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Alban Darche: L’OrphiCube: Perception Instantanée

Eyal Hareuveni By

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French, Nantes-based composer and saxophonist Alban Darche continues to explore the possibilities of transforming variable geometrical ideas inspired by cubist painter Robert Delaunay (1885-1941) as compositional tools for an improvising ensemble. Darche began this work with his nine-musician ensemble, L'OrphiCube (a term that refers the cubist art movement and a poem about Orpheus by poet Guillaume Apollinaire), on its self-titled debut last year (Pépin Et Plume, 2013).

The L'OrphiCube ensemble operates with shifting variable geometry—six permanent musicians maintaining the structural rigidity accompanied by a choice of three voices, each inclined to colour the edifice in its own way. This highly disciplined and precise approach enables Darche to suggest different lights in every composition, or as he states it: "to condense a whole world of colour in every bar of our music." Thus, the ensemble realizes Delaunay's vision who wanted to translate the impressions left on the retina by light after staring at the moon and sun. Darche elaborates this vision into his rich musical vocabulary—creating music which "immediately expresses the sum of the sound memories resting in each of us, reminiscences of the music that forms the soundtracks of our lives."

The ensemble delivery of Darche's compositions offers intense colours even though it is executed in strict architectural formats. He manages to charge the dance form on "Paso Doble" with urgent, fresh interplay that gently plays with the precise format. "La Pascoalaise" plays with the pathos of European chanson-song format, adding an ironic, playful perspective to its inherent pathos, but enjoy exploring its familiar emotional delivery. The romantic vein is developed even more on the dramatic "La Bouguenaisienne," where Darche creates a delicate balance between the fragile sounds of the stringed instruments, and the bold ones of the reed instruments. The humour of Darche is featured in his upbeat "Miramas Reggae" that turns upside down the leisured reggae genre and its intoxicating beat into a formal, romantic dance, still, quoting the familiar beat but colour's it with grandiose dress, and the amused vocal delivery of "Abécédair."

The heartfelt tribute to film director Tim Burton "Mon Tribut A Tim Burton" emphasizes Darche's attempt to lock dramatic narratives into a colourful music structure, some resonating with familiar themes and structures but others, at the same time, suggest new, unorthodox undercurrent. The highly reserved execution of "Les Silhouettes" solidify its emotional, melancholic content. The whole ensemble spare, lyrical execution stresses fleeting silent segments as well as highly emotional interplay that intensifies the feeling of a painful loss.

Darche describes this set of compositions as fleeting glimpses of an imaginary film. Indeed, Perception Instantanée sounds like a unique soundtrack of a film with memorable, touching scenes.

Track Listing: Paso Doble; La Pascoalaise; La Bouguenaisienne; Les Silhouettes; Miramas Reggae; Mon Tribut A Tim Burton; C'baff; Abécédair.

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

Title: L’OrphiCube: Perception Instantanée | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Yolk Records

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