May 17, 2019
Raymond Boni/Jean Claude (JC) Jones
Visions of Sound
Kadima Collective KCR 49
Windemo & Strid
The Mattön Sessions No.4
Mowinde Records MW CD 010
Unexpected but unabashed duo sessions, these two CDs redefine the very concept of guitar-oriented music. With the string instrument’s capacity to soothe and swing pushed to one side, each twosome concentrates on mating astringent textures, odd meters and rhythmic freedom into an uncommon program.
Although Visions of Sound may appear to be a standard dual guitar session, only one player, Montpellier-based Raymond Boni, plays the regular guitar, as well as electronics and harmonica. Meanwhile Boni, a veteran French string sound explorer, who has worked with fellow experimenters such as Joëlle Léandre and André Jaume, is hooked up here with Jerusalem’s Jean Claude (JC) Jones, who percussively plays a lap-style, plugged-in, Spanish guitar, A champion of free music in Israel for many years, Jones has played with the likes of Léandre and John Zorn. On the other hand, The Mattön Sessions No.4 is reminiscent of the spiky duets Derek Bailey played with Roger Turner among others, although the protagonists are two Swedes. Improvising in tandem in the years since 2005, are drummer Raymond Strid, known for his collaborations with the likes of Barry Guy and Mats Gustafsson, and younger guitarist Mattias Windemo, who has played with Karin Krogh, Joakim Milder and others.
Pointedly described as “duets”, to confirm the nine track-session’s non-hierarchical nature, the barbed rapport divides call-and-response strategies between the two, Windemo’s repeated strums, slurred fingering and pin-point picking fits appropriately among Strid’s percussion strategies. For instance a pluck from the guitar’s highest-pitched string is answered by echoing cymbal pops, while echoing rasgueado leads to swift cogwheel ratcheting sounds on the drummer’s part. That’s how the interaction evolves throughout the session, with the guitarist’s cursive and/or probing string extensions bringing forth hyper-inventive decorations from Strid with intonation that resemble electronic crackles and shuffle, sizzle-tick-like pops on drum tops or even replication of a bouncing ball echo. By “Duo 7” the cloaked energy that undulates beneath the interaction become more prominent as slide guitar-like runs with enough power to cut through wire forge a discursive path. Meanwhile mallet cymbal whacks rub against guitar timbres to create an extended echoing climax. More torque is added to each player’s performance during the final three tracks with concentrated rumble and trebly note sprays. Then on the final “Duo 9” Strid loosens his reach to rub, probe and vibrate nearly every part of his kit and auxiliary add-ons, with the resulting narrative further colored by Windemo arching and then almost immediately lowering his twangs from the highest to lowest reverberations. Blended percussion ratamacues and voluminous string strums mark the ending, with a final, single stick ping as the defining coda.
Jones’ lap-style guitar takes the place of percussion on Visions of Sound. And the keen rhythmic sense displayed is no surprise from a musician who was a double bass player for most of his life. At the same time the percussion rebounds he creates on a track like “Duo 2” provide the backing for the chiming and bottleneck-guitar-like distortions and contribute to circular tone elaborations. The jagged, slack key and in-between tone discursions Boni adds to his exposition provide perfect counterpoint to Jones’ strategies. Although sometimes both drop the rhythmic role and try to outdo one another as on “Duo 6” with off-centre, almost out-of-tune string duets. Boni’s electronics rarely interfere with the narratives, while his harmonica playing is primitive enough to provide paced wah-wah echoes on “Duo 3” and “Duo 8”. However on the second tune, the mouth-organ’s whistles and reedy blowing serves as high-pitched accompaniment for Jones’ perhaps mallet helped smacks and rebounds that play up the percussive properties of his lap-style arrangement. While the swift and sharp string picking on “Duo 9” could be heard as a classic dual guitar showcase one would expect from the Delmore Brothers or Muddy Waters-Jimmy Rogers, by the last few tracks the two prove their exploratory bone fides by mixing trebly distortions and unexplained effects with straight-ahead strumming and slurred fingering. Knife-style vibrations, high-pitched cries and contorted flanges are prominent on the concluding “Duo 12” with dual output tapering into echoing tones by the finale.
The guitar may be the most universally played instrument. But these CD show that originality that can still be expressed on string-oriented sessions.
Track Listing: Mattön: 1. Duet 1 2. Duet 2 3. Duet 3 4. Duet 4 5. Duet 5 6. Duet 6 7/ Duet 7 8. Duet 8 9. Duet 9
Personnel: Mattön: Mattias Windemo (guitar) and Raymond Strid (drums)
Track Listing: Visions: 1. Duo Improvisation 1 2. Duo Improvisation 2 3. Duo Improvisation 3 4. Duo Improvisation 4 5. Duo Improvisation 5 6. Duo Improvisation 6 7. Duo Improvisation 7 8. Duo Improvisation 8 9. Duo Improvisation 9 10. Duo Improvisation 10. Duo Improvisation 10 11, Duo Improvisation 11 12. Duo Improvisation 12
Personnel: Visions: Jean Claude Jones (lap-style plugged in Spanish guitar) and Raymond Boni (guitar, live electronics and harmonica)