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Monday, October 17, 2022

Louis Sclavis - Les Cadences Du Monde (JMS, 2022)

By Guido Montegrandi

This record is inspired by a photography book, in turn inspired by a travel book; this is the path that led from L’Usage du Monde by Nicolas Bouvier (1963) to L’Usure du Monde by Frédéric Lecloux (2008) and finally to Les Cadences du Monde by Louis Sclavis (2022). In a sense it is a multimedia, multi-time, multi-author work and now it’s our turn to take part in this journey. We can go all the way down, read the book, watch the photos, listen to the music or we can opt for one of the paths, which is what we will be doing here as we follow Les Cadences du Monde to discover what pictures it has to show and what stories it has to tell.

The journey described in the book which is the origin of our story covers a six month travel from Zurich trough Yugoslavia, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan made in 1953 on a Fiat Topolino (a very small economy car), the photography book depicts the same journey 50 years later. The music of Les Cadences du Monde is like a synthesis of the two, largely reminiscent of the direction of this journey but in personal non-didascalic way.

Sclavis is no stranger to music in relation with voyages and photography (see the splendid Carnet de Routes with Romano and Texier and Le Querrec, 1995) and this record confirm his idea of a journey through music and pictures. In this case, though, the images are just a declared inspiration. If you want to see the pictures you have to search for L’usure du Monde - which I really suggest you to do.

Now some information:

The musicians and their tools: Louis Sclavis, clarinets, Annabelle Luis, cello, Bruno Ducret, cello, Keyvan Chemirani, zarb, percussion – possibly a chamber music set with a twist toward the music of the world given by the sound of percussions,

The title: a cadence in western music theory is the end of a phrase in which the melody or the harmony (usually) creates a sense of consonance . Indeed a sense of consonance is something we can feel even if more often we feel a sense of suspension.

The most relevant feature of this work are: melodies, many beautiful melodies often following scales and pattern inspired by eastern music, rhythmic breaks with a melodic development (Les chaos du monde, Les chaos du monde), pizzicato to create a counterpoint to the long sustained melodic lines (Ce logis dépouillé ), glimpses of western chamber music (Les deux ècritures, Montée aux étoiles), percussions to end it all (Red point).

The pictures by which Sclavis has been inspired suggest a sense of strain, his music instead seems to escape from this feeling thanks to the balance that the melodies create, they sound like memories of a snap-shot, the picture is here but the moment is gone and we’re moving on to the next moment in time and space.

Nicolas Bouvier starts his book l’Usage du Monde freely quoting Shakespeare “I shall be gone and live. Or stay and die” (the original was “I must be gone and live…” from Romeo and Juliet) So moving over is what saves your life and moving over is what music does here, from place to place through time.

Because the idea of travelling is such a central point to all of this work I found myself thinking about what makes a journey worth being travelled (personal point of view of course). A list of words to describe this idea would include : energy, nostalgia, desire, movement, changing horizons, encounters, light and sounds so, yes, for me Les Cadences du Monde is a journey worth being travelled.