexity and beautiful depth in simple forms that touch on the concept. i hope this is how it feels anyway. do let me know!

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following on the excitement, i revisited an older track. i had drums, bass and keys laid out. this is a format i have been using for a certain type of compositions. simple structures. realistic lineup. no frills. just an excuse to lay down some sax.

the live setup and software instruments is not my sound of choice, but it’s something more immediate than the finer work that goes into electroacoustic pieces. so for the times when i feel like playing notes, when i crave for beats, when i’m in the mood for some jazz cuts, this is the place i go. it’s quite a departure from abstract extended techniques and fancy electronic processing, but it still is my sound. and as you would expect, any of the tracks i produce are just not going to fit into any of the usual boxes.

i have many hats. none of them fit. but if you want some jazz, if you want some hip hop, electronica, improv, of whatever resonates, i hope you’ll dig this. it is indeed a meeting of opposites, an impossible combination, and it is seriously fun. had to be an ‘oxymore’.

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so put on your red shoes, here’s some rainbow sax to tickle your dancing feet.

 

 

 





Shiki – Mehata Sentimental Legend and Hervé Perez

24 02 2015

Shiki

album MPR23 Hervé Perez & Mehata Sentimental Legend – Shiki

 

Central to this work is a practice inspired by traditional Japanese music and particularly the shakuhachi: improvisation and mindfulness. The artists’ meditative practice and deep connection with the environment is present throughout their music, both through their communication with the natural world, elements and soundscapes, but also in their use of natural acoustics.

Even though many instruments used are traditional (mostly Japanese flutes and percussion) often, the contents are references to both traditional forms and contemporary music styles.

Released by:
Mind Plug Records
Release date:
23 February 2015

 

 

i am very happy to announce the release of the album Shiki by berlin label Mind Plug Records.

 

 

 

Shiki is the product of a collaboration between sound artists and improvisers Mehata Sentimental Legend and Hervé Perez.

The exchange is made possible through modern technology: from recording techniques to modern instruments, samplers and most importantly, communication technology which allows for social network communities such as soundcloud and large file exchanges over the net.

And although this work is very modern, there is something timeless about it. Some of the instruments used are traditional (mostly Japanese flutes and percussion) and often, the contents are references to both traditional forms and contemporary music styles.

Moreover, beyond the practical and tangible aspects, the entire collaboration has a quality that is beyond time and styles. The process of recording, file exchange, development of the work has evolved in a very organic way: slowly, taking time, over long periods, and happened only as and when relevant. There was never a desire or pressure to create a product, and rather, things happened when they felt ‘right’ and at the appropriate time for both of us.

The same frame of mind applies to every aspect of the work. And the understanding between collaborators has always been on a deeply human and natural level – the basis of which was a meeting of spirit. Outside the boundaries of time and space.

Although there is a thread running through the album, connecting each piece, the tracks are unique, and were created in a singular way. One may be able to hear the evolution in approach of these documents of events, performances, over time.

Central to the work is a practice inspired by traditional Japanese music and particularly the shakuhachi: improvisation and mindfulness. A meditative practice and deep connection with the environment is present throughout (communication with the natural world, the elements and soundscape but also the use of natural acoustics – see for ex. Hervé’s project ‘sounding out’ on his website and web pages).

The starting points of many of these tracks are in situ recordings. Mehata’s insightful and very sensitive participation painted a coherent image and gave meaning to the work with the use of colour, completely in tune with the quality of energy. Inspired and inspirational, Mehata’s arrangements made the original improvisations flourish.

To complete the cycle, the tracks traveled back to Hervé for production, mixing and mastering.

The process of making this work has been deeply inspiring, and a true pleasure for both of us. And we sincerely hope you will enjoy our shared attraction to deep listening.

released 23 February 2015