0 – Umarete Wa Mita Keredo (flau)


0 [pronounced zero]will be constitute fond listening for those who have an ear for the minimal melodic output of Sylvain Chauveau. Chaveau writes all the tracks on Umarete Wa Mita Keredo an album composed to be played as backing to a silent Ozu Yasujiro film and screened in France. Ozu Yasujiro was a skilled and technically inovative Japanese film director of the early to mid 20th century with a prodigious output as well as being well recieved critically. So imagine you have watched Ozu films, have a hardcore slow minimalist ambient sensibility and prefer sparse tonal perfectionism with an ultra-relaxed but seriously minded attitude. Then you would find yourself quite at one with this music form. Chaveau drew inspiration for the piece from traditional Japanese music for shakuhachi, koto and shamisen. However the piece also has all the hallmarks of stripped down American minimalism and Chauveau also notes the influence of Morton Feldman.
Regular 0 members Stéphane Garin on percussion, Joël Merah on acoustic guitar and Sylvain Chauveau on acoustic guitar are joined by Jùlia Gàllego on flutes. Some of the tracks are centered around specific instruments and give flourishes or moments of counterpoint to the main instrument. Other tracks have an intertwined structure, often playing at angles to each other to create the soundscape. All tracks are suitably devoid of emotive echoes, they seem to play well as atmospheres to other events and no doubt functioned well as they soundtrack to a film. It would be interesting to see them contextually and with the fuller score available. However the pared down release conveys the precision of the players and a skilled ear for recording and mastering. There is often the lingering of tonal resonance left to play itself out. Bright drone like tones are induced and layer backgrounds to some of the pieces. Often a sense of otherness is conveyed by the technique of lingering tone, but a quick head check will reveal the lingering attachment of these sound structures to cinematic strategies to build suspense. So not really out of place given the purpose and context of the music. Overall it is an album that conveys acoustic instrumentation skill used with restraint and purpose rather than aimed at emotive or energetic thrills. The pleasure in the listening is cerebral as well as aesthetic.



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