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«Café OTO, The 22 of January 2020»

French Jean-Marc Foussat is one of the few explorers of the vintage, analog AKS synthesizer, a master sound engineer, and a label owner. He was invited by London’s Café OTO club to curate a program with musicians of his choice in January 2020. He had no doubts about his partners – French sax player Daunik Lazro and British sax player Evan Parker. Both are legendary pioneers of the European free-improv scene, and both are associates of Foussat for forty years now. Foussat adds in his liner notes: «I would probably never have become the person I am now had I not met those two guys… for the past 40 years we have been ‘dreaming’ the music we could make together, and finally here we are».

But the first part of the program was a 32-minutes solo set of Foussat on the AKS synth plus his voice, titled as «Inventing Chimeras». He creates a provocative sonic storm that fluctuates between quiet introspective depths and tortured, tensed eruptions. This piece highlights his idiosyncratic vocabulary on the vintage instrument, often sounding as alien, unsettling transmissions from a faraway galaxy but sometimes Foussat also surprises with familiar, fragile, human voices.

The second set, titled «Présent Manifeste», featured Foussat with Lazro, on tenor and baritone saxes, and Parker, focusing only on the soprano sax. Foussat puts his sonic arsenal – the AKS synth and his operatic voice, between the deep and dark, searching blows of Lazro and the cyclical, lyrical loops of Parker. All three improvisers suggest their own abstraction of a loose concept of breath. Lazro and Parker produce series of their very personal extended breathing techniques, while Foussat offers a layered and human-alien hybrid of wordless vocals and machine-made, raw noises. Foussat resonates and enhances gently the palette of the sax players and pushing their sonic envelopes to celestial territories, until the climactic coda. His addition of ceremonial bells even intensifies the spiritual atmosphere of this arresting improvisation.

Eyal Hareuveni

Jean-Marc Foussat (synth, v), Daunik Lazro (ts, bs), Evan Parker (ss)

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