Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sylvain Guérineau - Dies Irae (Amor Fati, 2007) ****

There is more to come about Sylvain Guérineau, later. Here, he plays alto and baritone sax, solo, with a lot of chamber effect, as if he's playing in a church or something, and that is correct, now that I check it, recorded on the 25th of October in the church of Saint Côme and Saint Damien in Luzarches in France. Don't ask me where it is or who those saints are or why it takes two saints to name a church. He plays sax as if his life depends on it : fierce, violent, but meditative too. It is quite enjoyable. Guérineau started his career as an accountant in a bank. He played sax in the local brass band as a kid. He liked listening to music, but forgot about his instrument. Only later, when his own kids were older, did his former creative interests come back, adding painting to it. As he writes it himself on his website : "Then, I tried to recuperate the time I lost : Soutine, Fautrier, Van Velde, Dubuffet, guided by my holy trinity : Bach, Coltrane, Basquiat. I do not paint paintings, but rather fetishes, talismans, "botchios" : those sculpted pillars that people in Benin put at the entrance of villages to keep evil spirits away and to protect its inhabitants. I would like to achieve with my music and my paintings a kind of wildness. Wildness against "barbarie" (a French word which is hard to translate : something like stupid uncivilized cultureless violence), as if painting and music took hold of reality, as if paint brushes could erase human misery". The cover art of all individual CDs of the entire label is hand-painted by him. There are surely sax players with more technical skills than Guérineau. But there aren't many with the same attitude. And the latter shines through in his music.


Jean Francois said...

Bonjour Stef,

Here is some information regarding the two saints and the Luzarches church where the music was recorded:

The church is dedicated to the two saints Cosmas and Damian, physicians originally from Asia Minor (Modern Turkey), who graciously curied the sick, both humans and animals. Returning from the crusades, the count Jean de Beaumont carried the relics of the brothers Cosmas and Damian to Luzarches in 1160.

Bye the way, Dies Irae means Jour de colère or Day of Wrath. Fitting, I guess.

This looks like a very interesting album. Thanks.

Jean Francois

Stef said...

Thanks Jean-François!

Very instructive.


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