Bruno Duplant - ‘deux trois choses ou presque’ (scores by Manfred Werder)
1- 2009/4 (with the score)
2- 2009/5 (with the score)
3- 2010/2 (with the score)
scores by manfred werder
interpretations by bruno duplant (phonographies, sine tones, double bass & horn)
recordings made in waziers & douai, france, 2011
improviser and phonographer, Bruno’s latest release includes three realizations of text scores by Manfred Werder, using field recordings, sine tones, double bass & horn. Manfred has also supplied 'The Field', a further text piece to sit alongside these recordings.
available as a digital download only
review from 'the field reporter' website:
The installation of a sculpture into an area of countryside, or even sometimes into an established urban environment, can bring forth complaints. People object to the change of scenery. Letters are written to newspapers. Their sense of familiarity has been compromised.
A place they felt they once knew intimately has suddenly been transformed. An artist has had the audacity to position his work, a product of his singular imagination, in a place of prominence in the landscape.
As time passes the sculpture becomes assimilated into its surroundings. Children climb on it, people sit on its plinth to chat and it is used as a point of reference when giving directions to strangers.
In a small way this conversion happens when listening to Bruno Duplant’s deux trois choses ou presque, based on scores by Manfred Werder. Knowing from the text that Duplant is going to use sine tones, double bass and horn during these field recordings, there is a tendency to wait for their intrusion.
Listening attentively to a recording of what sounds like a semi- rural milleu of birdsong and a little human activity, I was ready for the instrumantal interventions. When they came they were slow, extended tones that seemed to rise over the everyday canvas of underlying sounds, disembodied and subtle but nevertheless at odds with their surroundings .
But as the tracks went on, a confluence occurred. Rather than existing alongside each other, the two seperate strands of the work seemed to coalesce. The distance and division between them seemed to lessen. By the end of its 40 or so minutes duration, the symbiosis was complete. The duality disappeared and in its place was a new entity.
For me (and this is purely a personal view, most probably not intended by the work’s authors at all), I envisaged an electromagnetic field of some sort emanating from the ground. It was as if Duplant, as well as recording the sounds of the environment, had also managed to record a field of energy vibrating beyond human audition.
Dedicating deux trois choses ou presque to the poet Francis Ponge is telling. Ponge’s poetry was based on minute attention to the detail of everyday objects. Free of emotion and symbolism, Ponge sought to express the world as it was. Pure concentration on simple objects. The cigarette. The potato. A bar of soap.
These three tracks demand similar attention too. Every listen creates in the mind different points of convergence and fusion between the elements of the piece. It is an object that can be turned around and looked at from many angles. Of course, each person has their own individual way of approaching any work of art, and each approach brings new rewards.
“Another way of approaching the thing is to consider it unnamed, unnameable.” – Francis Ponge.
review by Richard Pinnell (the watchful ear):
from 'crow with no mouth', Jesse Goin's website:
Bruno Duplant throws open the windows to the world in his realization of Werder's deux trois choses ou presques, allowing the constant soft roar of that world to co-mingle and interpenetrate his offerings on arco bass, sine tones and horn. Duplant resolves Cage's the problem with sounds being music by a striking a ballast between the two, and achieves a fine result. The listener is allowed that pleasurable state, and I think Duplant sustains this throughout the duration of the score, of tuning in and out its discrete elements, sometimes dialing in the thrum of traffic, the chatter and laughter of children, sometimes focusing on the deft lacing and limning of his bass and sine tone work. Meanwhile, of course, they all sound throughout. The reader is encouraged to dig a little into Werder's approach to text-based scores and performance to support their appreciation of what Duplant has accomplished here. He creates an environment in which ordinary and commonly ignored sounds are subtly entwined with his playing, an environment in which the placement of attention serves as another dynamic element of the piece. This is, to date, my favorite offering by Duplant.
review by Daniel Barbiero on Avant News
review by Daniel Barbiero on Avant News
On this release double bassist/sound artist Bruno Duplant performs three verbal scores by composer Manfred Werder. Each score consists of a brief text taken from the French poet Francis Ponge; Duplant’s realizations, recorded in 2011 in Waziers and Douai in France, involve performances in settings in which ambient sounds played as significant a role as Duplant’s use of sine tones, double bass and horn.
The first piece, a realization of Werder’s 2009-4, sounds like it was recorded outdoors in a wooded setting. Sine tones gently rise and fall within the larger sonic space of birdsong, insect sounds and what could be wind and/or distant traffic. By contrast, the second piece, 2009-5, is played out against a background of artificial sounds. The track opens with the Doppler-effected sounds of passing traffic; one gradually becomes aware of the quiet encroachment of Duplant’s bowed bass. Changes of bow pressure and placement relative to the bridge produce subtle shifts of timbre and volume; the long, deep tones, separated by substantial rests, overlap with and complement the surrounding drone of automobile engines. The third track, a realization of 2010-2, seems to have been recorded indoors and opens with what sounds like footsteps on a wood floor. The relative quiet of the recording ambience is broken by the intrusion of sirens, a reminder of the human activity outside. Once again Duplant brings in long bowed tones separated by lengthy pauses; the time between tones becomes more compressed as the piece approaches its conclusion.
The scores have some constraining effect on the performance, though what that precise effect is does not make itself transparently obvious to the listener. The third score, for example, consists of two lines asserting a correspondence between the French phrase for “glass of water” (“verre d’eau”) and the object it describes, based on Ponge’s observation that the opening and closing letters of the phrase have the same vase-like shape as a drinking glass. The connection of Ponge’s observation to Duplant’s realization is something not immediately apparent; it takes place somewhere out of earshot, as it were, but the process of drawing the association would seem to be fundamental to the concept underlying the score. The performance lies as much in the performer’s (internal) act of interpretation as it does in the external execution or in the overt instruction of the score itself—the essence of the performance in this regard is something made invisible and, not incidentally, something beyond the control of the composer. This for Werder represents a deliberate pursuit of indeterminacy by way of a reduction of the role of the composer as well as the composition, which here functions more as an associative stimulant than as an unambiguous set of directions. As the performances on this recording demonstrate, any realization of these scores is a collective effort in which the performer plays a role equal to that of the composer. That Duplant’s choices in responding to Werder’s promptings are apt ones makes this a recording that succeeds at both the conceptual and practical levels.