Name: Jean-Luc Guionnet
Occupation: Composer, Improviser, Saxophonist
Selected Bands & Projects: Angle, Hubbub, Return Of The New Thing, The Ames Room
Current Release: Distances Ouïes Dites on Potlatch
Musical Recommendations: Joe Colley - "Waste of songs" / Dominic Gagnon – "Hoax_Canular" / Yuri Leiderman - "birmingham ornament"
When did you start playing your instrument, and what or who were your early passions or influences?
I first hated music. Yes : "hated it". I loved to paint and to draw, yes : "loved it" ... My father was playing saxophone in his free time. I didn't like it very much either : I preferred silence and also to be alone with my drawings and so forth. Then, when I was around 15 years old, for some obscure reasons — probably — I fell in love with music ... Yes : "in love". I first played electric organ — the ones you could find everywhere in the 70's : Farfisa, Bontempi, etc. with drum machines and chords — then I played the piano, then the drum, and later on the alto saxophone. Also, I was composing "tape music" in the "French way" (!) : "electroacoustic music" or "acousmatic".
My first influences and passions were traditional music from places like Turkey, Japan, or Mauritania, then Cecil Taylor ("indent"), Thelonious Monk (his first solo recorded in Paris), Iannis Xenakis ("Persephasa", "Jonchaies", "Shaar"), Edgard Varèse ("Arcana"), and John Coltrane ("Sun Ship", "Interstellar Space"). They still are, plus others that I discovered a little bit later, like Karlheinz Stockhausen ("Procession", "Stop", "Gruppen"), Arthur Blythe ("The Grip") or David Tudor (first electronic works), Scelsi ("Aïon", …). I was also very much impressed and influenced by French electroacoustic music, but I did not have any passion for any of the composers ... Except for what Xenakis did with tape : piece like "Bohor" or "Orient/Occident" which were like of a different school, or, to be precise : of no school ! Then I also listened to Public Enemy. And then year after year, some more. I never come to dislike a music I once liked ...
I played the drums for a little while, and finally switched to the alto sax (easier to carry ...). Later on, around 1993, I came back to the organ through the church organ. Since the nineties, I have also worked for some choreographers and/or directors as a live musician and/or composer, and/or also as a performer. In these contexts I use more and more over the years, an electronic device that I plug and unplug together a little bit differently each time. I recently came to integrate acoustic and electric instruments in the device through microphones and lines. Since 2008 I came back to electric organs of all kind.
What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic work and/or career?
As a musician, incisive moments are probably some concerts that stay in your mind for your entire life ... for some good or bad reasons. But they for sure, the following works and events have been influential:
- Electric organ solo in Festival Ertz, Bera, Spain, 2007 (gezurrezko joera)
- With Seijiro Murayama in Mulhouse 2006 or in Mishima 2007 and 2013, and in Galerie Limitis, Paris, 2011
- With Hubbub in La Malterie, Lille in 2010, and in Toronto 2004
- With Olivier Benoit in Instants Chavirés, Montreuil 2001
- With Thomas Bonvalet in Croce, Madrid and in Luz in 2014
- Organ solo in Barcelos, 2008
- In Vandœuvre, with David Chiesa and Emmanuel Petit I don't remember when ...
- With The Ames Room in Saint Johann, and in Paris, 2013
- With Lotus Edde Khouri in Boom Structur', Clermont Ferrand, 2016, "Reciprocal Scores", and in Data (with a dog), Marseille 2011, "Volatile Lambda"
- With Eric Cordier and Eric Brulebois in La Malterie, Lille 1995, "Schams"
- With Eric La Casa, our project "Home", Uninstall, Glasgow, 2008
- Saxophone Solo in a Jazz Kissa, Kyoto, 2013, "l'épaisseur de l'air"
- Trio with Seijiro and Olivier Benoit in a courtyard, Paris, 2014 on the 21st of June with the background of the whole town playing music all around
- Organ solo recording session in Glasgow, December 2009, January 2010
- Saxophone Solo in 7Hz, San Francisco, 2004, "l'épaisseur de l'air"
- Organ solo in Verneuil-sur-Avre
- With Seijiro, Ray Brassier and Mattin (what we called later "idioms & idiots") in NPAI, Niort, 2008
[a lot of those strong moments are here ("bending contumax" - organ solo - no school recordings) and on Soundcloud]
Also compositions that influenced the way I think about life and music :
- "Distances Ouïes Dites" (Hearsay Distances), for Dedalus in 2013
- "Reflected Waves", with Eric La Casa in Melbourne, 2004
- "Enquête En Hauts Fonds" with Eric La Casa, in Paris, for the French national Radio, 2004
- "Juked Organs" for Hodos, 2015
Incisive moments are also first meetings with other musicians/artists that become collaborators (or not)
- André Almuro
- Eric Cordier
- Caroline Pouzolles
- Eric La Casa
- Seijiro Murayama
- Thomas Bonvalet
- Lotus Edde Khouri
And some none directly musical meeting with some people or/and their work
- Ray Brassier
- Georg Schneider
- Houssam El Bokeili
- François Laruelle
As a listerer :
- The first time I listened to "Leo" by Coltrane in duet with Rashied Ali.
- The first time I listened to "Jonchaies" by Xenakis live.
- The first time I saw Steve Lacy in solo.
- The first time I saw "Jour contre jour" by Gérard Grisey.
- The first time I saw Arthur Blythe in concert with Howard Johnson
- The first time I saw "Gran Torso" by Helmut Lachenmann.
The list could easily be longer : I listen to a lot of music and have at least one moment per year that I consider as being incisive ... I am 50, 51 soon, I have been listening to experimental music, contemporary music, and jazz/free jazz since I was 15, that makes at least 35 moments. Plus I like and don't like to be the ethnologist of myself...
Among the most recent ones :
- Randy Peterson and Mat Manieri in duet in Oslo.
- Markus Schmickler & Julian Rohrhuber in Athens, Borderline, "Politiken der Frequenz"
- Kevin Drumm's "Humid Weather" (Bocian Records), that I listened to at home.
- Dedalus * Antoine Beuger * Jurg Frey (Potlatch records) that I also listened to at home.
And very recently, I have been listening to 2 particular records again and again :
- "Sodorome, Jean-Marie Massou" on the label vert pituite, Coll. La Belle Brute [contact firstname.lastname@example.org]
- "M2015" by Pascal Le Gall [contact email@example.com]
Keith Rowe once asserted that it is often certain people that “give one permission to do things”. How was that for you – in which way did the work of particular artists before you “allow” you to take decisions which were vital for your creative development?
Gérard Gasiorowski, Joseph Beuys, Pierre Guyotat
What are currently your main artistic challenges?
Being faithful to non-subjective tasks, worries, discoveries, and decisions that come and sometime formulate themselves when I'm completely into the process of improvising, composing, drawing, writing ...