Cohortes is a haunted and powerful album. Not so much a reconstruction, though, rather a means to experience a unique propitiatory music from the comfort of your home.
Both musicians in I N S T I T U T R I C E are commited to explore the potentialities of this makeshift drum set, each capitalizing on their previous musical experiences in film and stage music for Éric Bentz, and four-to-the-floor drumming in noise-rock bands for Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy, respectively.
Their music conjures up, among other things, the horizontal gong instrument called Kong Vong Thom found in traditional Cambodian orchestras, or the flurry of Kolintanggongs from Mindanao island in Southern Philippines.
So, we are here entering a floating world of sounds, an imaginary folklore of traditional Asian percussion musics, yet channeled through powerful drumming, dazzling arrangements and subtle electronic sounds. Far from being at odds with the percussions, the digital sound processing rather acts like an organic development of the drums, greatly expanding their range. In terms of sound processing per se, then, I N S T I T U T R I C E never work a gainst the grain.
On first hearing, Cohortes may sound overwhelming and relentless, yet it does include a number of key tracks and milestones to help listeners along the way.
At 11mm 30ss, the track titled 'Werner' is the album's mothership... A cornucopia of gongs and cymbals above a mystic droning sound, it is an impressive, gripping performance. Sounding apart from the rest of the album, the 5th track, titled 'Jacques' is full of bowed cymbals, Chinese opera percussion and conspicuous synthesizer, is a joyous, festival-like celebration. And then there's the track called 'Procession',a peaceful pastorale, somehow, including field recordings from a goat herder and his flock in Portugal during a seasonal migration.
The I N S T I T U T R I C E duo is part of a global musical trend seeking to re-enchant 21st century music, lately plagued by phoney, insincere and market-driven tendencies, a process German sociologist Max Weber calls disenchantment (Entzauberung), when modern technology progressively replaces the Old Magic.
On their debut album as a duo, Éric Bentz and Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy aim to reconcile current sound processing techniques with ancient ethnic music traditions. Not necessarily your ordinary percussion duet then, but rather music re-enacting acollective ceremony we are all invited to experience.
Laurent Fairon, 2021.
French percussionist, sound artist and field recordist Jean-Baptiste Geoffroywas was born in Chambray-lès -Tours in 1984. Since 2006, he has been the drummer in noise-rock bands Pneu, Futuroscope and La Colonie de Vacances (with Éric Bentz), as well as a handful of other bands or projects (Papaye, Jagwar Pirates,Boogers, Binidu, Funken, Gablé, Hilgege, An kle Stress). Since 2012, he has been in a duo with choreographer Hélène Rocheteau under the names Blast and later Nuit Manquante. Solo projects include Magic Barbecue in 2008 and Tachycardie since 2014.
His last album: Probables, was released in 2019.
French composer and sound-designer Éric Bentz was born in Sarrebourg in 1977. He was the guitarist and singer in Electric Electric from 2008 to 2016, touring extensively in Europe, the US and Russia in the period. In 2010, he founded La Colonie de Vacances, the live reunion of 4 French noise-rock bands. Since 2011, he created the sound design for various multimedia works and composed film music, expecially for directors Boris Lojkine and Clément Cogitore, winning himself awards at the Clermont Ferrand and Locarno documentary film festivals in 2018 and 2019.
In recent years his music has evolved to incorperate frield recordings and musique concrete sound.