360

Alexandre Pierrepont / Mike Ladd: Maison Hantee

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Alexandre Pierrepont / Mike Ladd: Maison Hantee There's a recurring argument about whether the marriage of jazz and poetry can ever be properly consummated, with strong opinions on either side, but the majority of adherents in the naysayers camp. Partly it's to do with the inflexibility of the words, which can't respond in the moment to the musician's whim, forcing the music to take a subservient position, and partly it's that words struggle to withstand repeated listening with the same robustness as such an abstract art form as jazz.

Both of these problems are overcome to a degree on Maison Hantee (Haunted House)—a collaboration between French poet Alexandre Pierrepont and hip-hop MC and producer Mike Ladd, perhaps best known to AAJ readers for his associations with pianist Vijay Iyer. Firstly, some of the musical accompaniment was recorded separately from the recitation, and avoids any desire to enter lock-step with the strut of the poetry. Secondly, much of the recitation is in French which, for those less than fluent, means that there are fewer obstacles to the appreciation of the words as sounds, and can more comfortably sit alongside the abstract qualities of the music.

Lavishly packaged, with a booklet containing both the original French and English translations bookended by short essays from Henry Threadgill and Greg Tate, this project is clearly a labor of love for the RogueArt label. Much thought has also gone into the content, whereby three distinct layers interact on each piece. First are the "Inhabitants & Outhabitants," comprising the words and visions of Pierrepont and Ladd, the voice of Stephane Gombert, who declaims Pierrepont's words, and the sound manipulations of French producer Gymkhana. Next is "Currents & Undercurrents," an ebbing and flowing world music rhythm track improvised in a single session by William Parker's guimbri and Hamid Drake's frame drum, which underpins virtually the whole 72 minutes. Finally there are the extemporized contributions, including the staggering range of "Guests & Ghosts," recorded at a different time and places and integrated into the finished construct, in line with Pierrepont and Ladd's conception.

There's also a formal arrangement of rooms in the Haunted House, with the Chambers increasing in sonic density until they reach the Antechamber, followed by a mirror-image decrease. With the exception of Parker and Drake's funky drum and bass backing for Ladd's rapping on the second "Chamber 8," the musical backdrops don't explicitly relate to the style or content of the recitations, other than adding yet another layer to their opaqueness of meaning. While Roscoe Mitchell's swirling alto saxophone sermon on "Chamber 12" and Evan Parker's serpentine soprano saxophone outpouring on "Chamber 21" particularly grab the ear, elsewhere words and music transmute into a singular hypnotic dreamlike experience, helped by some subtle electronic sampling and manipulation on occasion.

While Pierrepont and Ladd don't clinch the argument, they have come up with a compelling statement which withstands repeated listening and should appeal to more than just those who savor the intersection of free jazz and poetry.


Track Listing: Hall; Chamber 12; Chamber 3; Chamber 8; Chamber 73; Chamber 22; Antechamber; Chamber 20; Chamber 72; Chamber 8; Chamber 2; Chamber 21; Corridor.

Personnel: Alexandre Pierrepont: voice (1), words (2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12); Mike Ladd: voice, words (4, 7, 10); William Parker: guimbri (1-12), bass (4); Hamid Drake: frame drum (1-12), drums (4); Stephane Gombert: voices (2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12); Roscoe Mitchell: alto saxophone (3); Rob Mazurek: cornet, effects (5); Craig Taborn: Wurlitzer, Minimoog, bent circuit devices (5); Warren Ellis: violin, loops (6); David Murray: tenor saxophone (7); Thurston Moore: guitar (8); Gene Moore: guitar (8); Bill Nace: guitar (8); John Moloney: electronics, percussion (8); Matana Roberts: clarinet (9); Joe Morris: guitar (9); Jeff Parker: guitar (9); Evan Parker: soprano saxophone (12); Oscar Pierrepont: voice (13); Josh Abrams: mpc, harmonium; guimbri, percussion (13); Alex Deze: erratic piano; Marguerite Ladd: sampled composition; Gymkhana: sound manipulator.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Rogue Art | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "An Untroublesome Defencelessness" CD/LP/Track Review An Untroublesome Defencelessness
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 22, 2016
Read "Wee +3" CD/LP/Track Review Wee +3
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 7, 2016
Read "Kjølvatn" CD/LP/Track Review Kjølvatn
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 29, 2016
Read "Crowded Solitudes" CD/LP/Track Review Crowded Solitudes
by John Sharpe
Published: July 24, 2016
Read "Books On Tape, Vol. 2 - Standard Edition" CD/LP/Track Review Books On Tape, Vol. 2 - Standard Edition
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 17, 2016
Read "The Picasso Zone" CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 11, 2016

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!

Buy it!