The Fugitive Meeting

Another lovely cassette item we have from the Montreal label Crustacés Tapes, run by the redoubtable Anne-Francois Jacques. On Déplacement Rendez-Vous she collaborates with Gary Rouzer, and the release is described simply as “Field Recordings, Objects, Found Sounds…” and we are informed that the two persons “never met in person yet”. As you may recall, mail-art collaborations were all the thing once upon a time, when recording artists and noise musicians sent each other materials through the mail, and a healthy correspondence of ideas, remixes, overdubs and edits would soon follow. Later I suppose it would be done using dial-up internet connections, then broadband, to transmit sound files over the wires. Now it’s more likely to be done at festivals and live events, or not at all. Who knows.

The physical aspect of old-fashioned mail in envelopes is what appealed to me the first time we received a cassette from this label, and my guess is that it also appeals to Anne-F, assuming she adheres to the motto “Post Is Not Dead” which is proudly emblazoned on an outer wrapper here, along with a linocut image of a glowing envelope drawn in a manner reminiscent of Keith Haring’s stlye. Said envelope may be literally beaming with pride and self-satisfaction; or perhaps it’s endowed with super-powers. Both scenarios are highly plausible. The label continues its pledge and value-add offer to the public – simply send a gift or a postcard to the street address, and you’ll receive a tape in return. The outer package is also nice – some glossy wrapping paper with old engravings of an early modern semi-rural town. She uses strips of masking tape carefully positioned for best results. Her packages are neater than those we get from Rinus van Alebeek, but lighter on the collage elements.

Anne-François Jacques has been heard in these pages once or twice, often-times playing her trademark amplified electronic motors and rotary surfaces, which is what I assume she is doing here. American player Gary Rouzer lives in Washington DC methinks, and has been heard on numerous occasions in the company of fellow Washingtoneers Jeff Surak and Blue Sausage Infant. Plus he made Seeds Of Erasure as Amptext, a splendid work transforming (quite radically) the sounds of domestic life. He’s also good with amplified small objects, as his recent album Studies and Observations of Domestic Shrubbery will attest. On the present release, we don’t have a clash or collision of intentions nor of sonic textures, but instead a seamless and harmonised whole; abstract grinding, clonking, shunting and semi-mechanical whirrs abound, but strangely imbued with organic qualities and almost acting like living creatures as they perform their routine tasks.

Everything is melded and mixed to form a pleasing whole, in which few source materials are actually recognisable, and it’s a delightful task for the listener to process these sounds as music. One might point out a brief detail where the sounds of a locomotive train (I think) passing by over the rails joins the other sounds; a wonderful moment where large-scale and small-scale machinery meet up and harmonise, in a species of mechanical Heaven. Just great! From 22 October 2015.

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