Courvoisier, Sylvie / Abaton
Album: Abaton   Collection:Classical
Artist:Courvoisier, Sylvie   Added:Oct 2003
Label:Ecm Records (Jazz)  

A-File Activity
Add Date: 2004-02-23 Pull Date: 2004-04-26 Charts: Classical/Experimental
Week Ending: Mar 14 Mar 7 Feb 29
Airplays: 2 1 1

Recent Airplay
1. Jul 11, 2009: Music Casserole
Icaria 3
4. Mar 12, 2004: Memory Select
2. May 07, 2008: Eran Mukamel (titty-fucking mermaids)
5. Mar 07, 2004: Oh Messy Life
Nova Solyma
3. Sep 30, 2004: Thursday Morning
6. Mar 01, 2004: The Digital/Analog War
Icaria 1

Album Review
Captain Dee
Reviewed 2004-05-08
Sylvie Courvoisier - Abaton

This Swiss composer and pianist teams up with violinist Mark Feldman and cellist Erik Friedlander for an avant-garde experiment of improvisation. Courvoisier cites jazz as an influence in the liner notes, but don’t expect a jazz aesthetic or anything. CD 1 is tiring and overly-experimental, but CD 2 is really cool. Check it out (see below).

- Captain Dee (Doug)

CD 1 – "Four Compositions"
This CD was actually composed by Courvoisier, though it still emanates a strong feeling of improvisation. Courvoisier, in an album press release, discusses the theme of "creative forgetting." Somehow this is a very apt summary of the music, which just seems to "forget itself" and any sort of structure as it progresses. If you dig extremely free form, atonal interplay between violin, piano, and cello, this might be for you, but otherwise this improvisational experiment seem too obsessed with itself, and is lacking way too much focus to warrant any recognition. The technique of all three musicians is top notch, though.

1. 20 minutes of sparse, foreboding piano, with dramatic, unsettling cello and violin duo. The actual piano strings as well as keys are played towards the end, but it’s almost laughable at times.
2. Discordant piano mumblings are interrupted by small periods of dead silence. Again, the theme of self-forgetfulness is heavily present, and fittingly, this song is very forgettable. The end is particularly over-dramatic and grating.
3. More promising opening – meandering interaction of the string duo expresses the freeform statement of emotion that the trio intended. Degenerates into the same self-absorbed, avant-garde crap though. Better towards the end when the strings make a clearer attempt to interact.
4. More eerie sparseness and short silences punctured by sharp strings and foreboding piano. If David Lynch ever makes a dark, fucked-up Loony Toons movie, this should be the soundtrack. Pretty cool in the middle when the piano and strings become more active.

CD 2 – "Nineteen Improvisations"
19 short cello/violin/piano improvisations that flow together amazingly well. Most of the tracks feel very genuine, avoiding the failure that was CD 1. Very interesting stuff. Questions your conception of what music really is. Check this out, esp. tracks 1, 5, 8, 18.

*1. Reflective piano over atmospheric, continuous sustained strings. Very effective.
2. Quietly tragic, sparse string duet. Cool.
3. Wailing, dramatic violin over dark, sustained cello and richly colored piano chords.
4. Piano and both strings come together to interact the foreground – all three instruments still understatedly sad.
*5. Blippy, percussive noises with punctuated string and piano playing. Very bare on the whole. Compelling, in a weird, unsettling way. 6. More active string playing, alternating between harmony and dissonance. Up-tempo segments sharply contrasted with sparser, darker lulls.
7. Extremely disjointed piano and strings. Schizophrenic sound. Cacophonic and overly experimental.
*8. Slow and ponderous. Sadly effusive violin over sustained cello. Intermittent piano chords frame this violin lament beautifully. Powerful.
9. Dissonant, in-your-face cello/violin interaction. Understated at times, intense at others. Piano used for bizarre, percussive sound effects.
10. Eerie, chiming piano chords. Short track. Extremely minimal, but definitely cool.
11. Solo, reflective cello, Very short.
12. Staccato, broken interaction between the three instruments. Jarring, and lacking direction.
13. Violin with antagonizing cello.
14. Jarring sounds from the inside of the piano. This experiment totally fails.
15. Warbling, psychotic strings. Settles down a bit more by the end.
16. Piano and strings with short periods of silence. An atmosphere of curiosity.
17. A jumble of sound effects produced by the three instruments.
*18 String duet. Up-tempo. A feel of determination.
19. Mysterious, solo piano. Interesting chord colors.

Track Listing
1. Ianicum   12. Icaria 3
2. Orodruin   13. Sonnante
3. Poco a Poco   14. The Scar of Lotte
4. Abaton   15. Turoine
5. Icaria 1   16. Archaos
6. Imke's   17. Ava's
7. Icaria 2   18. Brobdingnag
8. Clio   19. Calonack
9. Nova Solyma   20. Precioso
10. Spensonia   21. Sekel
11. Octavia   22. Izaura
  23. Narnia