Pierre Gérard - Pieces Of Apparatus [New Wave Of Jazz - 2021]
Pieces Of Apparatus severs up five examples of extremely sparse and often spaced-out improv for guitar- with all the tracks unfolding in both a jaggedly wondering, dartingly inventive, and largely rewarding manner. Here on the New Wave Of Jazz label is CD release, presented in the labels house style packaging of a white and grey box gatefold, that features a worthy write-up about both Gérard work in general and the pieces offered up here.
Pierre Gérard is based in Liège, Belgium- and has been releasing work since around 2008. He’s so far ( according to Discogs) racked up around twenty releases- with seemingly most of these been full-lengths. Pieces Of Apparatus is my first taster of his work, and I must say he has a rather distinctive sound that feels both wondering, that also purposeful.
As a release Pieces Of Apparatus runs at spot on the fifty-three-minute mark- with each of the tracks hitting between three and fifteen minutes, though mostly they hit around the ten minute plus mark. Each of the tracks here features a similar sparse, spidery, and just amplified guitar tone- so while there’s not a lot of different sounds/ tone at play here, Gérard does manage to make each track have its own identity/ quirks.
The album opens with "Formé Sur Un Bois De Rose Pâle"( Formed On A Pale Rosewood)- this is the longest piece here at just over fifteen and a half minute. It’s built around a blend of choppy ‘n’ darting picks, points of slight reverb, with more fleeting moments of tap ‘n’ hack, tighter and smaller string scrubs, and higher-pitched neck fumbling. The track feels both nervy and awkward- yet at the same time wonkily spritely and strangle appealing in its jaggedly spaced flow.
By track three we come to "Miniature En Poudre Pratique" (Practical Powder Miniature) where we find three and a half minutes worth of slow placed almost waltzing picks, low-key reverb hover, and a few more wailing/ sour points. The album plays out with the just over eleven minutes of "Emprunté A La Transparence D'une Forêt Sans Rose" (Borrowed From The Transparency Of A Forest Without Rose) which is all about sourly hazing-yet oddly warming clusters of note strums and string hovers- managing to feel both awkwardly fragile-yet- at the same time strangely heartfelt too.Roger Batty
All in all Pieces Of Apparatus offers up a good selection of Mr Gérard decidedly unique take on guitar-based improv. Let hope the release leads to more folk hearing his work, as there is no doubt he has a very one-off and largely worthy take on the improv, which I know will appeal to those looking for something a little different.