Exposé Online banner

Chat Noir — Nine Thoughts for One Word
(RareNoise RNR064, 2016, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2016-10-29

Nine Thoughts for One Word Cover art

Not long ago I was writing about Naima, a Spanish group with a contemporary take on the classic jazz piano trio. Chat Noir may have a French name, but the group is Italian, and they’re another entry into the same category, for the most part straying even further afield from strict piano, upright bass, and drums. Since their last album, the core group has been reduced to a duo of Michele Cavallari (piano, keyboards, electronics) and Luca Fogagnolo (upright and electric bass, trombone); they are joined on all tracks by electronic wizard J.Peter Schwalm, who supplies beats and other sounds, plus other guests on a few tracks providing guitars and vocals. The result is consistently fascinating and sonically expansive, and it’s not always obvious that there’s not a live drummer in the mix. Some tracks feature piano and upright bass prominently, while others veer off into almost completely electronic territory. “Detuning Leaves” features gamelan-like gong sounds, bowed bass, and what sounds like a heavily processed guitar; the middle section is a solo for distorted electric piano further mangled by a ring modulator. At most times throughout the course of the nine tracks, the sonic density is fairly high — there’s a lot going on. Which isn’t to say that they don’t take it down occasionally. “Uneven” features only minimal percussive sounds, though it pulses along nicely. “Crystallized Flow” is a pensive, melodic, bluesy piano piece augmented by subtle enhancements and treatments. “Momentary Continual” is the one vocal track, featuring Alessandro Tomaselli, and for me provides the only questionable part of the album — maybe I’ll come to like the singing eventually, but for now it just doesn’t seem to fit in. Schwalm brings his expansive soundscapes and indescribable tones to the music, and combined with the skilled playing of the others, the result is a dreamy alternate universe of swirling impressionistic flashes. Nine Thoughts for One Word is something unique, and it fits in perfectly with the RareNoise esthetic of surprise.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): J. Peter Schwalm, Chat Noir

More info
http://www.rarenoiserecords.com/chat-noir

Latest news

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

SanRenSei - Ceremony – Three players (keyboard synths + voices, guitar synths and hardware sequencer) contribute to the six pieces herein, which fall squarely into the low key floating ambient electro-acoustic zone. The...  (2004) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues