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On “Anatomie des clefs”, Michel Doneda presents himself as a one man “idea-factory”. Doneda, a highly regarded European improviser performs solo soprano sax within the framework of 3 lengthy pieces. Doneda’s resume is quite impressive. Extensive work with bassist Barre Philipps, guitarist Elliot Sharp, saxophonist Lol Coxhill, collaborations with actors, poets and improvisational institutions in France.
The opener “Creux actif” is a 31 minute piece which features the hypnotic blowing sound of air flowing through his soprano sax transcending into squeaks and trills while also suggesting imagery of clanking and grinding steel. The outer limits of the soprano are attained via Doneda’s subtle manipulations. Doneda’s charter is to exploit the sonic capabilities of the soprano sax. He frequently utilizes vibrato and circular breathing techniques to accentuate his appealing motifs. No place to hide here. Doneda is a one-man band using the soprano as a tool to implement scintillating and thought provoking themes that prod one’s imagination in a captivating manner. On “Bloc D’air”, Doneda meticulously crafts polytonal sounds in tandem with frenetic lightning fast runs that evoke thoughts of crowded places or big city traffic jams. The final cut “Portees divisees” explores delicate whispers, gruff tones and exhibits microtonal sounds.
The soprano saxophone may never seem the same after hearing “Anatomie des clefs”. Doneda’s uniqueness lies within his ability to blend abstractions, unusual sounds and firmly envisioned concepts into concrete, cohesive statements that incites listener participation.