The second interaction of improvisers and artists Pascal Battus and Alfredo Costa Monteiro, ‘Fêlure’ represents a high concept drone record masquerading as sound art and esoteric free improvisation. If the roles assigned in the liner notes can be taken seriously, the duo coax a startling array of timbral variation from the extreme limitations of performing solely utilising ‘rotating surfaces’ and ‘amplified paper’. Having the affect of the pieces hinge on the absurdist proposition of collaborating across such elements risks overwhelming the processes actually at work. Yet the sub bass groans, undulating textures and focused sense of physicality reflected in, but also surpassing, the conceptual practices, ensures that this is not the case. The work here is precise and detail-oriented, concerned with amassing minor alterations and recording direct physical relations in performance; no processing or editing, instead amplifying friction and reaction to create something rich and and almost palpable. The harsh contrasts and toneless drones, like the amplification of vast and shifting tectonic plates, capture movement and conflict within a transparent and direct improvisatory method.
Yet, conceptualising the bizarre pieces amid traditions of analogue noise, with industrial affectations, is still the most satisfying. Within this context the record is a great success; dynamic non-music, abrasive (almost literally), stark and disorienting. Whilst alongside this, ‘Fêlure’ remains an interesting piece of pure abstraction at the limits of European improvisation, extending the subtle and often maddening techniques of groups such as AMM to transmit tactile, amelodic sound without preconceptions or expectations; certainly indicative of how best to approach the sessions.
For constructing this riotous piece of performance and experimentation, equal parts meticulous and ridiculous, framing what essentially becomes a bewildering drone record and as fascinating improvisers, the duo, and these nonsensical pieces particularly, deserves recognition.