**Edition of 300** While vast in practices and approaches, avant-garde and experimental music are contexts of creativity that seek new languages of expression and communication. In some cases, these are specific to a culture, geography, or temporality. In others, we encounter artists and audiences from diverse corners of globe coming together, weaving moving expanses of sound that reach toward a transcendent universality. It is the later that is captured across the length of Fou Records' latest releases, “Concert 2009”, a live collaboration between the French trio, Marteau Rouge, and Keiji Haino. Boundary pushing and brilliant, its freely improvised structures - enacted on voice, guitar, Synthi VCS3, and drums - emerge as a radical, real-time conversation, enacted with a rare sense of artistry and skill that pulls you in and holds you down, from the first sounding to the last.
The French electroacoustic free improv trio, Marteau Rouge, was founded in 1992 by Jean-Marc Foussat (synth / vocals), Jean-Francois Pauvros (guitar) and Makoto Sato (drums). During their more than 20 years of activity, they performed widely in Paris and around France, often accompanied by guest performers, including Evan Parker, Joe McPhee, Daunik Lazro, Itaru Oki, Wasis Diop, Maki Nakano, Rasul Siddik, and others. Unfortunately, despite their stature and astounding skill, Marteau Rouge’s activities have remained sinfully under-documented, making the release of “Concert 2009”, a live collaboration with Keiji Haino - one of the most important figures in Japanese noise and experimental music - an incredibly entry in their slim discography.
“Concert 2009” captures an astounding concert at the 2009 Jazz in Luz Festival, recorded at the venue, Marquee of Luz-Saint-Sauveur, featuring Jean-Marc Foussat on Synthi VCS3, objects, and vocals, Jean-Francois Pauvros on electric guitar, Makoto Sato on drums, and Keiji Haino on vocals and guitar. Divided into eleven movements that flow seamlessly into a cohesive totality, the quartet immediately dives into a sense of exacting interplay - unfolding in a resonant chamber - that feels as though this line-up has been playing together for years.
While unquestionably a work of free improvisation, bordering on noise, “Concert 2009” is particularly noteworthy for how far it often strays from the expected tropes and syntaxes of that idiom. Ranging from full-throttle, blistering jams with touchstones drawn from prog, punk, metal, and drone, to more intricate and delicate movements, the group weaves moments of profound catharsis into moody passages that are permeated by images of dystopian sci-fi - driven by the sounds of Foussat’s synth, and the dueling electric guitars of Pauvros and Haino - creating a soundtrack for an ever darkening world, while managing to retain all the hope and optimism embodied by a creative territory and language that activates conversation and the communication of ideas across distinctions of cultural, individual practice, and time.
An incredible welcome and necessary addition into the catalogs of both Marteau Rouge and Keiji Haino - displaying how open and adaptable all of these artists are - “Concert 2009” is easily one of the most exciting archival releases of the year. Engrossing, challenging, and a truly immersive listen that continues to evolve with every return, the CD is issued in a beautiful edition by Jean-Marc Foussat’s Fou Records, and can’t be recommended enough for any fan of free improvisation and noise.