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Thursday, November 9, 2023

Skoric/Jacquemyn/Tirtiaux/Stokart – gpaq (Qeerecords, 2023)


By Fotis Nikolakopoulos

Slowly, without any hurry or plan, Qeerecords, run by guitarist Qunetin Stokart, is building a strong catalogue of very interesting and challenging improv recordings, housed in DIY handmade sleeves with unique artwork. With totally decent prices, the label’s bandcamp page is worth checking out.

All of the label’s recordings are impromptu, one-off meetings by the artists. A never revealed openly, but always on the forefront improvisational ethos runs through each release. Like this CD, one of the latest, gpaq, a quartet by Gregoire Tirtiaux on saxophone, Peter Jacquemyn on double bass, Aleksandar Skoric on drums and Quentin Stokart on guitar.

Consisting of two tracks, with the first, clocking on over half an hour, being the core of the CD, gpaq feels like a journey. Named, with an absolute lack of willingness to find any titles, part 1, this live recording from February 2023 brings the non verbal language of improvisation at the forefront. Egoless as their playing is, they start, continue and finish in unison with any solo voices being present. You will find no other info on the bandcamp page than just the basic. When was it recorded and who plays what. But it is the concept of the music: right here, right now, that takes hold of the listener.

Without reserving to blowouts, the musicians provide a constant flow of ideas and energy. There’s always the danger, for the untrained to the peculiarities of improvisation ear, of judging the music as an event that “nothing” ever happens or that “everything” sounds the same –when the solo voices are missing. But this exactly is the big advantage of gpaq. The solo voices, the virtuosity of the individual player with the hierarchy that brings along, is replaced by the collective imaginings of what music could or should be. The musical answers the four artists provide, are strong and very convincing.

Listen and buy here: