4

Henri Roger: Exsurgences (Solo Piano Improvisations)

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Henri Roger: Exsurgences (Solo Piano Improvisations) Self-taught French pianist Henri Roger's set of solo piano free improvisations is spread across a DVD directed by video artist Anne Pesce, and also on vinyl. These nine improvisations, all numbered as "Exurgences 1" to "9," have a similar dense and restless character.

Roger explores the sonic possibilities of piano keyboard, stressing the lower range as he sustains these sounds and forms a dramatic and intense, string of continuously colliding overtones. The first and longest improvisation, the 28-minute "Exurgences 1," sounds as if Roger is not attempting to structure it in any binding form, but just lets the sounds flow in an intuitive manner, deliberately not attaching himself to any sonic occurrence—slowing the pace and softening its strict atmosphere only in its last minutes. The accompanying video, showing straight lines between specific locations all over a static black and white globe, adds little to the sonic experience, and after a while becomes redundant.

The following improvisations and their accompanying videos offer additional yet different aspects of mostly static, monochromatic sonic and visual experiments. The "Exurgences 2" is lighter, with a changing urban landscape captured at different times of the day, while "Exurgences 3" is more tight and nervous, with a view of vinyl turning around.

The fourth improvisation stands out as the most arresting. Roger uses the piano strings as a percussive surface and the percussive sounds that he produces from rubbing and plucking the strings correspond with the conventional keyboard playing, creating a nuanced, mysterious texture, accompanied with a changing landscape view from a driving car. The fifth, spare improvisation, emphasizes again the accumulative, meditative effect of exploring the overtones.

The other four improvisations, documented on the vinyl, continue in a similarly restless vein, mainly "Exurgences 6," with over 16 minutes of dense sonic investigation of clusters of chords. But these improvisations also suggest changing moods and colors, like the "Exurgences 7," which even has a surprisingly emotional, balladic touch, or the minimalist "Exurgences 8." The final, short and melodic "Exurgences 9" even sounds as though it was influenced by the solo piano excursions of Keith Jarrett.

Comprehensive and challenging, yet often too long, Exsurgences is an investigation into the form of free improvisation.

Track Listing: DVD: Exurgences 1; Exurgences 2; Exurgences 3; Exurgences 4; Exurgences 5. LP: Exurgences 6; Exurgences 7; Exurgences 8; Exurgences 9.

Personnel: Henri Roger: piano.

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Instant Musics Records | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Dreamsville CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017
Read April CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Small World CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read High Time CD/LP/Track Review High Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Saturday Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Saturday Songs
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 19, 2016
Read "Interstellar Space" CD/LP/Track Review Interstellar Space
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: May 29, 2016
Read "Nessuno" CD/LP/Track Review Nessuno
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "Super Hi Fi Plays Nirvana" CD/LP/Track Review Super Hi Fi Plays Nirvana
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 22, 2017
Read "Trickster" CD/LP/Track Review Trickster
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Binary" CD/LP/Track Review Binary
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 5, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!