MUCH REMAINS TO BE HEARD
STÉPHANE RIVES SOPRANO SAX SOLO
all music by stéphane rives (SACEM)
recorded in october 2007 at villa bustros, achrafieh beirut
recording mixing and mastering by stéphane rives
artwork and design by mazen kerbaj
produced in lebanon by al maslakh
CD LINER NOTES
In my first solo record, Fibres* , the physicality of sound - meant in both dimensions of physics and corporality - made the listener instantaneously captive of the predominant high-pitches, the density of the textures and the stretched durations. It offered to hear a work in progress, where the assumed presence of labour took part in the process of the music itself, putting in question the very act of listening by forcefully imposing its occupation of place and time. For instance the process created by the combination of mechanical and acoustic factors proper to the saxophone could bring the totality of desired random events, but paradoxically also had the negative effect of constraining the sound field into a space that is very difficult to mould. Guided by this paradox, I was first drawn towards extending the duration of the solo to exhaust it's intrinsic possibilities, but the repeated experience of live situations lead me to a transformed problematic. This new solo presents itself less as a continuity of Fibres, but rather as an "introspection" of the elements present there, emancipated from their agglomerated state. The progressive discontinuous density of this piece gives silence a its role of quasi existential questioning yet liberating the listener from its apparent formalism, allowing him to relocate his listening in a space and a temporality that is his own. This autonomy pushes, I believe, towards an increase of tension and expectation. This solo is neither an improvisation nor a composition. The sound elements created through improvising are not ordered according to a premeditated composition, but rather by a shaping of intuitions derived from concert experiences. The piece was built in a natural and continuous equilibrium where sounds seem to generate one another within their structural components - intensity, dynamics, duration, stability, thickness...
Stéphane RIVES - Beirut, January 2008
* CD released in 2003 on Potlatch 303
A technically extraordinary disc on the excellent Lebanese based Al Maslakh label. Like Seymour Wright, Stéphane Rives's solo saxophone experiments can make John Butcher sound like Lester Young. The high-pitched, sustained, one-hour track on Much Remains To Be Heard is right at the upper threshold of hearing [...]
Soprano saxophonist Stephane Rives produces the musical equivalent to literary author Cormac McCarthy's best selling novel The Road. Written in such sparse prose, readers are required to utilize their imaginations and fill in the landscape of this post-apocalyptic novel. Rives' one hour solo doesn't conjure the visual, but its spartan approach does start the imagination machine in your head. Rives purposely places large gaps of silence in this lengthy piece, focusing the mind on the music and, truthfully, allows outside sounds to enter the listening experience. His sometimes-shrill saxophone pauses, and you hear the mail carrier at your front door, or maybe the refrigerator is accompanying Rives with a mechanical hum. The saxophonist invites the outside in. He dictates the pace of your listening, and each individual's consciousness counts for the outcome. The experience of this recording varies whether you listen while meditating, eating, dreaming or on the metro.
Soprano saxophonist Stéphane Rives‚s second solo CD is as radical and more severe. Five years ago Fibres (Potlatch) applied severe reduction to the straight horn‚s potential materials, concentrating on single tones at the edge of hearing in ways that eliminated the player‚s personality from the played sound. It was all about unsettling the listener‚s experience of listening. Much Remains To Be Heard is even more challenging. The last shreds of saxophonishness are gone, leaving mainly wavering tones and degraded buzzes that sound more like something Toshimaru Nakamura might get out of his no-input mixing board than any product of breath, reeds, and metal tubing. The CD presents an hour-long house performance unbroken, the better to preserve the stretches of silence that isolate and frame each discrete sound exposition. This isn‚t really music, it‚s sound creation as a means of inquiry into its own nature and the effect it has upon the listener. Get it for the trip, not the destination.
Exclusively blowing into a soprano saxophone, Stéphane Rives signs the second solo album recorded at his name following 2003’s Fibers on Potlatch. By defining this music “neither an improvisation, nor a composition”, Rives delivers the reviewer from the burden of an apparently inevitable classification, at the same time opening a whole assortment of interpretations to something that, purely and simply, appears like a meshing of physical and metaphysical, a subtle line separating a charged hush from the extreme tension that a bodily contraption generates, and that gets reflected in the shape of prolonged insufflations, or in the wavering piercing buzzing of adjacent harmonics. It’s not an undemanding task.
When last heard from in a solo context, Rives was turning his conceptual microscope on small slivers of sound capability within his soprano. Well, he appears to have increased the magnification a hundred fold or so, now concentrating on the molecular level. A single piece (with several substantial silences), Rives begins with very high, sinelike tones, not all that far from a Sachiko performance and gradually fans out into adjacent clusters. There are times when it perhaps falls on the "science experiment" side of things, but then, on a few occasions, you suddenly find yourself amidst great and unusual beauty. Once about midway through, before you know it, there are four or five things occurring in a complex weave. Later, a low throb does odd things to one's ears. Very dense, tough stuff. Again, something I'd love to have heard live, to experience these sounds in a live space, but...Fine work. Rives remains the one saxophonist I'm most interested in hearing these days.
Stéphane Rives to młody francuski saksofonista, który przebojem wdarł się do świata muzyki improwizowanej, znajdując swoje własne miejsce w ustronnej niszy jej elektroakustycznej odmiany. Jego debiutancka płyta "Fibres" (Potlatch 2003) błyskawicznie stała się albumem kultowym (i to w dosłownym, a nie w (nad)używanym przez pijarowców, znaczeniu tego słowa), wzbudzając gorące emocje swoją bezkompromisowością i konsekwencją w przetwarzaniu materii dźwiękowej.
The soprano saxophone, as played by Stephane Rives, is the one and only instrument of 'Much Remains To Be Heard', although perhaps the word 'How' misses at the beginning? If the previous (Shortwave / Al Maslakh CD08) wasn't 'easy', this one makes things even more difficult for the listener. Rives uses concentrated blocks of his playing, and cut these with some total silence in between. Over the course of one hour he gradually, dramatically changes his playing and things get really loud at somewhere at the forty-five minute point, when blocks are also longer, much longer. The pause between the pieces seems random. I thought this CD was quite an endurance test. Radical, almost feedback like sounds. Concentrated, but also a bit too difficult to hear. I like a good concept, but I also love a good piece of music.
|© Al Maslakh,
powered by ZWYX