The Insub.Rec label in Geneva is getting more extreme by the minute…if the three records we got in February 2022 had anything in common, it was a Venn diagram containing the words “small gestures”, and indeed that diagram might almost form the basis of a graphic score in the mind of Cyril Bondi and the musicians he cultivates.
Today’s micro-mover is by Antoine Läng, and it’s called Idiophasies (INSUB.REC.CD16), and he made it all with a jaw harp. The lengthy subtitle to this album – Certains gestes semblent devoir se répéter pour mieux m’?échapper – directs our attention towards the gestural side of the work, while also indicating something of his need for self-expression, while inside there’s a single paragraph describing the limits and disciplines of the exercise he carried across these four ten-minute tracks. Where a blues-oriented jaw harp player leans towards much expression, soul, and emotion, our man Läng takes an opposing view, and concentrates his hands, mouth, lungs, and entire body on maintaining a rigid, inflexible pose, one where the smallest variation in the firm setting of his mandibles or a change in his breathing may cause micro-variations in the sound he makes.
As to the title Idiophasies, this could be a made-up word partially derived from a very specific term in biology to do with the growth of cultures, or perhaps it’s linked in Läng’s mind to the word “aphasia” which relates to difficulties in expressing oneself clearly through speech (it’s often used when critics talk about the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, where the salesmen’s true thoughts, intentions and meanings are often blocked by their inability to articulate even a simple sentence, all of which complexity and psychological nuance has been carefully scripted by David Mamet). Antoine Läng first came our way with that Paratopia record in 2021 (with Jason Kahn), where he used a metal milk funnel to amplify his voice, in the tradition of Swiss farmers and shepherds. That action may be connected to today’s record, but if it is, he’s gone even further out on a limb with it.
A very testing, difficult record is the result – low on events, not much musical information, nothing remotely attractive about the sound it makes. From 7th March 2022.