(Tour De Bras)

Jim Denley (flute, alto sax, objects) and Tour de Bras label honcho Éric Normand (electric bass, objects) do not believe in mere descriptions or pseudo-philosophical explanations to justify an improvisation. Released one year after a first collection of duets (Plant, on Smeraldina-Rima), Plant II offers five joint studies in the dissection and/or enhancement of the humming + buzzing + rattling + squealing properties of mechanisms set in motion via unorthodox tampering.

Let’s be clear from the start: the respect of predetermined “aesthetic laws” — possibly tending to an immediate agreement with someone’s ears — is not a priority for the Australian/Quebecoise pair. Their hands-on approach implies a radical exploitation of the theoretical conflicts within sonic diversity, the subsurface tensions between abnormal upper partials and tiny agglomerations of noisy components originating the sort of interference that may even irritate a sizable chunk of unacquainted audience.

In such a context, the instrumental identities are often camouflaged, if not out-and-out destroyed. And when the timbres are recognizable, the feeling is still closer to a rather admirable “couldn’t-care-less-about-palatability” quasi-punk attitude. However, when Denley and Normand unleash the invisible forces inhabiting the darkest caves of acoustic filthiness, an impressive array of magnified micro-events appears as a completely new world. It’s a place where categories aren’t required, the actual nature of an uglier soundwave exposing its cantankerous nakedness without restraint, a pitiless disfigurement of what is familiar revealing at last a praiseworthy artistic rectitude.