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Charles/Jauniaux/Mariage - L'amour

Massimo Ricci, The Squid's Ear


Starting with a book by an influential writer — in this instance, Marguerite Duras — to identify useful improvisational cues is a tricky undertaking. The dangers are clear, the greatest of which being the propensity for intellectualization that should never even remotely appear in a situation of creative immediacy. Then, one takes a look at the names involved (Catherine Jauniaux on voice plus objects, Jean-Sébastian Mariage on guitar, Xavier Charles on clarinet) and the disc is approached with a lightened heart, well aware that we won't be cheated.

Jauniaux switches between intense recitative and striking displays of her vocal equipment. She often blends with the instruments in unexpected ways, producing a wealth of unadulterated guttural timbres. A controlled virtuosity, at the same time modest and incisive, finely delineating the emotional spectrum of the Belgian artist. Mariage favors the use of guitar as a source of pan-tonal color, always poised for the most suitable indication for the context, whether it be in the form of jangling glissando backgrounds, sparse clean touches, throbbing drones, or subtle noises. Charles confirms his knack for selecting intuitive principles applicable to the collective jargon, somehow foreseeing the course of a spontaneous counterpoint while seasoning the whole with sharp overtones, tension-laden murmurs and chirping splinters of pure genius.

At first you may struggle a tiny bit to fathom the mechanics and developments of the music presented in L'Amour. There will be no difficulty in relishing it unconditionally once everything is deciphered. This is an articulate statement — imbued with somewhat pained humanity — that will be better understood by those who grieve for the absence of a much-loved person. Among the eleven tracks on the program, there are definitely highlights: personally speaking, both "Nuit" and "L'Aurore Extérieure" elicit goosebumps. But the fundamental coherence that permeates the interaction is to be admired at every step. Ultimately, the trio's ability to turn the force of silence into arrows hitting the listener's innermost targets is perhaps the outstanding attribute of this work.