Peter Jacquemyn

el NEGOCITO Records eNR068

Deepening an approach to bottom-sourced pitches within group improvisation is Belgian double bassist Peter Jacquemyn who has previously determined that an abundant musical program can be created exclusively from the textures available from four or five basses. Upping the ante on Fundament the two extended and two brief tracks that make up this disc pull a polyphonic collection of chiaroscuro tunes out from an ensemble consisting of five double basses, two pedal-point pitched brass instruments (trombone and tuba); five nephritic-yawning saxophones, with ranges dipping from baritone to tubax, and the subterranean vocal growls of all 11 participants.

In essence “Blow” and “Earth” the two concise tracks are means as intermezzos. The first demonstrates how swiftly and treble pitched everyone can play is a respite between the two-part title tracks, while the concluding “Earth” succinctly highlights and actualizes into the theme, all the buzzing and whistling expressions and contrasts which have been shaped and molded during the extended tracks.

Like variations on bespoke tailoring, both of the improvisations include multiple affinities. The sonic equivalent of bias-cut for individuality, such a concept is familiar to Jacquemyn, who besides playing with the likes of Evan Parker is an acknowledged wood sculptor. Pitch-sliding emphasis on chalumeau sequences often makes the sounds earth-shaking as well as intensely personal. As the ground-bass priorities advance however, the undulating mass expands into upper registers as well as lower ones. Still, only three-quarters through “Fundament A” do crackling hunting-horn-like blats from the brass work their way out from the contrapuntal polyphony. More crucially the slow-moving discord is personalized at the end by mouth gurgles that suggest Tuvan and Inuit throat singing as well as less pleasant human retches and choking. Returning to the narrative in “Fundament B” at points musical palindromes are introduced to the exposition, which shifts between unison fortissimo explosions from all concerned and hushed singular asides where skittering double bass lines, brass guffaws, and sinewy reed pressure can be identified. After a downshifting pause double bass wood-slapping and supple tongue smears from the saxophones redefines the narrative which propels one last surge of strained repetative energy that splinters into a conclusion of fading tone and vocal burbles.

Proof that there are enough pitches available from officially designated bottom-pitched instruments to create a colorful program, Fundament’s triumph is its enlargement of low tones past what most consider their limitations.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Fundament A 2. Blow 3. Fundament B 4. Earth


Personnel: Matthias Muche (trombone, voice); Jan Pillaert, Carl-Ludwig Hübsch (tuba, voice); Mathieu Lilin, Gregoire Tirtiaux (baritone saxophone, voice); Peter Verdonck (bass saxophone, voice); Eric Sleichim (tubax, voice): Yannick Peeters, Pieter Lenaerts, Kristof Roseeuw, Lode Leire, Peter Jacquemyn (bass, voice)