An inventive approach to recording and bringing together different sounds, and imbuing these sounds with a sense of humor and at times sadness, marks this collaborative album recorded over a period of three days, almost two years ago, by the Parisian musician Marc Nguyen Tan (of Colder; fans of Tan's former work will be interested to hear how different these far less structured recordings are than Colder's music) and his longtime friend Guillaume Ollendorff (of Tse, The Mainstream Ensemble, and Dust and Chimes), recorded in Alicante, Spain. Sounds of animals; scratchy, manipulated electric guitars; electronic or looped percussion and drums; human voice; cartoon soundtrack effects; electric piano; synths; and finally, a crowd watching fireworks, are placed together at seemingly random intervals.
The album at first seems fairly static, but on repeated listens shows its changes slowly, and the extent to which electronic overdubbing and a dry studio sound are used plays on the idea of the "live" music of the title, so that a large part of the album is centered on studio panning and the place in which sounds appear relative to one another within a pair of headphones. The problem here is that because so much of the recording plays on the idea of irony and anticlimax, it can at times come off as being too vague: how did the city of Alicante affect the musicians, for example, in that it clearly inspired them? What was it about this city that they involved its identity as a place so much in the recording?
However, when the effect of the album works it is like listening to two friends making a concert, in the style of "Music for 18 Musicians," for imaginary players, and then going about inventing those players; album notes say that the concept here is a "musical role playing game experiment in ten parts, where Tex Avery, Baruch Spinoza, and Herbie Hancock's spirits have been called over three nights to conduct a crowd of gorillas, frogs, cats, birds and ducks in heat, forgotten cartoon characters, families of gypsies and guitars, local pagan marching bands, and drunk kids armed with firecrackers," and a strange passage from Spinoza appears in the liner notes. This recording is certainly well worth the listener's time in checking out for its ideas and the intelligence with which those ideas are expressed, but it can also leave you with not much to remember it by. 7/10 -- Jordan Anderson (10 March, 2010)