The Sound of MusicAdventures in Sound

Concerts 23.09.2021

When I arrived at the festival Le Bruit de la Musique on the evening of August 20th, and opened the programme of its 9th edition, I felt dizzy! Like many festivals, Le Bruit de la Musique had to rework the programme of its 9th edition in order to limit the capacity of the concerts to 49 people. The invited artists have therefore agreed to play not just once, but three times, or even more, to be heard by the maximum number of festival-goers. The direct consequence of this reorganisation is the simultaneous performance of concerts in different villages (Domeyrot, Clugnat, Toulx-Sainte-Croix and Saint-Silvain-sous-Toulx) and a colour code displayed at the bottom of the page: each performance venue has its own colour.

All that's left for the festival-goer to do is to build up a route...

I find myself on the evening of August 20th at the Ferme de la Boissate in the hamlet of Clugnat, the chosen venue for a solo by the guitarist Julien Desprez. What was played that evening, between two huge piles of hay bales, was AgoraThe piece, which the guitarist created during the confinement and which he describes as follows: "A jungle where the air is dry and moist, and where the trees, a little too bright green, burn from within"... Agora is the result of a very specific research by Julien Desprez. To find a body technique close to tap-dancing (podorythmy) on the guitar's pedals and to work with an engineer on the electric tension by means of impedance variators... Beyond the technique, Julien Desprez says he wanted to reach a form of "trance", to push the body to its limits. No two versions ofAgora is not the same, because although the piece follows a very precise path, many elements are improvised in the moment. The volume of the barn in which the music ofAgora The volume of the barn in which the music of' unfolded, the clarity, the dryness of the acoustics, obliged Julien Desprez to play very loudly, to feel the vibrations... We all felt these vibrations: the music drew a great wave, up to a climax, to then dislocate into shreds and finally take the form of a rhythmic loop, to "finish in the light"... (these are Julien Desprez's own words!)

After this concert in Clugnat, I could have prolonged the pleasure! A programme of electroacoustic pieces by Lionel Marchetti, Natasha Barrett and Michel Chion was broadcast in theAcousmonium set up by Jérôme Noetinger in the barn... I could also have gone to the Domeyrot site to contemplate the stars with Laurent Pouzaud, a not-to-be-missed appointment of the Noise of Music ! But the cows of the Barre farm in Clugnat were waiting for me the next day, August 21st at 8am: I preferred to go back to Morpheus' arms.

Because that's what Le Bruit de la musique is all about, the excitement of every listening moment, even the most unusual ones!

My journey on 21 August begins early in the morning... very early, with the Gestes terriens Laboratory, Vacher à ses occupations, proposed by Isabelle Üski and Jérémy Damian: "The cow calls us! Through its body, its relationship to time, its relationship to doing, to looking, and perhaps above all, through its ways of being together in forms of gentle co-presence. Le Bruit de la musique is concerned with our ears, and how we can prepare them for the most demanding music. The challenge was met, thanks to the two hours spent on the farm of this Dutch couple who have developed a relationship with animals and nature that is simply exceptional! Getting rid of our human behaviours, " swallowing " the landscape, working on the slow motion of our gestures until we are able to melt into the herd which is quietly grazing in the meadow while observing the band of humans who have burst in... Everything went through language, but we did not go so far as to speak the language of the cows!

A star-shaped route on this last day of the festival...

That morning I was delighted to see the improvised duo Micro-Waves of Nathalie Forget (ondes Martenot) and eRikm (electronics - Idiosyncrasy), discovered last year at the Météo festival in Mulhouse. Decades of technology (almost a century...) separate these two electronic lutheries, and yet the dialogue is refined, from concert to concert. ERikm combines and transforms in real time sound samples from different sources: the sounds of the Ondes Martenot, granular sounds and phonographies that he extracts from his sound archives. A bewitching weaving, made in the moment, which is willingly dressed in dreams and draws landscapes...

The afternoon of this 21st of August promises to be dense, and even sporty, even though I did not go from one site to another by bike, as was the case during an edition concluded by "Eine Brise", the play for 111 cyclists by Mauricio Kagel... !

Under the vaults of the church of Saint-Silvain-sous-Toulx, the organic duo ofAlexandre Chanoine and Pascal Battus : an unheard of dialogue between a sound artist who manipulates stone to produce sounds (Alexandre Chanoine), and a musician with a passion for electronics (Pascal Battus) who has developed a strikingly minimalist device over a long period of time: a rotating surface on which he makes a few objects vibrate. The encounter (for it is one!) takes the form of a dialogue of sounds and silence, superimposed on the rumour of the street, for the musicians wanted the meeting to take place with the door wide open!
On the cellist Martine Altenburger 's lap , two children fall asleep, carried by the dance of the elements, the low, muffled sounds of the stone rolling on the pavement of the church...

I arrive a little late at the church of Toulx-Sainte-Croix (setback of simultaneous concerts!) to hear the last sounds of the piece by the American composer Michael Pisaro : Hearing Metal , performed by theEnsemble That - Ensemble That, with the participation of a dozen festival-goers. Hearing Metal This piece brings together the sounds of sixteen standing cymbals, a sinusoid, and a shower of seeds (rice, beans...). Le Bruit de la Musique has always made sure to offer this type of participatory piece, to allow festival-goers to enter into the sound, to experience listening in a different way, "by doing"! What seduced its artistic director, Lê Quan Ninh, in the artistic line of the Swiss percussion quartet Ensemble This, Ensemble That, is the great diversity of aesthetic fields reflected in its programmes (contemporary music, electronic, digital world...). Gourmandise, enthusiasm and vitality are the signature of this virtuoso ensemble, which literally conquered all hearts and ears!

A little later, in the same church, the violinist Tiziana Bertoncini in the same church: what amplification should be added to the natural reverberation of this splendid 12th-century church? What the Italian violinist, based in Vienna, Austria, likes most of all about solo improvisation is that you can go wherever you want... Freedom of movement also means freedom of listening! Our ears literally clung to Tiziana's bow to follow every movement, abandoning any other ordinary human activity... except that of breathing. The musician told me that she never 'prepares' her improvisations. She likes to let the acoustics of the place resonate within her. Or better still, to enter into vibration with it: it's like a duet after all, in which the partner is the space of the concert. Duo, or trio? Because the shadow of Schubert and that of the double - Doppelgänger in German - (Schubert's Lied Der Doppelgänger ) hung over this improvisation. I learned this later from Tiziana, but I didn't hear it, caught up as I was in the garlands of sound from her violin!

My journey ended in Clugnat, in the Ferme de la Boissate. I wanted to experience theAcousmonium "improvised" by Jérôme Noetinger (a last-minute idea from the festival!): twenty-four loudspeakers cleverly arranged in the barn to allow for immersion. That evening, Jérôme Noetinger "played" pieces by Martial Bécheau, Mireille Chamass-Kyrou and Angelica Castello: a contrasting programme, called "Beyond the Real", a superb culmination to a series of six exciting programmes proposed by the musician and sound activist.

The evening of 21 August closed under the Domeyrot tent with a very fine programme of experimental films on 16mm film proposed by Gaëlle Rouard, " to end up hypnotised, amazed, stunned, hallucinated, simply happy ", says Lê Quan Ninh.
As a prelude to this final screening, he could not hide his emotion as this edition came to an end, heavily threatened and disrupted by health restrictions.
An Angel passed very close to our ears, when his voice broke with emotion. The evening ended with a thunderous applause: hands clapping with emotion and gratitude, that too is sound, and what a sound!

Anne Montaron

Photo illustration Nelly Mousset

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