Kontact sonoreS 2012

The 2012 Kontact sonoreS started out with an intriguing set by Polish group Karbido, The Table. Four guys are seated around an amplified table, and no ordinary table, either, but one designed to make different sounds in different places, supplemented by many and various noise makers. Unfortunately, after about four minutes of some really delightful explorations of the table’s sonorities, the group settled in to some quite ordinary 70s rock n roll, including one song–yes, they sang, too–that mentioned some 70s bands by name. That lasted for at least until I finally gave up and left.

Pop music at a festival of new music is always a bit disappointing to me, but a set that starts out somewhere quite intriguing and then subsides into the ordinary is very discouraging. Fortunately, the other three acts I attended of this festival were fine. Evening number two, for instance, started with Jérôme Noetinger and Lionel Marchetti on two tape recorders (supplemented by various objects), both identified as Revox B77s, though in my picture, they look like two different makes of machine. Noetinger and Marchetti have played together many times for many years, so expectations are high. The possibility of being safe and predictable is high in such circumstances as well. But they are quite adept at giving thrilling and unpredictable performances.

Le Grand Barouf also performed this evening, but I skipped that, perhaps foolishly. It seems a foolish decision now, looking back at it.

Next evening opened with a film by Laurent Chanez, Monster 600, with music by Arnaud Rebotini and Christian Zanési, which segued into a solo set by Zanési. This provided an interesting contrast to the Marchetti/Noetinger set. The former was two performers as opposed to one, with all that that implies. In the former, the preparation was consisted largely of setting up the noise makers, I’m guessing. In the latter, the preparation of musical objects–phrases, drones and the like. At least that’s how things sounded to me. The latter came across like a piece of music more than as an improvisatory set. Both satisfying musically, of course. And in any case, nice to have such different aesthetics in the same festival, especially such a short one. (And if you’re thinking, “of course you have different aesthetics in the same festival,” well, it doesn’t always happen, that’s all.)

The next evening, the last show I attended, was a performance by Pierre Henry of two of his pieces, a long and often quite attractive piece called Trajectoire. Ligne que suit le corps lancé and a short piece in his faux rock style, which the kids really seemed to dig.

Though a composed piece, and despite some obvious recurring motifs,Trajectoire didn’t really sound like a piece, as a thing that hangs together. Of course, since it is supposed to be conveying episodes in a life, it’s no surprise that it sounded episodic. And it supplied another variation on the forms of improvisation and composition happening in the festival.

All in all, a most enjoyable experience. If you’ve never been to Kontact sonoreS, don’t let another opportunity pass you by.

Asymmetry’s report on last year’s festival (the first Kontact sonoreS for us) is coming up next.

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