Dining Room Music

Quentin Dubost, Wade Matthews, Ingar Zach

& Stéphane Rives

℗ 2005 Creative Sources - cs039


Frans de Waard


Only one quartet here this time: Quentin Dubost (electric guitar), Wade Matthews (bass clarinet, alto flute), Stephane Rives (soprano saxophone) and Ingar Zach (percussion), 'recorded in the dining room of the Maison Bustros, Beirut, Lebanon on 21 August 2004'. It's one of the few Creative Sources releases where we get liner notes, about recording in a dining room, where these four people meet for the first time, at the Irtijial Festival in Lebanon, where they around in a circle. Three pieces in total some forty minutes of some highly intense microscopic playing. It's really tight and closed with the sounds being very closely together, like a very fine knitted pattern. The feedback in the second part seems to be coming from all four and make this into some nice group playing. More a group than the sum of four musicians. A highlight.


Massimo Ricci

As the title suggests, this quartet has been recorded in the dining room of Maison Bustros in Beirut. Their music basically moves in spurts, surrounded by a large ambience which makes it akin to a field recording and - for the same reason - it is one of those canvases containing the most disparate verisimilitudes with a "regular" listening setting, being perfectly integrated with everyday's options. The casual conversations and sheer kneadings of the first two sections reach for AMM-derived territories, only with less restriction as everything remains undetermined in a pretty impassible reciprocal observation; yet the final movement is beatifully intense, with Matthews' bass clarinet and Rives' soprano patiently breathing in a disclosure of intentions which find their definitive affirmation in the very last minutes, where electricity and air finally find their point of junction in intuitive spinosities.


Dan Warburton

Dining Room Music, eh? Correct me if I'm wrong but there seems to be some sort of allusion to Erik Satie's musique d'ameublement – furniture music – the celebrated precursor of Brian Eno's concept of ambient music. But that's as far as the analogy goes – even at low volume there's nothing remotely ambient about this gritty, challenging set of three improvisations by Quentin Dubost (guitar), Wade Matthews (bass clarinet and alto flute), Stéphane Rives (soprano sax) and Ingar Zach (percussion), recorded in the dining room – aha, that's why – of the Maison Bustros in Beirut on August 21st last year. On paper, Rives and Matthews might seem an odd pairing: the former is well known for his uncompromising sonic research into extreme registers and feedback (Fibres, on Potlatch), while Matthews is a more voluble player (witness his own recent Creative Sources solo outing, Aspirations and Inspirations). But the two prove to be eminently compatible, thanks to the skilful mediation of Zach, who's equally capable of playing the fast, clattery stuff as well as stripped down lowercase, and Dubost, whose guitar work throughout is most impressive. It's a solid, satisfying outing, which you could, I suppose, play during dinner – though I doubt whether any of the musicians would want to be held responsible for subsequent gastric disorders. Great stuff.


Tadeusz Kosiek

Ten tytul ma zapewne zwrocic uwage na role, jaka w procesie tworzenia muzyki pelni, dosc cz_sto pomijany milczeniem, czynnik (mo_e bardziej odpowiedni b_dzie termin: bodziec), jakim jest miejsce jej zarejestrowania. W przypadku muzyki improwizowanej wplyw ten moze byc nawet bardziej istotny niz sadzimy, poniewaz jest ona nie tylko w danym miejscu rejestrowana, ale, co szczegolnie nalezaloby podkreslic, tworzona. Okazuje sie, ze dla wielu artystow licza sie nie tylko specyficzne warunki akustyczne, o ktorych to najczesciej wspomina sie omawiajac nagrania powstale w opustosza_ych budynkach, starych swiatyniach, pustych zbiornikach, etc., ale wazne staja sie czynniki, nazwe je, „pozad_wi_kowe”: konotacje historyczne, estetyczne czy religijne. Sala jadalna bejruckiego "Maison Bustros" - wraz z przynaleznymi jej wszelkimi, bardziej lub mniej oczywistymi, elementami, do których naleza: wystroj (orientalne dywany i arrasy, zabytkowy_yrandol, stylowe meble, sciany pokryte boazeria, sporo wolnej przestrzeni), akustyka, swiatlo padajace na muzykow przez olbrzymie okna wychodz_ce na otaczaj_cy posiadlosc ogrod, a nawet i ro_liny w tymze ogrodzie rosnace, czy z rzadka dobiegajace odg_osy przejezdzajacych w oddali samochodow - staje si_ dodatkowym czynnikiem inspirujacym czwork_ improwizatorow; ma niewatpliwie niebagatelny wplyw na to, co i jak graja. Oczywiscie w tym przypadku nie nalezy spodziewac sie, ze wysluchamy muzyki stricte etnicznej, czy tez chocby hybrydy, w ktorej wyraznie zauwazalna bedzie bliskowschodnia tradycja - choc, kto wie, bo przeciez jakies sladowe orientalizmy mozna wychwycic. Jednak sa one na tyle przetworzone, zmutowane, zbastardyzowane, ze wcale nie musza nimi byc, moze to tylko sugestia... Jezyk, ktorym pos_uguja sie Dubost, Matthews, Rives i Zach to chyba dosc typowa dla obecnych czasow odmiana swobodnej improwizacji - postAMMowski sonorystyczny free improv, nieco moze bardziej drapiezny i z lekka klaustrofobiczny, muzyka raczej w stylu "The Crypt" niz "The Newfoundland". Dwoch Francuzow, mieszkaj_cy w Hiszpanii Amerykanin oraz Norweg, ktorzy spotkali sie w Bejrucie przy okazji festiwalu Irtijijal, zagrali ze soba po raz pierwszy. Zasiadlszy w kregu, obywajac sie bez wczesniejszych prob oraz wyczerpujacych ustalen, stworzyli trzy kilkunastominutowe nagrania, ktore porazic moga cisnieniem zawartych w nich emocji, zachwycic glebia i swoista soczystoscia brzmienia, zaskakiwac niezwyklym w tych okolicznosciach zgraniem i konsekwentna jednoscia. Muzyka - dosc oszczedna, ale nie ascetyczna, swobodna, ale nie chaotyczna, intensywna, ale nie halasliwa, prosta, ale nie prostacka - nie uwodzi powierzchownym pieknem melodii, lecz czaruje szlachetna surowoscia i potrafi zniewolic urokiem. Coz zatem mog_ dodac na koniec poza stwierdzeniem, ze pomimo tego, iz za nami dopiero polowa roku, i ze zapewne pojawi sie jeszcze wiele interesujacych plyt, to ja zaryzykuje stwierdzenie, ze "Dining Room Music" trafi na moja tegoroczna liste Top 10.


Eugenio Maggi

Featuring Quentin Dubost at electric guitar, Wade Matthews at bass clarinet and alto flute, Stéphane Rives at soprano saxophone and Ingar Zach at percussions, "Dining Room Music" features three remarkable improvised tracks, recorded in the dining room of the Maison Bustros in Beirut. The liner notes question the tradition according to which "the ideal recording [...] is the one in which the music exists in a sort of vacuum, insulated from all possible interference and so thoroughly manipulated that no trace remains of where it was actually recorded". The "where" is, in this case, is the "resonant marble-floored dining room of the Palais Bustros". What I ask myself is: would have I listened to the cd in the same way hadn't I been influenced by the gorgeous photos of the Maison, after reading that its "high windows welcome light conveniently filtered by garden foliage"? Autosuggestion can enhance a listening experience, but also be distracting sometimes. Anyway, this recording does convey an idea of spatiality. It's a warm performance full of restrained movements giving birth to fragile filaments of sound - but also powerful scrapings and hisses battling above the low-end drone generated by the percussions (or so I guess).


Jason Bivins

Dining Room Music (Creative Sources 039) is from a very intriguing quartet consisting of Quentin Dubost on guitar, Ingar Zach on percussion, Stéphane Rives on soprano saxophone, and Wade Matthews on bass clarinet and alto flute. More than most of the releases in this batch, it’s a meeting (recorded in August 2004 at a festival in Beirut, of all places) of two somewhat different approaches to free improvisation: Dubost and Rives tend towards what is often misleadingly called “lowercase” music while Matthews and Zach display a greater affinity with more effusive, expressionist improvisation. Each musician gets an insane range of sounds out of his instrument and, needless to say, conventional properties are rarely audible. As the quartet finds its way through the first piece, the dominant voice is Zach’s as he rubs and bows to create massive low end spectres that send the other players scurrying. The best moments of this piece, as on the other two, are the more subdued ones since the heat and fire tend to obscure Rives’ subtle contributions in particular. The second piece connotes the tall bamboo pictured on the cover, with deep resonant wet noises dropping amidst actively clattering wood amid hazy heat (though I occasionally find Matthews’ busy contributions to be a bit distracting). But the promise of the meeting is fully realized in the gorgeous third piece, where anguished saxophones moan in restraint while Dubost sizzles.


Frank Messel

Dette er et særs intenst stykke improvisasjonsmusikk, samtidig både forfinet og kraftfullt. Quentin Dubost på elektrisk gitar, Wade Matthews og Stèphane Rives på diverse blåsere, samt norske, Madrid-bosatte Ingar Zach på perkusjon, utgjør et kollektiv med sjeldent sterk kohesjon. At konstellasjonen ikke er godt innkjørt, men tvert om rykende fersk, forteller om gode individuelle ferdigheter, tekniske så vel som kommunikative. Sånn apropos: i augustnummeret av The Wire utnevner Brian Morton Nordens mest spennende trommeslager. En nokså freidig påstand (jeg røper vel ingen hemmeligheter når jeg sier at hyllesten hans ikke gjaldt Ingar Zach) som, om ikke annet, fikk meg til å fundere litt over hva forskjellen mellom en trommeslager og perkusjonist eventuelt kunne være. Jeg har for eksempel alltid tenkt på Ingar Zach som det siste, ganske enkelt fordi han knapt nok slår på en eneste tromme, men heller skraper, gnir og rasler med alt mulig annet. Finnes det ingen distinksjon, så våger jeg å påstå at Morton har gjort seg skyldig i en forglemmelse. La gå at den slags prestasjonsmessige rangeringer strengt tatt hører mer hjemme i sportsfeltet – jeg er ganske sikker på at Morton også mener at det ikke er rimelig å sammenligne musikere på det nivået det her er snakk om, ved å si at den ene er bedre enn den andre, eller mer spennende for den saks skyld; de er kort og godt forskjellige. Spisestuen det henspilles på i tittelen – nydelig avbildet på omslaget – befinner seg helt konkret i Palais Bustros i Beirut. Et dunkelt og klassisk-aristokratisk interiør som for anledningen fungerte som innspillingssted med mikrofoner festet i lysekronen. Det utradisjonelle valget av innspillingssted blir i omslagsteksten gjenstand for institusjonspolitiske refleksjoner. Rommet påståes å fylle avstanden mellom musikerne med sin aura og naturlige klanglige egenskaper for slik å utgjøre kvartettens femte medlem. Greit nok, vi gjenkjenner diskursen fra kunstfeltet med sine teorier omkring den hvite kuben. I motsetning til hva tilfelle var med John Butchers ”Cavern of Nightlife” (Weight of Wax) fra 2004, fremstår strategien her som konseptuell staffasje. For selve lytteropplevelsen er den i alle fall av marginal betydning. Musikken klarer seg utmerket på egenhånd.


Guillaume Tarche

L’expérience vécue à l’audition de cette musique tire une partie de sa force, semble-t-il, de ses conditions d’enregistrement en août 2004 à Beyrouth par Vincent Fromont : ayant suspendu ses micros au lustre de la dining room de la Maison Bustros, l’ingénieux du son réussit à immerger l’auditeur au cœur du cercle des musiciens (une disposition habituellement réservée aux répétitions et finalement peu exploitée, que ce soit en concert ou au disque – je ne parle pas ici des systèmes domestiques de diffusion hi-fi dont le surround n’est souvent que vainement spectaculaire ; les choses évoluent cependant ces derniers temps, et dans la captation et dans la restitution) ; l’écoute y gagne une acuité particulière, au-delà du bombardement de toute part que l’on craindrait à tort.

Point de fébrilité ici mais une activité en réunion, sans obstruction, qui maintient en l’air une miniature de complexe portuaire, un jeu de cartes follement aéroperforées pour un orgue de Barbarie encore à inventer, un ciel de trous d’air… Le grand et long frotteur Ingar Zach (perc) trouve en Quentin Dubost (elg) un autre fin trameur tandis que les souffles harmonico-stratosphériques de Stéphane Rives (ss) et Wade Matthews (fl, bcl) tressent, fendent et modifient l’écorce (soyeuse, grenue, rêche, torsadée) de ces faisceaux de lianes, dans un travail, élégant sans afféterie, des matières et une magnifique habitation des durées.


Michael Anton Parker

Recorded in a unique opulent room in Beirut, Lebanon, this 2004 quartet session is an outstanding example of free improvisation breaking new musical ground closer to notationalists like Xenakis and Dumitrescu than previous generations of improvisors by introducing new timbres and avoiding narrative structures. It's practically meaningless to describe the instrumentation by its surface of electric guitar (Dubost), bass clarinet or alto flute (Matthews), soprano sax (Rives), and percussion (Zach), because each of the musicians has developed an unconventional vocabulary that typically obscures the instrument's identity and overlaps with the others. Further, the overriding structural tendency is to unify the individual parts into sustained textures or sound masses whose power is lost to a listener trying identify these parts instead of experiencing the extended forms traversed by the whole. This is achieved at both very low and fairly high volumes with very few rapid dynamic transitions, and a loose similarity to Xenakis' Kraanerg can be cited, including the brooding and gruelling qualities of some of the passages that never devolve into noisy mush thanks to the strictly acoustic sound sources of Matthews, Rives, and Zach, and the careful post-Rowe electroacoustic sounds of Dubost. Sonorous and gritty sounds are given equal prominence by all four musicians, with Zach emphasizing long tones generated by bowing and rubbing various objects (and I believe using small motored devices to make textures from fast dull clicks), Rives using his utterly original vocabulary of seething and cascading fricatives, Dubost nursing thin layers of feedback and pickup burrs, and Matthews issuing piercing long tones, breath textures, etc. For an ad hoc free improv ensemble, the lapses in focus are remarkably infrequent and have their own charm as layers peel away and eventually get replaced. For long stretches we are treated to riveting and gritty anti-narrative improv of the highest quality.


Eduardo Chaga

Em Dining Room Music (cs039), encontramos um quarteto formado por Quentin Dubost (guitarra), o próprio Wade Matthews (clarinete baixo e flauta alto), Stéphane Rives (saxofone soprano) e Ingar Zach (percussão), disposto em círculo na sala de jantar da Maison Bustros, um palacete situado em Beirute, Líbano. A gravação é de Agosto de 2004. A música, geralmente tranquila e em baixo volume, expõe toda a riqueza de padrões e complexidade da trama e da teia com que se tece, algures entre o lowercase e arroubos de maior expressividade. Ocasionalmente, há um ou outro som que rompe a barreira das frequências médias, sulcando o gratinado quase constante. As parcerias e combinações ad-hoc entre os dois franceses, o norte-americano e o norueguês, improvisadores de diferentes backgrounds e vocabulários, são bem demonstrativas da extrema versatilidade e adaptabilidade das estratégias individuais postas ao serviço de uma linguagem comum. A improvisação colectiva, que ocupa a maior parte dos 40 e poucos minutos de duração do disco, não anula a intervenção individual, sobretudo no tema final, permitindo que se ouça uma ou outra voz por cima da animada conversa, coisa normal durante um jantar. A luz que entra pelas janelas do palacete ilumina este festim de diferentes timbres instrumentais que se harmonizam em longas passagens, sem jamais perderem interesse e concentração.

Material de primeira qualidade.