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andrewcsmith on 07/16/2010 at 09:00AM

Joëlle Léandre: Solo bass

provided by Joëlle Léandre (

"It's a big beast, you know--it's better to play flute," Joëlle Léandre said as she sweated through the end of her second athletic improvisation at ISSUE in June. And then seagulls cawed, and she launched into an ostinato backed by field recordings and overdubbed bass, and punctuated by ecstatic shouts from the upper range of her instrument.

Léandre was in town for the free jazz festival Vision Fest, and stopped by ISSUE to play a solo set of improvisations, John Cage, and her own compositions (all titled—and announced in a Cagean way—as "No Comment"). Léandre exploited the way that the resonance of the bass fills the room, and the way that any upper harmonics sympathetically resonate the lower strings. In her other composed work ("No Comment") she utters French phonemes and nonsense syllables, alternately grunting and spitting out infantile sounds. In each of her works, she seems to have internalized many of the experiments conducted in the avant-garde of the late 20th century, to the point where each of the improvisations or compositions is strikingly personal.

I've added all of Léandre's own compositions and improvisations from her performance, so check them out on her Artist Page. Below, you can hear the "No Comment" involving the field recordings (mentioned above).

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