FMP/FREE MUSIC PRODUCTION - An Edition of Improvised Music 1989-2004


Bert Noglik


In that space between worlds there is nothing to grab hold of. Between the worlds one floats backwards and forwards. Points of view prove to be transient, everything flows. "Accroche Note" finds its home in mobility, in a vital circulation of sounds. Reflecting the "other" worlds, the music after Webern and Jazz, "Accroche Note" does not follow any forced method, no style, no text-book wisdom. It is fascinating that, despite all this, an unmistakable group sound develops. It works, because the participants transcend the division of labour functions of composing and interpreting and involve themselves directly. "Accroche Note" is a composite of characters finding each other within the playing.

During this concert, during these recordings, improvisation proves essential, without excluding compositional elements. In fact the transitions and differences become almost indistinct when listening back. The 'fluently painted' picture seems to be cast from a single piece. The music frees itself from the confinements of composition as well as of the dogma of spontaneity and unfolds to become a sensual experience. Using a language of sounds from the end of the twentieth century, "Accroche Note" returns to something fundamental, which, at times, seems to have been forgotten in the course of refinement of methods and means. During this process the group adopts a very different set of virtues: the subtle illumination of sounds on the one hand, and rudimentary, expressive messages on the other.

The ensemble "Accroche Note" was founded 1981 in Strasbourg around the singer Françoise Kubler and the clarinet player Armand Angster. It was and is their intent to keep the music alive and to extend the spectrum from the appropriation of Modern music to New music, from collaboration with contemporary composers to free improvisation, from the unconventional performance to the scenic realisation of acoustic events; "Accroche Note" comes together in various line-ups, in order to encourage, again and again, communication within the group and to do justice to the varying musical contexts.

"Live in Berlin" lets us experience Françoise Kubler and Armand Angster with musicians, who work on those sound-rhythmical dimensions, which are already laid down in the duo situation: the extension towards percussive elements (most clearly audible in the singer's way of dealing with percussion, but also present in her singing) as well as the opposing or rather the interlocking of high/low, of soprano and bass, of vertiginous, soaring flights and bottoming out in the low registers. The members of this ensemble, through their experience in chamber music, know how to use different playing constellations from solo to varying dialogues to group-dynamic consolidation in the interest of an exciting creation of sound.

Even if some elements tend towards New Music, others towards Jazz, there is no breach, also one can always feel the physical quality of playing, the process of the pulse and the breathing. The communication processes, based on the elements of trust and surprise, often have a similarity to language - at times just because there is hardly a sound with any concrete meaning. The level of 'communication' seems more abstract and at the same time more rudimental than the day-to-day language, highly artificial and physical at the same time. The intensity of a scream is inherent in the singing as well as in the playing of the clarinets which, at times, is pushed so far back, that one only seems to hear whisper. Often, things are 'told', with a pleasant attitude, a musical gesture which, beyond the picturesque, can be perceived also on the level of mere listening.

It is impressive, that "Accroche Note" allows us to experience their own compositions, improvisation and processes of "instant composing" on the same level as the interpretation of the work of contemporary composers. This is only possible, because the ensemble is able to use their language, and does not have to take on the role of an estranged 'interpreter'. The integration of a composition of Pascal Dusapint, for example, suggests itself, because the ensemble has often been in close collaboration with him. Stockhausen's "Tierkreis", developed within the period of his own occupation with 'intuitive music', which, although not identical with improvisation, shows points of contact within a wider, more extended context. "Fontana Mix" by John Cage, a score dating back from 1958, which, in different layers stimulates different interpretations, finally brings in the aspect of chance. Even if the accidental is not identical with improvisation, with every performance of music, in particular of improvisation, the aspect of chance plays a role. In this sense, "Accroche Note" shows us different views of an occupation with the flow of music. Even more impressive than the fact, that compositions open up and improvisation finds a form, seems to me the matter-of-fact manner as to how "Accroche Note" manages to do all this. Reflection and sensuality very close to each other. A moving and stimulating experience, an experience of rare beauty.

Translation: Isabel Seeberg & Paul Lytton

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