2

Lawrence Casserley & Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg: Mouth Wind

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Lawrence Casserley & Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg: Mouth Wind Recorded in May, 2010 at Lawrence Casserley's studio in the Chiltern Hills, Buckinghamshire, Mouth Wind is a happy pairing of Casserley's signal processing with the idiosyncratic vocals of Belgium's Jean-Michel van Schouwburg, a pairing which benefits both of them greatly. The duo format suits each of the two in a different way; in larger groupings such as Evan Parker's Electroacoustic Ensemble or a tutti at Fête Quaqua at The Vortex, Casserley's contributions can occasionally be too subtle or muted to be fully appreciated and become subsumed into the totality of the ensemble; by contrast, in common with other distinctive improvising vocal stylists—Phil Minton, Ute Wassermann and Sainkho Namchylak spring to mind—Van Schouwburg can appear to dominate an ensemble, a victim of the jazz and rock tradition of focusing on the vocalist to the exclusion of other ensemble members. But together, here, the two strike a balance that allows the contribution of each to be fully appreciated.

Across eleven tracks, varying in length from under a minute to ten-and-a-half minutes, the two create music that establishes a symbiotic relationship between voice and electronics—between man and machine. In common with his fellow vocal improvisers, above, Van Schouwburg employs a vast vocabulary of sounds, few of which convey any literal meaning—this is undoubtedly vocalizing rather than singing. On home territory, Casserley is clearly in his element, using Van Schouwburg's voice as his raw material, supplementing it with electronic sounds as well as molding and altering it electronically.

The end results have to be credited equally to both participants as, by turns, Casserley makes the singer sound like a wild beast roaring or snoring, a human in the throes of agony or ecstasy, a variety of cartoon characters, a deranged opera singer or a pod of dolphins communicating. True, many of those sounds are present in the singer's normal (untreated) repertoire, but here Casserley does not distort them; instead, he tweaks them to make them more themselves, a subtle but important difference. If electronics can dehumanize music in some contexts, the opposite is true here; the electronics serve to emphasize the all-too-apparent humanity of Van Schouwburg's voice.

Notably, the album is punctuated by four relatively brief "letter pieces": "Mouth 'G'"; "Bouche 'P'"; "Mond 'M'"; and Száz 'R.'" On each, Van Schouwburg focuses all of his attention on the letter in question, exploring the varying ways it can be pronounced and the nuances of emotion that it can convey. Here, the singer sounds more human than anywhere else on the album. At one level, each piece sounds like an exercise that a vocal coach might set to a pupil, but the four hang together well as a mini-suite.

Altogether, Mouth Wind is notable for the way in which its two contrasting improvisers gel into a coherent unit, and the way in which voice and electronics blend and complement each other.


Track Listing: Aque Nascote; Mouth 'G'; Vent dans la forêt; Viento a traves lo Trigo; Bouche 'P'; Emergent Streams; Mond 'M'; Vietor v doline; Betep πo гopoMy xpeƂTy; Száj 'R'; Mouth Wind.

Personnel: Lawrence Casserley: signal processing instrument; Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg: voice.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Hermes Discorbie


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Reflections" CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Andrew Luhn
Published: March 23, 2016
Read "Disappearing Day" CD/LP/Track Review Disappearing Day
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 9, 2016
Read "The Darkening Blue" CD/LP/Track Review The Darkening Blue
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 5, 2016
Read "Forty" CD/LP/Track Review Forty
by James Nadal
Published: May 15, 2016
Read "Linus + Skarbø / Leroux" CD/LP/Track Review Linus + Skarbø / Leroux
by Dave Wayne
Published: April 21, 2016
Read "The Eighth Hour Of Amduat" CD/LP/Track Review The Eighth Hour Of Amduat
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 17, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!