Monday, November 18, 2019

Marc Edwards and Guillaume Gargaud - Black Hole Universe (Atypeek Music, 2019)

There is a charming story behind this impressive recording, where seasoned free jazz and experimental rock drummer Marc Edwards was contacted via social media by a hitherto unknown French guitarist named Guillaume Gargaud who asked out of the blue if they could perform and record together. Edwards was skeptical, but after learning that the guitarist was coming to New York soon and seeing a youtube clip of him in action, he decided to give it  a shot. It was a wise decision, after playing a live performance together that went well, a recording date was scheduled as they locked in well together, the live session flowed smoothly for the duo and they transferred their energy to the studio creating spontaneous creative improvisations, harvesting that energy they had discovered playing together live a few days prior. The music comes out white hot, beginning with "Volcanic Eruptions on Io" as the duo creates an exciting amalgam of free jazz and progressive rock that is played at a very fast tempo and demands great stamina and technical expertise from the performers. Both musicians are more than up to the task and engage with each other completely, exploring the available territory as Gargaud extends the playing field with guitar effects and rapid fingering and Edwards uses a wide range of percussion instruments in addition to a traditional drum kit to vary the texture and granularity of his sound. The title track "Black Hole Universe" takes us even further out moving from modern psychedelia to the spiritual jazz realms and resolving to a pummeling duet performance that doesn't let up. Eventually, the sound opens up and they played music using softer dynamics, on the track "Supernova Aftermath" which allows more space into the music and gives the musicians a chance to take their improvisation in a different direction, one that involves gradation of sound rather than full out squalls of noise. This works well as a change of pace, allowing this section to be characterized by constant change and progress, allowing them to set up for the final push to the finish line. "Electrical Acoustic Synapses" ends the album in excellent fashion, with increasingly developing music that is complex and intricate, inhabiting outer and inner space, gradually unfolding like a time lapse flower, with pulsating rhythms around the guitar and drums that evoke a sudden storm. The duo plays with frenetic abandon, in a wildly excited and enthusiastic whirling dervish like maelstrom of sound, creating magic seemingly out of thin air. This album worked very well, and it's hard to believe that the musicians had only played together once before heading into the studio to record this album. Things went so smoothly that their spontaneous performances from the recorded session are presented here in their entirety, without any editing. Fans of avant garde jazz or experimental rock music should definitely make time to check this album out, the music is fresh, the performers are deeply engaged and the results are very impressive. Black Hole Universe -

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