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Benjamin Duboc/Julien Desprez/Julien Loutelier: Tournesol

Mark Corroto By

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The free improvisations by Benjamin Duboc, Julien Desprez, and Julien Loutelier on Tournesol or "Sunflower" bring to mind the lyrics to "Love Dance," a minor crossover hit for George Benson in 1980: "From too much talk to loving touches/Love touches when pure emotion takes the moment/We take the chance/Turn up the quiet, love wants to dance." It's not so much the music that makes you want to cuddle up with your loved one, it's the hushed tone (unless, of course, you are Stevie Wonder and are taking a "Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants").

The Tournesol the trio is named after is the French word for sunflower, and the the outward appearance of quiet might only pertain to hominid ears. To other plants, bees, and grass, the sunflower is one noisy organism, like huge rotating radio telescopes fighting for the sun's energy.

Each of the musicians here can be heard in louder, more turbulent ensembles. Bassist Duboc with The Fish (Jean-Luc Guionnet & Edward Perraud), percussionist Loutelier with Stephen O'Malley, and guitarist Loutelier in Mats Gustafsson"s Fire! Orchestra. Here, the improvisations, even though quieter, are just as intense.

Let's call this screaming plant music. "Pour Que" opens the session with the electric hum and thunder rumblings of some very tight quarters. Its growth may be imperceptible to the unlettered, to us insects, the music portends an ominous event. Listening to this at high volume would certainly attract fans of Lasse Marhaug and Merzbow.

Besides noise, there is also an organic component of animation present here. Bowed bass fertilizes brushwork, and feedback guitar on "Nuit." The piece levitates upon the galvanized energy of the trio. From the restrained motion, the ferocity increases. "S'ouvre" is to rubbing, like glaciers are to granite. The players massage stings and drum heads into a blossom of energy, culminating in a sundown resolution. If plants could head butt, the tournesol would knock you out.

Track Listing: Pour Que; La; Nuit; S’ouvre.

Personnel: Benjamin Duboc: double bass; Julien Desprez: electric guitar; Julien Loutelier: percussion.

Title: Tournesol | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Dark Tree Records

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