Charles Hayward, Sven-Åke Johansson and Weasel Walter represent percussive sub-current at Sonic Protest festival in Paris

 Capt 0195 1

Sonic Protest runs its core festival across various Parisian venues, but it also sends transmissions around the rest of France, staging satellite gigs in cities such as Marseille, Nantes, Lille and Bordeaux. The emphasis is on confrontational and/or challenging rock and/or electronics, but there is also much of interest for the more wayward jazz fan.

A noticeable sub-tendril was the appearance of three drummers with considerable jazz connections, even if they might often inhabit routes taken through other portals. Sticksmen from England, Sweden and the US were involved across three different evenings. Charles Hayward was a founding member of This Heat, one of the most visceral and innovative bands at the late-1970s intersection point of punk, dub, prog, noise and funk. Sven-Åke Johansson is a veteran free improviser, a founder member of the Globe Unity Orchestra. Weasel Walter spends much of his time at the extreme ends of rock, but has always nailed free jazz polyrhythms at the heart of his approach.

The cannily named This Is Not This Heat allows the trio's two surviving members to recall the old late-1970s repertoire with an expanded line-up that allows a fleshly recreation of the loop-piled, multi-instrumentalist overdubs of their original recordings. Most of the newer band's sonic gestures still lie at the dynamically potent points, but with this muscle-training tour in progress, and players who thrive on improvisation, unexpected moves are, paradoxically, expected. At the Centquatre arts centre Hayward mostly plays drums, in his avant-funk intensity, perhaps descended from John French and Jaki Liebezeit. Charles Bullen mostly plays guitar, his spiky, strafing style grown out of a punk/dub/funk collision that, in the late 1970s, was already predicting certain tendencies destined for the early 1980s. The additional members include two more guitarists, a second drummer and a keyboardist, but there are frequent outbreaks of multi-instrumentalism, and all players are part of the general vocal spread. The presence of Alex Ward, stage right, is particularly compelling, as he's responsible for frequent razor-chopping guitar riffs and manic clarinet solos, his horn rammed tightly down onto his microphone, pouring into a floor-spread of effects pedals.

Hayward's voice is as startling as his drumming, as dreamily sinister lines are delivered in what might best be described as a pastorally-yearning Cockney. This same tone is also emulated by Bullen, and indeed, other members of the band. It's akin to Robert Wyatt's imagined evil underbelly, as latent prog tendencies were drowned by punk and d.i.y. sensibilities. This Heat always sounded complex, in the Henry Cow manner, but they possessed a sonic palette that was much more prescient, a trio moving rapidly towards a harsher vocabulary of the later 1970s. 'Not Waving' and 'The Fall Of Saigon' have a curiously diseased romance, a melancholia for nothing, whereas 'Makeshift Swahili' has a rot-gut, visceral chant-mania, and 'SPQR' is almost conventionally skip-funked. On the classic instrumental front, they also deliver 'Horizontal Hold' and '24-Track Loop' with a fully convoluted momentum. These works are at the pinnacle of the unpopular music repertoire, and we couldn't have hoped for a more exciting interpretation, in this Parisian manifestation of the gutsiest experimentation possible.

Capt 0163 3

Have you ever urinated into a plastic urn, filled with fresh hay? This was the avant-garde (or was it traditional?) toilette situation within the vast church of Eglise Saint-Merri. Its general, arching space was even more impressive. Representing an even older generation than Hayward, Sven-Åke Johansson is in his early seventies, still looking wiry and dapper. His kit is classically tiny, just a snare and a single hi-hat, although these are well-amplified. They need to be, as his trio partners are German singer Oliver Augst and French turntablist Alexandre Bellenger, the latter operating at extreme volume, speed, extremity and general ridiculousness. He's a fast-flicker, but not in the hip-hop fashion, preferring to work with decelerated vocal content, or entire chunks of eerily dragged or scratched vintage records. This particularly excites Augst, who has the distinction of being a suave chanson or cabaret stylist, caught in a maelstrom of chaotic free-forming. Once Johansson has dangled a suddenly-discovered large cymbal onto the floor, Augst sincerely croons 'Autumn Leaves', unruffled in his self-deluded supper club zone. Bellenger clamps down on a vinyl platter with his teeth, hoping to add further surface noise. Perhaps this charged set was most reminiscent of when Lol Coxhill used to warble along vocally with his Recedents colleagues, those equally anarchistic representatives of this off-road electroacoustic manifestation of improvisation.

By way of contrasting venues, the next night's gig is at Petit Bain, which is a small shack on the banks of the Seine, not too far from Notre-Dame. We wonder how high their rent is, for the kind of venue that presents extreme sounds such as those made by The Flying Luttenbachers. This is Californian drummer (transferred to NYC for much of the last decade) Weasel Walter's old combo (originally convened in 1991), revived and touring France in a reduced power trio configuration. Not that this impedes a tendency for elaborately staccato arrangements of hellishly-amplified guitar (Chris Welcome) and bass (Tim Dahl), with the latter's fuzzed-up, slide-action tones frequently veering into lead axe territory.

Capt 0266 2

Dahl is probably most-known for his work alongside trumpeter Peter Evans in Pulverize The Sound. He might carefully consult his music-stand score during a finger-twister number, but one of this set's heat-points actually arrives whilst Welcome disappears backstage to change a string, resulting in a spontaneous (and necessary) improvised tussle between Weasel and Dahl. Is this prog or math or simply freak-out? Weasel's locked closely to the string slashcore, with much of the music possessing a slapstick humour, taking us aback with its stark shunts, shanking outbursts and free-form suspension. Not that the Luttenbachers look noticeably amused by all this, but rather, violently intent on realising each savagely condensed assault. At one point, all three players savour a series of excruciating silences, then crack in as one brain cell, heightening the import of each eruption. Weasel's brief pieces are loaded with all manner of exaggerated activity: it's rock'n'roll with a freedom sensibility.

– Martin Longley
– Photos by Magouka

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

Instant Composers Pool Orchestra goes Dutch with UK and Ireland dates

Instant Composers Pool Orchestra goes Du…

The unique, internationally renowned Instant Composers Pool Orchestra launches Going...

Read More.....
Martin Taylor and Jazz at The Philharmonic concert to save Swanage Jazz Festival

Martin Taylor and Jazz at The Philharmon…

News that this year's 28th edition of the Swanage Jazz...

Read More.....
Nérija, Dinosaur and Jim Mullen among Parliamentary Jazz Award winners

Nérija, Dinosaur and Jim Mullen among Pa…

The 13th annual Parliamentary Jazz Awards took place for the...

Read More.....
Hugh Masekela withdraws from Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya concert due to ill health

Hugh Masekela withdraws from Abdullah Ib…

Revered South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela has announced that, due...

Read More.....
Dee Byrne's Entropi Radiate Amid Rough And Tumble At Kings Place Album Launch

Dee Byrne's Entropi Radiate Amid Rough A…

  The most striking thing about Moment Frozen, the second release from British...

Read More.....
Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach fire-up new Eastside Jazz Club

Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach fire-up …

The opening night of Birmingham's new Eastside Jazz Club featured...

Read More.....
James Taylor And Soweto Kinch Among Poetic Masters Of Rhythm And Rhyme At 2017 Limerick Fest

James Taylor And Soweto Kinch Among Poet…

  The Limerick Jazz Festival continues to spring surprises, and to...

Read More.....
Dave Liebman/Richie Beirach, Christine & Ingrid Jensen and Mark Turner head to Birmingham’s Eastside Jazz Club

Dave Liebman/Richie Beirach, Christine …

Jazz in the Midlands got a huge boost with the...

Read More.....
Mike Gibbs' Dramatic Big Band Birthday Bash A Blast At Birmingham's CBSO Centre

Mike Gibbs' Dramatic Big Band Birthday B…

  In celebration of his 80th year, the composer and arranger...

Read More.....
Mike Carr – 1937-2017

Mike Carr – 1937-2017

Mike Carr, who died on 22 September aged 79, was...

Read More.....
Jazz FM's Sarah Ward, Chris Philips and Nigel Williams up for radio  awards

Jazz FM's Sarah Ward, Chris Philips and …

Two of Jazz FM's longest serving presenters, DJs Sarah Ward...

Read More.....
Joon Moon Exclusive stream of ‘Moonshine Corner’

Joon Moon Exclusive stream of ‘Moonshine…

This year's EFG London Jazz Festival features a performance by...

Read More.....
Westbrook and Wakeman line up with the Uncommon Orchestra for A Bigger Show

Westbrook and Wakeman line up with the U…

Although Mike and Kate Westbrook are based in the West...

Read More.....
Afro-Beat Icon Tony Allen Sups At The Jazz Source For Capital Sidewinding Summit

Afro-Beat Icon Tony Allen Sups At The Ja…

One of the distinguishing marks of the London Jazz Cafe's...

Read More.....
Liane Carroll and Claire Martin play Jazz for Labour in Brighton

Liane Carroll and Claire Martin play Jaz…

Jazz for Labour is presenting multi-award winning singers Liane Carroll...

Read More.....
Pianist Millar Shows Promise At Pizza

Pianist Millar Shows Promise At Pizza

  As the example of Artist Share amply demonstrates, crowdfunding initiatives...

Read More.....
Gustafsson's Vinyl-Collecting Confessions Published

Gustafsson's Vinyl-Collecting Confession…

Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson has trawled the archives of his...

Read More.....
WIN three stunning Bill Evans vinyl LP sets by entering the Jazzwise Reader Survey

WIN three stunning Bill Evans vinyl LP s…

We'd love to know what you think of Jazzwise. We...

Read More.....
Zoe Rahman leads Inner City Ensemble with nine new talents on board

Zoe Rahman leads Inner City Ensemble wit…

Leading UK pianist Zoe Rahman is set to head up...

Read More.....
Makaya McCraven, Ashley Henry RE:ENSEMBLE and Theon Cross Trio unite Chicago and London for International Anthems

Makaya McCraven, Ashley Henry RE:ENSEMBL…

Some of the most exciting names from London and Chicago's...

Read More.....
The Write Stuff adds new qualification for young writers aged 18-25

The Write Stuff adds new qualification f…

This year's Write Stuff music journalism course will return for...

Read More.....
Exclusive stream of ‘I Miss You’ – New single from Wayne Shorter produced seven-piece Holophonor

Exclusive stream of ‘I Miss You’ – New s…

Fast emerging US progressive jazz seven-piece Holophonor are set to...

Read More.....
Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2017 nominees announced

Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2017 nominees …

  The nominees for the 2017 Parliamentary Jazz Awards have been...

Read More.....
John Jack – 1933-2017

John Jack – 1933-2017

John Jack was one of those figures who seem to...

Read More.....
Liane Carroll, Miles Mosley and Seal for Jazz Voice’s tenth anniversary at EFG London Jazz Festival

Liane Carroll, Miles Mosley and Seal for…

The names have been revealed for this year's 10th edition...

Read More.....
Video Exclusive – 'Forlane' from VEIN Plays Ravel

Video Exclusive – 'Forlane' from VEIN Pl…

Swiss piano trio VEIN release their latest album, VEIN Plays...

Read More.....
Denys Baptiste, Mike Gibbs and ICP Orchestra for Turner Sims autumn/winter programme

Denys Baptiste, Mike Gibbs and ICP Orche…

Southampton's Turner Sims concert hall has a bumper crop of...

Read More.....
Nubya Garcia lines up for Steve Reid Innovation showcase – video preview

Nubya Garcia lines up for Steve Reid Inn…

This year's edition of the Steve Reid Innovation showcase will...

Read More.....
Tom Millar Quartet takes Unnatural Events on tour

Tom Millar Quartet takes Unnatural Event…

Pianist and composer Tom Millar starts his autumn tour this...

Read More.....
Hats off for Stetson's big blowout at Brighton's Duke of York

Hats off for Stetson's big blowout at Br…

  Colin Stetson has enough draw to fill this arthouse cinema...

Read More.....
Giovanni Hidalgo fundraiser at Jazz Cafe cancelled

Giovanni Hidalgo fundraiser at Jazz Cafe…

UPDATE: Since this story was first published (here and in...

Read More.....
Walter Becker 1950-2017

Walter Becker 1950-2017

Walter Becker and Donald Fagen may have been two against...

Read More.....
Robert Glasper, Jaga Jazzist and Aron Ottignon added to EFG London Jazz Fest 25th anniversary Line-Up

Robert Glasper, Jaga Jazzist and Aron Ot…

This year's momentous 25th EFG London Jazz Festival, which runs...

Read More.....
Legacies live on as Sidewinder and Coltrane hit silver screen

Legacies live on as Sidewinder and Coltr…

  September can be a quiet month for music fans, after...

Read More.....
Metropole Orkest Modernise Mingus On Prom Night

Metropole Orkest Modernise Mingus On Pro…

Charlie Mingus famously encouraged musicians to play without charts, creating...

Read More.....
Nick Duckett talks about the Harry South The Songbook – “…a British Quincy Jones”

Nick Duckett talks about the Harry South…

Pub conversations can get you in a world of grief...

Read More.....

ABJazzWise


Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

@GramophoneMag The Unanswered Question...
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@ashleyslater247 hahaha
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

Sign up to the Jazzwise monthly E-Newsletter

 

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA