Andy Emler: Running backwards (RJAL 397028)

Cover

Andy Emler
Running backwards

Andy Emler piano
Marc Ducret electric guitar
Claude Tchamitchian double bass
Eric Echampard drums
Recorded live at Studios La Buissonne, Pernes-les-Fontaines, on November 17/18, 2016 by Gérard de Haro, assisted by Anaëlle Marsollier
Mixed at Studios La Buissonne by Gérard de Haro and Andy Emler
Mastered by Nicolas Baillard at Studios La Buissonne
Produced by Gérard de Haro & RJAL for La Buissonne and la Compagnie aime l’air
Release date: May 19, 2017

After two magnificent albums with his powerhouse MegaOctet, pianist-composer Andy Emler strips his adaptive profile down to its essentials alongside guitarist Marc Ducret, bassist Claude Tchamitchian, and drummer Eric Echampard. What he loses in numbers he makes up for in variety, spanning the gamut from ambient to postmodern funk at the flick of a switch.

Ducret is a detail-oriented guitarist whose microscopically attuned improvisations somewhat recall those of Derek Bailey. His, however, are possessed of a uniquely lyrical quality that marks the surfaces of everything they touch with honest fingerprints. His “Sphinx 2” opens the record unaccompanied before the quartet jumps into fine form on the title track. In unison with Emler’s right hand, he exudes quantum energy. Tchamitchian flexes and breathes at the center of it all, while Echampard pulls out all the stops to let every cylinder breathe with combustion. Soloing across the board is confident yet leaves plenty of room for the listener to unplug and unwind. And speaking of unplugging, Ducret himself goes acoustic in “Sad and beautiful” (also the title of Emler’s previous trio outing for La Buissonne) for a delicate yet emotionally direct sound. Here, as in “Marche dans l’autre sens,” guitar and piano banter like siblings, while “Lève toi et… Marc” finds them molding each other into a dynamic rollercoaster—out of water into flame and back again.

As one often finds in Emler’s oeuvre, quiet seeds yield phenomenal trees and vice versa. The hushed cymbals of “Turn around and don’t look back,” for one, predict an interlocking storm. The bass intro of “Watch your back, Darwin… I mean,” for another, tips the band’s finest synergy into a lyrical twist, laying its head in anticipation of sweet rest.

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