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På skive

LILA BAZOOKA

«Arashiyama»
AYLER, AYLCD-177

LiLA BaZookA is the French duo of bassoonist-vocalist-electronics player Sophie Bernado and sound artist Céline Grangey, two artists who focus on pushing the boundaries and are in constant search of new frontiers to overcome. «Arashiyama» is the debut album of the duo, titled after one of the most impressive sightseeing districts in Kyoto, was inspired by their 2019 trip to Japan and the Japanese culture, traditional music and sceneries, a place and society that are torn between tradition and modernity. But LiLA BaZookA also quotes Pierre Boulez, Luciano Berio, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Steve Reich, György Ligeti, Philip Glass and John Cage as well as classical Indian music for the bansuri flute or jazz, and especially the solos of Colin Stetson. «Arashiyama» was recorded in Lamaguère, France, in February 2021.

The music of LiLA BaZookA is hard to classify. It has a chamber atmosphere, sensual but spacious, ethereal with meditative contours, and filled with imagination and a strong sense of freedom. Each piece offers delicate and engaging research with acoustic and electronics’ textures and timbres and attempts to capture the often confusing and dissonant layers of any Japanese hyper-urban or centuries-old locations, memories, or musical experiments. Or in LiLA BaZookA’s poetic words: «The deaf silence in the middle of the incessant din of modernity / A friendship that has its roots in sound research around the bassoon».

The subtle electronics of both Bernado and Grangey introduce the never-ending buzz of Japan’s mega-cities, but also the bewitching spirit of ancient temples like «Tōdai-ji» (東大寺, in Nara). The poetic texts of Bernado refer to a few formative memories from the trip to Japan, and her processed bassoon playing on «Altaï» explains the seminal effect of Stenson on her playing. The Japanese master of the traditional mouth organ – sho, Ko Ishikawa (who played in Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble) joined the duo on two pieces and with him, the music soars and becomes celestial, especially on the piece he composed, «I Keep Lifting My Head».

«Arashiyama» suggests an immersive sonic journey, beautiful, touching and inspiring.

Eyal Hareuveni 

Sophie Bernado (bassoon, v, elec), Céline Grangey (sound design, elec); Ko Ishikawa (mouth organ (sho))

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