Charles/Jauniaux/Mariage - L'amour

Ken Waxman, JazzWord


Although it may be a cliché, it appears that those folks brought up within the purview of a Romance language have a predilection towards material suffused with amorous overtones. [...]
Including theatrical readings from the erotic Marguerite Duras novel that inspired it, L’amour is a collaboration among Belgian actor/singer Catherine Jauniaux, who performs with other rule-breaking musicians such as Christian Marclay and two French ones. Clarinetist Xavier Charles is known for his membership in Dans les arbres and guitarist Jean-Sébastien Mariage is part of the Hubbub band.
L’amour is divided into 11 tracks, most of which have Jauniaux intoning the words in idiomatically correct French, though with most phrases a little puzzling for the non-French speaker. However the key to this trio interpretation is that her thespian elucidation adds an undercurrent of erotic suggestion to the performance. At the same time this doesn’t stop her from vocalizing syllabic scat and quirky mutations that add to the program’s evolution, Accompanists and partners, the guitarist and clarinetist use slaps, squeaks, puffs and patterning to accentuate or abbreviate the surrounding motifs, with Mariage’s shaking flanges adding electronic echoes to the sequences. Chickadee-like reed squawks and stutters as well as fluid string rumbles and percussive pops enhance instrumental interludes, when the three aren’t creating in triple counterpoint. Eventually vocal yelps, cries and whines supersede verbalization. With that post-coitus point attained, Jauniaux’s sighs and peeps plus Charles’ plain air blowing and Mariage’s cascading frails plus crackling static dissolve into pure sounds and confirm the ending. The disc suggests strongly that the most illustrious use of a voice in creative music is when it becomes a wordless instrument itself.