Just listening…September 19, 2008
Today was the first day that, after getting all of those jobs done that you’ve been meaning to do but don’t get time to do when you’re at work every day, I actually kicked back a little, put my feet up and started to work my way through the inevitable pile of CDs littering my desk. This evening, just after midnight I put on a disc I received in the post a month or so ago now, Le Bruit du toit by the duo of Jean-Luc Guionnet and Seijiro Murayama released on the Xing-Wu label.
Now, I guess I could have pulled just about any of the discs on my desk off the pile and felt this way about them tonight, but sitting here in the low light, with Le Bruit du toit playing through headphones so as not to wake others in the house it feels like I am properly listening again for the first time in ages. Over the past few months, whilst it wouldn’t be fair to say that listening to music has become a chore, (far from it) external concerns dramatically reduced the amount of time I had spare to really sit and listen, without a care in the world, just immersed in the music. What’s more, the pressure of having to put together a weekly radio show meant that as discs arrived here I skimmed through them seeking out likely tracks for airplay, listening for radio-friendly sections, or convenient points to edit things down so they fitted the show.
While audition was an absolute joy to do, looking back now with the weight of having to get together this week’s playlist lifted from my shoulders I think it had a detrimental effect on my personal listening. As Le Bruit du toit played tonight it felt completely new, as if I had never heard it before. In truth I maybe heard it once right through, and then again to pull out a ten minute section for the show, which in the end we never actually got around to using. To be honest even when we played a piece of music on the show it wasn’t always easy to really sit and listen to it. All too often other tasks became the priority, checking timings, getting CD players to work, making tea etc… Listening tonight I felt a freedom to just relax and enjoy that perhaps has been subconsciously missing for a while.
The music itself was beautiful by the way, a sparse, powerful sax and percussion duet played in a temple in Mishima, Japan on a windy day. The title of the album translates as The Sound of the Roof and its obvious why this was chosen as you hear the creaks and groans of the building throughout the recording. Guionnet is a superb improviser with a variety of instruments, but he perhaps sounds most at home with a saxophone. Murayama is a new name to my CD player, though his recent disc with Lionel Marchetti is I think also en route. His playing here is very minimal, often just single, dry strikes of a drum building a simple scaffold around Guionnet’s sax. All very beautiful, captivating stuff.
Looking into it now, Alastair played something from the Marchetti / Murayama disc back on audition Show 81. Can I remember a thing about it? No, not at all. Sums it up really. Anyway its good to be back.