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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Aurélien Besnard, Jean Pierre Jullian, Adrien Dennefeld - Echos (Rude Awakening, 2013) ****

By Stef

If you like modern clarinet music, or even modern music in general, I can highly recommend this trio with Aurélien Besnard on clarinet, Jean Pierre Jullian on percussions and Adrien Dennefeld on cello. The three musicians improvise freely and manage to create a really strong sonic universe, accessible, inventive and compelling. 

From the very first notes of "Caminando", Besnard's clarinet dives into deep emotional sounds, full of melancholy sadness, supported by repetitive hypnotic phrases of the cello and intense and dark sounds from the bass drum. And if anything, that's the band's real quality, to create a total sound with just three instruments, one that is coherent and powerful. Listen to the ominous "Eclats De Cercle", with menacing and monotone clarinet and cello propulsed forward by mad percussion, in a crescendo of darkness and volume.

Other pieces are calmer, such as the slowly developing "Stabile", a beautiful melancholy and eery piece, with stretched tones not moving too far from the tonal center, sparsely supported by cello. "Esprit Fugace" is more lively, with bouncing interaction of short bursts of sound in full free improv mode, which continues on "Babylone Est", a somewhat more lightfooted and joyful track.

The trio leads us through different emotional soundscapes, ending with the magnificent "Eclipse", a haunting piece again, with heartrending playing, creating a feeling that is at dark and yearning at the same time, full of suppressed hope and longing despair, making the album go full circle.

They have crafted something with a strong and recognisable voice, a great feat, and if the next album takes this even a step deeper and with more overall coherence, the result might even be more fabulous. 

Listen and buy from eMusic