Exposé Online banner

Un Ensemble & Jean-Luc Guionnet — Points sans Surface
(Circum-Disc LX 012, 2018, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-04-07

Points sans Surface Cover art

Sometimes promos come to me that are pretty far out there, so far in fact that regardless of how many times I listen to them, I’ll probably never catch the wavelength, and Points sans Surface is certainly one of those. The composer is Jean-Luc Guionnet, who our readers have heard from before, most recently with his 2016 Quelque Chose au Milieu with the ensemble Bi-Ki?, but this one is a very different animal, scored for the 29 musicians of Un Ensemble playing just about every instrument imaginable, plus spoken vocals, including all kinds of horns, saxes, bass clarinet, contrabasses, violins, cellos, flute, electronics, drums, percussion, even electric guitar and more. This is really a small orchestra, sounding like they are performing some kind of random improvisation most of the time, sometimes so quiet that the result is barely audible, then one of the voices will speak some nonsense and a few instruments come to life all of a sudden. The loud sounds (percussion, horns, etc.) and quieter sounds (all strings and some of the quieter woodwinds and such) seem to be tied together with the quiet electronic sounds that pretty much permeate the entire piece at various levels. There are tracks, so to speak, but these just seem like random divisions in the program that occur prior to some ‘event’ like a spoken part, otherwise one can consider this to be one long continuous 65-minute piece. What’s happening here might make a lot more sense when experienced live in a three-dimensional acoustic space, but coming out of the speakers of my cheap stereo I find myself just scratching my head in wonderment and occasionally experiencing the jarring feeling the low pitched instruments and drums occasionally shaking the room. Still, it is possible to like and enjoy something that one doesn’t fully understand, and that’s sort of where I am with this.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Jean-Luc Guionnet

More info
http://unensemble.bandcamp.com/album/points-sans-surface

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...

Vander / Top / Blasquiz / Garber - "Sons" Document 1973 - Le Manor – With the relase of AKT I - Les Voix de Magma, Christian Vander launched his new label to release live and unreleased studio material to all the eager Magma fans around the world, following the...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues