Archive for December 20, 2004

Lê Quan Ninh – French Free Improv

I‘m pretty confident any french man who reads this will explode
with disgust at any attempt I make to summarize Lê Quan Ninh,
I imagine them passing this page around from beret’d screen starer
to starer, but I first encountered Mr. Ninh via The Wire and picked up
His release on erstwhile, Today a friend of mine told me how hard it
was to record a French violinist at her Dad’s new music festival in Brazil
because he kept moving around. Possibly to avoid the mic.s she was dangling in
front of the French man’s face, or possibly because he, like Ninh, has
begun to utilize the microphone as part of the performance.

Anyway, pictures of Ninh’s performance look more like stills from a
Godard picture, with a team of recording agents moving around him as he stomps
tones of a drum kit. Some recordings are minimal blips of nascent music
making other are toned down improvisations that approximate jazz. What makes
all of this so compelling is the way these improvsers can’t seem to keep from
inventing new ideas. Ninh and company here sounds like
a clatter of congressmen argueing with each other in their own
respective kitchens before a slight moment of vocal tranquility recalls the quiet moments
of Pharaoh Sander’s work, and then back to more racketing gizmos, boredom done up as
entertainment, and surprises. The whole track keeps itself busy volleying from new
idea to idea breaking constraints and ending out more beautiful than any complacent
piece of pop music could ever hope to be. That’s what I really enjoy in Le Quan
Ninh’s engagement with improvisation, the groups he plays with makes free improv shine,
you wanna give it your friends and say here, look, it’s not all just a bunch of noise.

To many
mention at his website

December 20, 2004 at 4:34 am 1 comment


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