The cover of French pianist Henri Roger's latest album, Parce Que! , delivers no information about its title, musicians, the recording etc. Just a plain dark painting and a barcode on the back cover. The mysterious cover, designed by Anne Pesce, is the inspiration for a set of collective improvisations by Roger, together with cellist Eric-Maria Couturier, woodwinds and reed player Emmanuelle Somer and drummer Bruno Tocanne, all participants in previous Roger projects.
The improvisations, as can be found in Roger website, are inspired by the Outrenoir series of about 30 paintings by one of France greatest painters, Pierre Soulages (b. 1919). Soulages is known as "the painter of black," after his unique explorations of light reflections on black colors. The improvisations are sonic abstractions on Soulages impressions on dark lightsintense, dense and profound textures. These improvisations patiently evolve, stressing conflictual yet tight interplay, equivalent to the meeting of the bright light with the dark colors.
Roger and the always resourceful Tocanne define the structure, energy and pulse of these tense pieces, still offering Couturier and Sommer enough room to contribute nuances that intensify the atmosphere. The only exception is the contemplative "Signe banquise," where Somer and Couturier's poetic articulations play lead roles. The last piece, "Griffures au fond," is a culmination of this sonic journey. Powerful, complex exploration of dark sounds, colors and shades, delivered with impressive command and imagination.
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