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CD Feature/ Vincent Bergeron: "L'art du Dessarroi"

img  Tobias

The big academic debates about tonality, dissonance or new forms of harmomic relations may have died down a little, the wider public still hasn’t swallowed the bitter pill of the Avantgarde. Allow me to offer my view of the problem: Too many contemporary compositions hide the person behind the music, instead doing all they can to be “cool” or “progressive”. Covering your tracks may be a sensible thing when commiting a crime, music has rarely been the better for it. Luckily, despite the radical nature of his work, Vincent Bergeron has not tried do so.

Having said this, “radical” may even be an understatement here – “L’art du desarroi” translates to “The Art of Confusion” and that is a promise well kept. Imagine yourself watching an LSD-orchestra playing symphonic cover-versions of Jaques Brel-songs through the lense of a broken kaleidoscope inside an almost empty movie theater, while listening to a practise-tape for drunken drummers on the headphones of your ipod. Imagine instruments in romantic entanglements at the border of the night, dancing in neonlight to an old shellac recording, with the needle skipping and flipping constantly. Imagine a bizarre dream of a medieval bazar, with the scent of onions and parsley and the sound of a prepared dulcimer being played by the wind. And imagine all of this packed intracks between four and nine minutes long, which follow no logic but their own and are held together by the acting of a pantomime. Now, can you imagine sitting through this in one session, for the duration of almost fifty minutes? Well, maybe you can’t, but then again you should. For nothing on this disc comes as pretentious as this review – most likely confounding in its own right – may seem to suggest. And the reason for this is that the founder of this quaint cosmos is always present, guiding you with his voice, singing you sweet songs of long forgotten times (even if “nostalgia” rhymes with “euthanasia” on this occasion) and tales of great ones lost to madness (“Vincent... Van Gogh”). While the music never really manages to make up its mind, whether it wants to bathe in the melancholic sea of Gorecky or the harsh acid river of Penderecki, Bergeron always opts for the clearness of a melody, as displaced or disillusioned as it may sound.

You need to listen to this to understand the words (you may do so for free on Bergerons website) and after you’ve done so, you’ll probably find them to be inappopriate. Maybe this will help: “L’art du desarroi” is somehow soothing, despite being hectic. It is harmonic, despite flirting with cacophony. And it is firmly organised, even though anarchy is always around the bend. We doubt this is supposed to be a contribution to the academic debate about tonality, dissonance or new forms of harmonic relations. It may appear to be a contradiction in terms, but believe me: Vincent Bergeron is a romantic.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Vincent Bergeron

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