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På skive



Johan Sebastian Bach most likely never heard about distortion, and, obviously, in his time the electric guitar and the modern drum set were not common instruments. This did not stop the French duo OTTO – guitarist Ivann Cruz (of TOC and Circum Grand Orchestra) and drummer Frédéric L’Homme (of Louis Minus XVI) to arrange Bach’s suite for lute and cello as a modern, punkish set of dances.

Cruz approaches some of these well-crafted and popular baroque compositions when he began studying to play the classical guitar as a child, and a few years ago revisited Bach’s Chaconne. He then decided to dive back into these melodic entanglements by confronting them with the pulsating ornaments of Frédéric L’Homme, and together collected 13 eventful suites. «Danses» was recorded at Allende in Mons en Baroeu in May 2021.

Needless to say, OTTO’s unconventional approach plays with these immortal compositions with mischief, healthy intuition and with no scholastic inhibitions. But Cruz and L’Homme have studied Bach’s compositions inside out and revisit these sophisticated suites with generous doses of electricity, distorted dirt and restless and swinging pulses. The polyphonic flows and immaculate, mathematical architectures of the late baroque master find new and challenging dance moves on these tormented bourrées, dreamy gigues and other exuberant allemandes. Withing the subversive and troubled sonorities of the new arrangements, Cruz and L’Homme still insist on harmonic unity and rhythmic plurality. Just check the uplifting arrangement of «Suite n°1,BWV 996:Allemande», the slow-cooking tension building of «Partita n°2.,BWV 1004:Chaconn» that flirts with post-rock or the massive, driving pulse of «Suite pour violoncelle n°2,BWV 1008:Prélude» to fully understand how these immortal compositions keep their suggestive emotional power in all arrangement that respects their musical essence. Even when OTTO insists on exposing the Bacchus-ian sides of Bach.

Eyal Hareuveni

 Ivann Cruz (el.g), Frédéric L’Homme (dr)

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