Abdou/Dang/Orins – Press


The Sound Projector / Ed Pinsent

Here’s another ad-hoc jazz-improv band made up of Circum-Disc regulars, on the record Lescence / Gmatique (CIRCUM-DISC LX013). It’s drummer Peter Orins, Barbara Dang on the piano, and the woodwinds of Sakina Abdou. Abdou we’ve heard before on Air Bump, Quelque Chose Au Milieu (as half of Bi-Ki?), and Feldspath, but for some reason her work is just starting to click into distincto-mode for me. There’s nothing like a good slow drone to showcase the mouth skills of any given sax blurter, and the first of these long tracks – ‘Lescence’ – delivers just this, crawling along like a despairing mammoth on the way to the nearest ice block.

Besides the lower-register groanings, Sakina also dirties up the surface with her scrabbly non-musical spatter gestures which I presume require her to form her mouth into the shape of a Play-Doh Fun Factory, the better to extrude dry notes in bizarre shapes. Orins contents himself with snapping twigs by a campfire, while Dang (could there possibly be a better surname for one who plays this instrument?) may have prepared her keyboard in some way or is avoiding playing the actual notes in favour of inserting metal mitts inside the stringed belly. The threesome have joined a conspiracy to avoid linear sense, ditching conventions in an effort to generate incoherent, broken sounds. Great!

The general plan continues on the next lengthy lanyard, titled ‘Gmatique’, but for this workout the trio grow slightly more agitated and tend to fill the available oxygen with more actions and gestures per square minim. Even so, the music remains both noisy and minimal, which is a rare feat to be darning your socks with. “Pure tones,” boasts the press release, and “returned timbres.” An all-acoustic bare-bones abstractathon. Now I want to hear more from Barbara Dang, but apart from her appearance somewhere on Feldspath, this seems to be her only recording available. For those around the Lille area, I guess you need to look out for live performances of the Muzzix combo if you want more of this atomised material. Nifterino…from 5th February 2020.

Jazz Work / Ken Waxman

(…) Moving on from Free Jazz and Free Music to even testier microtonal sounds is the trio on Lescene/Gmatique. All Lille-based and members of the Muzzix collective, saxophonist Sakina Abdou has played with Eve Risser and Raymond Boni; pianist Barbara Dang with Sophie Agnel and the Dedalus ensemble; and drummer Peter Orins in a multitude of small and large ensembles such as those with Satoko Fuji.

Both slightly over 17 minutes long, the Abdou/Dang/Orins tracks are pretty much all of a piece, insistent on melded group timbres rather than solo extrusions. Drum rumbles, clops and clashes temperately underpin vibrating runs and internal string plucks from the pianist and unaccented air, unvarying shrills and growled split tones from either Abdou’s recorder or alto saxophone. Eventually on “Lescence”, the three reach an understated abstracted dissolve that simultaneously stitches together string strums, drum top rubs and reed whispers into a dense undulating mass. As Dang demonstrates facility, bolstering the piano’s menacing lowest notes even as she contributes ringing tones to create a buzzing interface, the subsequent “Gmatique” remains on the same musical plane. Still its horizontal drone is subsequently pierced by idiophone thumps and ratcheting, mouse squeak split tones that radiate from the saxophone’s body-tube and a two-handed keyboard exposition that is processional and expressive. Reflective polyphony though means that individuality remains along with tonal density.(…)

Citizen Jazz / Franpi Barriaux

La pochette est un lieu industriel sans nom, comme la matière qu’elle arbore. Rebuts ? Mousse biologique à usage inconnu ? Matière première colorée par le soleil ? On ne le saura jamais. Comme on ne saura jamais vraiment d’où vient l’exercice auquel se livre le trio qui allie Sakina Abdou, saxophoniste de Vazytouille et de l’Organic Orkeztra, Barbara Dang, entendue dans La Pieuvre, et Peter Orins, batteur emblématique du collectif Muzzix. Le silence règne, dans cette industrie post-apocalyptique, à peine troublé par le frôlement des peaux, le piano comme des interrupteurs du réel et le feulement des respirations. Tout est imprévisible, proche de la rupture et absolument altéré par le temps où les préparations des instruments. On pense à ce que Carlo Costa et sans doute surtout Flinn Van Hemmen propose pour le label Neither/Nor. Une musique ardue, rétive mais où l’on se sent comme poisson dans l’eau et qui forme une petite famille, à travers le monde.

Exposé / Peter Thellen

Nothing is what it seems to be. The trio at hand involves a saxophone, a piano, and some drums, and regardless of expectations based on those three instruments, it won’t prepare the listener for these two side-long tracks. There are sounds coming out of the piano every which way except how one would anticipate; same with the sax, there are some long notes, but percussive sounds as well, keys clicking, whatever, whistling sounds, feedback; the drums, well, what can I say, the rims are played, occasional brush sounds, I think the cymbals are being played with a bow as well. We are in improvised experimental territory, though nothing here is particularly abrasive or unnerving (okay, maybe the occasional screeches of feedback qualify), the two cuts clocking in at roughly seventeen minutes each are essentially ambient noise and sound sculptures, occasional bits of tonal color, and low frequency rumbling, all the sounds produced force the listener to ask the question “how are they doing that?” or one can not ask the question and just enjoy it for what it is. You might even forget that it’s on, seriously – it’s an interesting exercise in sonic expression, but not that memorable beyond the immediate moment. The three collaborators are members of the Lille based Muzzix collective, saxophonist Abdou is a member of Bi-Ki? whose work we have reviewed in these pages before, Orins is a jazz drummer involved in TOC, Circum Grand Orchestra, Satoko Fujii’s Orchestra and numerous other groups, all regulars in Exposé’s pages for many years; pianist Barbara Dang is a new name to me, though she is part of the Muzzix group and known for her experimental solo music. Overall, I enjoy it while it’s playing, but it is what it is, curious and interesting.

Avant Scena

“LESCENCE/GMATIQUE” is the newest release on “Circum Disk” label. An album was recorded by saxophonist Sakina Abdou, pianist Barbara Dang and drummer Peter Orins. Sakina Abdou fuses together the basics of avant-garde jazz and contemporary academical music. Her compositions are based on inventive and colorful instrumentation there gently fit together ancient, classical, modern, extended and experimental ways of playing. Barbara Dang is an excellent pianist who developped her own style and unique sound in contemporary academical music and experimental jazz background. Peter Orins is a drummer based on experimental and avant-garde jazz. His music is filled with extravagant decisions, evocative ideas, innovations and surprises.

“LESCENCE/GMATIQUE” joins together free improvisation, avant-garde jazz, experimental and contemporary academical music. All three musicians feel free to express their own ideas, integrate shocking, inventive or crazy decisions, extract strange timbres or get on astonishing sonoristic experiments. An open form is chosen in most part of the compositions – that makes an effort to creation of multi-layed polyphonic musical pattern, innovative instrumental section and impressive free improvisation generally used everywhere. The music is especially emotional and touching – the musicians have expressive and driving playing manner. Their inspiring, moving and passionate playing manner mixed up with drive, fantasy, wild imagination, creativity and original point of view makes a driving, vital and dynamic sound of whole album. Each musician brings something original and inspiring to the compositions. Pianist Barbara Dang is bouncing from strictly arranged academical pieces to abstract and moving free improvisation. Her music is virageous and dynamic – from minimalistic pieces accompagnied by stable repetitive series and monotonous tunes, the music gets striking and passionate filled with dazzling transcendental passages, flowing ornaments, expressive vital melodies, driving riffs, terrific perturbations or radiant solos. After staying in calm, lyrical and relaxing mood, the music becomes vital, light and playful, sometimes – furious, aggressive, scratching, angry and rigorous. Saxophone tunes by Sakina Abdou are mostly based on the fundaments of avant-garde jazz and free improvisation. There’s a huge stylistic variety which is used – an improviser manages to fuse together spontaneous solos, astonishing instant improvising, extravagant bebop, aggressive hard bop, steady cool and dynamic contemporary jazz. All these modern jazz’s styles are brought together with free improvisation, radical decisions, strongly expressed contrasts and astonishing sonoristic experiments extracted by saxophone. The music is luminous, bright and exciting filled with deep contemplations, solemn lyrical pieces growing out to striking, sparkling and driving riffs, breaking sessions and passionate culminations. Drums section by Peter Orins is completely based on avant-garde jazz and free improvisations. Breaking sessions and stable tunes, monotonous beat and furious blasts, lyrical slow pieces and furiously fast sessions, exciting, inspiring, driving and terrific riffs – all these elements and rhythms of various jazz styles are brought together in delicat and sensible way. A drummer is using his invention and wide musical knownledge to an exciting, bright and driving rhythmic section.

Vital Weekly / Frans de Waard

Many of the releases on the French label Circum Disc contain improvised music and end up with our resident free jazz/improvisation reviewer. I do inspect them all before shipping them off (as well as ripping a track for the podcast) and this one I played with some interest. Yes, this too is improvised music, with Sakina Abdou on saxophone and recorder, Barbara Dang on piano and Peter Orins on drums. They are active members of Muzzix and in other groups such as La Pieuvre, The Grand Orchestre de Muzzix, Tombstones and more. The two pieces on this disc are seventeen minutes each and that may seem like a quite a short release, but due to the minimalist approach by the players, this is also quite an intense listening experience. The music is quiet but not to such an extent where one doesn’t hear anything. Delicate is perhaps a better word. Something that I enjoyed very much is their approach to the instruments. More than once, one has no idea that you are listening to drums, saxophone, recorder or piano. The ‘instrument as
an object’ approach here works wonderfully well. Very much like the Bergmark/Hübner cassette reviewed elsewhere, this sounds like acoustic objects being played but in this case, these are instruments rather than objects. I hope I am excused (again!) for seeing a connection with Kapotte Muziek in terms of a soft, delicate approach in the way the instruments are handled and the careful but intense interaction among these players. At the same time, one also hears how much they are tied into the world of improvised music when the instruments sound as such and again the
interaction among these players is great. After two of these pieces, I must admit, I felt quite tired; tired yet also satisfied by the quality of the music here.

Jazz’Halo / Ferdinand Dupuis-Panther

Ein klassisches Saxofontrio oder doch nicht? Schlagwerk, Piano und Saxofon vereint in Geräuschmusik. Gelegentlichen melodischen Zügen, Hinter- und Vordergründe, Wiederholungen, minimalistisch, organisch, anstrengend, delikat, dicht, klangreduziert – all das vereint das Trio in sich. Sakina Abdou, Barbara Dang and Peter Orins loten das Timbre ihrer Instrumente sensibel aus, lassen Gegensätze zu und kreieren ein besonderes Klangbild.

Die Musiker sind Teil des in Lille (Frankreich) beheimateten Kollektivs Muzzix, sind aber auch in verschiedenen Projekten wie La Pieuvre, the Grand Orchestre de Muzzix, Moondog – Round The World of Sounds, Toc & The Compulsive Brass undTombstones aktiv. Flöte und Saxofon sind die Instrumente von Sakina Abdou, den man auch mit dem Duo Bi-Ki? und dem Eve Risser’s Red Desert Orchestra erleben kann. Klassisch ausgebildet, aber auch im Jazz sehr bewandert ist die Pianistin Barbara Dang, die im Feld von experimenteller und improvisierter Musik ihre Heimat gefunden hat. Sie spielt auch gemeinsam im Duo mit Sophie Agnel, mit dem Dedalus Ensemble und tritt auch mit experimenteller Musik solistisch auf. Peter Orins ist in der europäischen Jazzszene ein bekannter Schlagzeuger, dem auch das Feld der Improvisation und des Experiments nicht fremd ist. Unter anderem spielt er mit Satoko Fujii, Dave Rempis zusammen, abgesehen vom aktuellen Trio.

Nebelbänken gleich schwebt eine Klangfülle im Raum, sobald „Lescence“ erklingt. Man meint einen Tubaklang auszumachen, ein Klicken und ein Rascheln. Über Schlagwerkfelle schieben sich Schlagstöcke. Klack-klack taucht auf. Ein Quietschen wird beigemischt, auch ein Knarren und Knarzen. Aus dem Holzbläser entweicht ein einzelner Ton. Hört man da nicht auch ein Nebelhorn aus der Ferne? Das Kratzen auf dem Schlagwerk setzt sich fort. Die klanglichen Nebelbänke haben sich gehoben. Wieder ertönt das Saxofon mit der Anmutung eines Nebelhorns. Fellgeschabe dringt ans Ohr. Klonk-klonk folgt. Rauschen ist zu hören. Gebläse scheinen in Betrieb genommen zu werden. Ist da das Knarren einer verklemmten Tür zu hören? Hochtönige Vibrationen reizen das Trommelfell. Ticken und Klicken ziehen Aufmerksamkeit auf sich. Präparierte Klavierklänge sind wahrzunehmen, kurz und für den Augenblick.

Orins scheint mit seinen perkussiven Beiträgen das musikalische Geschehen zu bestimmen, eher Geräuschmusik als Improvisation, so hat es den Anschein. Ein Höhepunkt wird erwartet. Doch die Dominanz des fragilen Perkussiven überwiegt. Da fehlt mal ein Donnerhall, oder? Tanzen da nicht gerade Holzstäbchen über die verspannten Klaviersaiten? Der Aufschrei des Saxofons wird vermisst oder auch nicht. Alle Klangaktivität fokussiert sich auf das Schlagwerk. Hier mal ein Schlag auf eine Klaviertaste und dort mal. Nie nachhaltig so ist der Eindruck, eher verwischt und marginal.

Nahtlos geht es mit „Gmatique“ im perkussiven Duktus weiter. Eine Herde von Ziegen mit Glocken um den Hals vermeint man zu hören. Schellenklang trifft auf Flötengebläse. Wie der Viertelstunden-Schlag einer Turmuhr hört sich an, was die Pianistin zu sagen hat. Fellgetrommel ist unterlegt. Rascheln kommt hinzu. Plink-plink blitzt auf. Gepresste Atemluft im Holzbläser ist ein weiteres Geräuschelement. Windgesäusel macht sich breit. Filigran ist die Musik. Es fehlt das Bombastische. Die Musik gleicht Intarsien mit vielen ähnlichen Elementen. Fulminantes und Furioso bleiben außen vor. Da schmettert kein Holzbläser atemkräftig, sondern verharrt in einem schwachen Schnalzen. Das Piano äußert sich nicht im Bassgrollen, sondern bleibt kurzzeitiger Klanggeber, ohne in den rechten Fluss zu kommen. So wartet man auch vergeblich auf eine Klimax, auf Dramatik und Tragödie. Nun gut, das mag ein mögliches Konzept sein.