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Alban Darche: L’OrphiCube

Eyal Hareuveni By

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French composer and saxophonist Alban Darche, leader of the big band Le Gros Cube and former member of the l'Orchestre National de Jazz, has worked before in many multidisciplinary formats, among them with choreographer and dancer Nasser Martin- Gusset, director Sylvain Maurice and writer Peter Curling. L'OrphiCube, named after the cubist art movement and a poem about Orpheus by poet Guillaume Apollinaire (who claimed to be the first model of a cubist painter; Apollinaire wrote extensively about cubism), in collaboration with designer/painter Silvain Joblin, expands his artistic vision and explores the relationship between music and the visual arts.

The free-spirited Darche drew inspiration for this project from cubist painter Robert Delaunay, who wanted to reflect the light impressions of the sun and the moon on his lyrical chromatic paints on canvas. In the same manner, Darche attempts to capture immediate acoustic memories embedded in the consciousness, transforming them into an imaginary soundtrack of life. Darche calls this project an orchestra in variable geometry—six musicians structuring the complex architecture of each composition and solidifying its strength, while three other musicians add colors and shades to the composed blocks of music. Their roles change with each composition, adding new perspectives and accumulative insights to a set of carefully structured compositions. At first look (or first listen), the overall colors are revealed but with repeated listening, watching or even readings into the compositions, other layers and subtleties are stressed, such as the specific movement or the aesthetic references, gaining a new, more detailed, light.

Most of the musicians in this project took part in Drache's recent Le Gros Cube homage to the British megalomaniac band Queen, Queen Bishop (Yolk, 2013). Darche and the other eight musicians' vocabulary encompasses elements of chamber jazz, contemporary music, popular chanson songs and even art rock, but with a distinct, timeless style of their own. Darche's compositions are as multilayered as a cubist painting but more dramatic—sometimes even theatrical—their stories exposed by a number of narrators, each stressing a different perspective as well as the varied colors and timbres of each instrument, all structuring their tension and ultimate release in a masterful manner. Often, on compositions like "tbbm" or "Pour mieux rebondir," Darche emphasizes a playful interplay that adds another dimension to the choir of voices. All the compositions add and expand former themes and are developed as a long suite.

Masterful: a beautiful masterpiece.

Track Listing: 4 brothers; tbbm; La Martipontine; Le Triangle du Douboto; Une chanson pour François; Pour mieux rebondir; Les Parapluies; Codex etc; Requiem.

Personnel: Alban Darche: saxophone alto; Christophe Lavergne: drums; Sébastien Boisseau: double bass; Nathalie Darche: piano; Marie-Violaine Cadoret: Violin; Didier Ithursarry: accordion; François Ripoche: saxophone alto droit, saxophone tenor; Sylvain Rifflet: Saxophone tenor, clarinets; Matthieu Donarier: saxophone tenor, clarinets.

Title: L’OrphiCube | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Pépin Et Plume


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