Rutger Zuydervelt & Bruno Duplant’s “L’incertitude” reviewed by The Sound Projector

On L’Incertitude (CRÓNICA 157-2020), we have the pairing of two very productive Europeans Bruno Duplant and Rutger Zuydervelt, collaborating together for the very first time and producing two long sides of music / sound on a cassette, whose titles might be tinged with existential doubt. French composer Duplant often comes our way via the Rhizome.s label, a home for ultra-minimal and very challenging compositions, and we recently heard him team up with Pierre Gerard on the Soleil Clandestinrecord. Based on past performances, I tend to imagine Duplant is quite remorseless and ruthless in executing his cryptic, inscrutable plans, which may be why I found L’Incertitude surprisingly approachable and accessible. I shan’t say that it’s a tape packed with calliope tunes and exciting beats, but neither is it an example of his characteristic severe blanked-out style. To put it another way, there’s plenty of content and the content keeps changing. There’s also a user-friendly dimension to the work, which might be attributable to the Dutch drone-maestro Zuydervelt; whether recording as himself or as Machinefabriek, this very talented and able fellow always manages to arrange his layers and his collaged elements in patterns that make sense to the listener, even when dealing with quite abstract subject matter.

Even so, L’Incertitude does manage to insinuate that aura of metaphysical doubt, that grain of sand in the machinery, to bring us closer to that existential frame of mind so prized by every self-respecting French intellectual since old “laughing boy” J-P Sartre ruled his quarter of Paris with an iron rod of the mind. Sonically and musically, I think we get to that point through the wilful combination of unexplained and unusual elements (including a goodly dose of field recordings and found tapes) in among the musical drone which meanders like a babbling brook – unless it’s the water recordings that have planted that suggestion in my mind. In fine, our two composers see life as strange journey whose purpose is unclear, but it’s not a pointless one; and they make their observations in a spirit of genuine enquiry, without ever alienating us with cold tones or threatening minor-key drones. The label notes want to stress that D & Z arrived here through an extremely natural and organic process, based on intuition and mutual trust, without any intellectualising, pre-planned charts or discussions, and we’re all richer as a result. Ed Pinsent

via The Sound Projector

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