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Alessandro Bosetti/Michel Doneda/Bhob Rainey - Placés dans l'Air

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Artist: Alessandro Bosetti/Michel Doneda/Bhob Rainey

Album: Placés dans l'Air

Label: Potlatch

Review date: Sep. 25, 2003

Placés dans l'Air is a meeting of three soprano saxophonists: the young American experimentalist Bhob Rainey, French free improviser Michel Doneda and Alessandro Bosetti from Milan. The music these three make is related to a new sort of improv that generally depends more on noise than notes, and is influenced by musique concrete, environmental sounds and modern composition as well as traditional/"traditional" free improvisation.

It is a testament to the relative newness of this music that music criticism doesn't quite know what to do with it yet. Jack Wright's recent music and Rainey's music sound obviously different. But many reviews of both artists – including some of my own – do little more than list the noises the artists make ("growls," "sputters") or attempt to describe how weird or "free" the music is by plotting it on a line with Phil Woods at one end and Evan Parker on the other. Not only does "more out than Evan Parker" not mean much, but as Rainey likes to point out, it gives the false impression that his music (or Doneda's, or Bosetti's) is based on the same ideas as Parker's to begin with.

So I apologize for describing Placés dans l'Air as a collection of clicks, breathy hisses, and multiphonics. Bosetti, Doneda and Rainey are hard to tell apart here, since they all play the same instrument and their playing feels more like a single sound than an improvisation by three soloists. In contrast with Rainey’s duo project nmperign, there isn’t much silence: the album feels as if someone is playing most of the time, which may be partly because Pierre-Olivier Boulant’s excellent recording nicely captures even the smallest sounds. Regardless, Placés dans l'Air seems to flow continuously, like a single shifting texture.

Still, Placés dans l'Air is similar to nmperign in that its extended-technique noises aren’t employed in the language of free jazz. In fact, they’re not used for traditionally expressive purposes at all – the sounds are by turns similar to those of microphone feedback, bird calls and household appliances. Although the sounds were surely influenced by electronic sounds and sounds of nature, however, the disc also possesses a very human feeling – the recording feels imperfect, as if the mics were placed a few feet away from the musicians, and many of the sounds obviously sound like human breath going through a tube. In other words, Doneda, Bosetti and Rainey ultimately sound like saxophonists, and Placés dans l'Air is rich and unpredictable, as well as highly idiosyncratic.

By Charlie Wilmoth

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