Breathing Out Sleeve notes
Bruce Coates
Breath is perhaps the most fundamental but most overlooked of the saxophonist's tools. Few listeners consider the breathing of the regular saxophonist; it is something necessary but apparently unremarkable and accepted without a second thought. However, in the work of the circular breather, particularly in the solo setting, it becomes foregrounded, impossible to separ- ate from the sounds being made. On listening one is initially oblivious to it. Then little by little the realisation that something out of the ordinary is occurring dawns - 'how are they doing that?'. Suddenly the mechanics of playing take on something of the mystical; the musician as Shamanic figure doing the musical equivalent of walking on hot coals. For the musician however, breath is more fundamental than this undeniably impressive act. The apparently more mundane aspects of control and the way that it is combined with tongue and fingers lead, arguably, to even more superhuman feats. As a circular breather, Peter Corser is aware of this apparent contradiction and the extended composition he presents here is in effect a celebration of the saxophonist's breath; exhibited in all its many forms.
The circular breath frames all aspects of the composition and Corser uses the technique to highlight the other forms of breath that he employs - in effect breath becomes a structural and thematic device within the piece. In both parts of Fontainebleau he makes use of the repetitive rhythmic undulations familiarly associated with circular breath but unlike many of his predecessors, he takes a more tonal approach to his lines; there are echoes of Bach's cello suites (pieces with which the saxophonist is very familiar through transcriptions he has made for solo saxophone). As he progresses, however, we find the more unexpected aspects of the breath brought into the foreground. In the delicate multiphonics and subtones of Stone Still, breath leaks out of the corners of his sounds creating a gossamer transparency before moving into the harsher edged rhythmical play of Up Before the Birds. In The Old Creaky Wishing Gate his theme is elegantly demonstrated by its total absence from the musical landscape. Instead we hear the delicate percussive thumps of the saxophone's key mechanism - leather on metal and air - the underlying sounds of the instrument that we are unaware of when a saxophonist breathes. In the final Breathing Out, as its title suggests a freer, less analytical approach is taken. The breath is presented in what amounts to a more familiar Jazz setting. Perhaps it would not be too far fetched to suggest that Corser wants to lead us to this point, in order that we can listen again to that with which we are very familiar with newly revitalised ears; to appreciate the underlying physical process that underpins the saxophonist's craft. - January, 2004. Bruce Coates is a free improvi-sation saxophone player, a writer and a teacher.
Additional Sleeve notes
Peter Corser
I decided not to translate the French text I have written below, as many aspects are covered in elegant fashion by Bruce Coates. I would however like to add two or three points. Breathing Out, cut into 6 parts, represents a single work, composed and elaborated from a foundation of intensive technical practice. Each composition is played and recorded live and as a whole. There are no multi-tracks or loops. In Up Before The Birds, pairs of notes, some with very wide intervals, were used to create a strong sense of open space. At the end we hear a melodic and rhythmic disintegration towards a singing carpet of high notes. Dawn breaks? Stone Still was an attempt to use multiphonic notes to reinforce the melodic line by creating more or less tonal chords. Breathing Out is the CD's only fully improvised composition. Apart from wanting to counterbalance the rigorous nature of the other pieces, I also thoroughly enjoyed playing it.
Texte du livret de Breathing Out
Peter Corser
Breathing Out, découpé en 6 morceaux, représente une seule œuvre composée et élaborée à partir d'un an de travail technique intensif. Chaque composition est enregistrée live en studio, sans multi-pistes et sans boucles.
Fontainebleau 1ère et 2ème parties et Up Before The Birds sont joués en souffle continu. L'idée est de crée des bases rythmiques répétitives qui pulsent. Des éléments mélodiques et rythmiques changent progressivement autour d'un centre tonal qui reste stable. Une énergie parfois calme, parfois mouvementée, nous transperce. Un long passage de triolets appelle l'auditeur au début de Fontainebleau avant qu'un rythme binaire, d'une aire autre et techno, s'installe. Une ligne de basse tissée avec des lignes mélodiques plus aiguës explore une nouvelle complexité dans la 2ème partie. L'intensité monte. A la fin les notes tombent en cascade. Up Before the Birds pourrait être 'se lever avant les oiseaux' ou 'debout devant les oiseaux'. Après une longue note troublée, des paires de notes, dont les intervalles sont parfois très écartées, sont jouées de façon répétitive. Une sensation d'espace est recherchée. La fin voit une désintégration mélodique et rythmique en direction d'un tapis de notes aiguës. Les oiseaux chantent ? Ils s'envolent ? Le soleil se lève ? Dans Stone Still les notes multiphoniques jouent un rôle mélodique très précis. L'idée est de créer des phrases qui restent tonales. Les multiphoniques se mêlent aux notes ordinaires non pas pour casser la ligne mélodique mais pour la renforcer. Selon la tradition, il y a des barrières, ou 'gates', à la campagne où l'on peut faire un vœu avant de les passer. The Old Creaky Wishing Gate, moitié écrit, moitié improvisé, explore les possibilités rythmiques des touches du saxophone, qui montre une intrigante diversité de textures et de couleurs. Le thème au début de Breathing Out explore la richesse d'une variété d'arpèges montantes, parfois très écartées. Une longue improvisation donne voix à des phrases d'une forte intensité sonore. Le but n'est pas de crée une musique agressive mais urgente. A la fin, le calme est rétabli. On respire.