Bruno Duplant/Reinier van Houd - Lettres et Replis [Elsewhere - 2019]
Lettres et Replis is a piano-based album that shifts between elegant harmonics and often discordant angularity. The release comes in the form of the six-track album- that’s available as either a mini gatefold packaged CD( ltd to 500 copies), or a digital download- both can be purchased from Elsewhere’s website.
The albums tracks where initially written by French composer/artist Bruno Duplant, then Dutch pianist/composer Reinier van Houd realized & played the pieces. Theses works, at moments see up to three layers of piano tracks, as well as in places unbalancing layers of field recording haze. All creating an album that sits in a fairly odd sonic place- somewhere between the delicate & harmonic Satie like composition, and edgy/ busy John Cage like prepared piano work.
The album opens with “Letter 1”- and this is the second-longest track here at just over the eleven-minute mark. To start proceedings we get a slow, lulling & fragile piano melody- but as the track progresses we slowly but surly get the addition of at first slight off angular shifts, then as time goes on these are added to by stabbing tinklings, sudden darting mid-range notion, and high note mimicking of pattern notation. It’s certainly a fascinating, and at first jarring counterbalance - but as you get familiar with the concept of the tracks you get more & more sucked into the contrasts.
Track number three is “Lettre 2”- and this begins with a persistent & fairly violent selection of tight to & muffled piano glunks- these are decidedly discordant, and slight pitch-shifting in their attack. As the track moves on we get smaller & playful clusters of more higher noted key work- and as we get into the main of the track, these two elements start to creating an almost jerking groove.
The six & final track is "Replis 3"- this twelve-minute & forty-seven-minute track stands as one of the most disturbing & unpredictable moments here-as we start with what sounds like very muffled road field recordings. As the track moves on we get the blend of doomed & slowed low-end note hits, high pitch picks & darts, as well as later on more harmonic mids. By the final quarter of the track, we have shifts between muffled train recordings, and more manic low end clunking
Lettres et Replis is very much an album of(often violently) colliding sonic contrasts. And the juxtaposition of these is what makes the whole thing so fascinating and rewarding- yet another very worthy release from Elsewhere.