East-West Collective - Humeurs (4 stars)

East-West Collective - Humeurs

An avant-garde co-mingling of eastern and western instruments

(Rogue Art)

If the name East-West Collective suggests a worthy global fusion, be not afeared, for Humeurs journeys deep into its own remarkable tone world, where reeds, and sometimes voices, babble and hum about the twangling strings of the koto and ghuzeng. At its most spectral, this set's avant-garde co-mingling of eastern and western instruments recalls the acoustic work of Toshi Ichiyanagi or the godfathers of Japanese improv, Group Ongaku; cello and reed drones prowl through the grass, while Mya Masaoka's koto and Xu Fengxia's ghuzeng rustle and crack like windblown bamboo. Elsewhere, Didier Petit's driving cello coaxes percussive birchrattle rhythms from Masaoka and Fengxia, while Larry Och's sopranino sax and Sylvain Kassap's clarinet pirouette on aerials. Closing track 'Humeur de l'Espirit' bristles with an elemental beauty, as koto and guzheng strings are scraped and bowed, setting up a brittle rattle through which Ochs threads a gorgeous melodic line.

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