LETTRES & REPLIS [ CD Elsewhere ]
This album contains realizations of textscores sent in 2017 by Bruno Duplant to Reinier van Houdt. The scores are in the form of three sent 'letters' and three 'replies', reflecting Mallarmé's notion of textual space and chance.
“I composed my realizations around the fundamentals of reading and writing. The Lettres are connected to melody spelled out and read in all directions propulsed by memory and gaze. The Replis are connected to the harmonies from a place as they permeate and unravel through the metaphorical holes made by writing, linearly arranged again with recordings of a walk along the river that traverses this place. Letters cannot be erased, they affirm the materiality of language. Words (like music) are not envelopes containing clear messages, nor are they loaded guns as Sartre would have it. The possibility of meaning is rooted in the dark side of language where destruction and meaninglessness precede all possible worlds.”
THE WIRE september 2019 Derek Walmsley
"..the best of the discs here is "Lettres & Replis", on which Reinier van Houdt and Bruno Duplant take the relation between composing and performing to new heights of collaboration. dialogue and crosstalk..Reinier van Houdt created a series of Letters and Replis here, full of thoughtful pauses and elegiac spaces. Along the way, layered pianos, field recordings, and what sounds like jerry-rigged piano preparations vie for attention at the edge of your perception. It's a process which at times feels more akin to decomposition instead of composition, as the instrument itself is minutely examined and seems to break down in ever more fascinating parts. It's like disassembling a wind-up musicbox and marveling at the mysterious pieces which make music and motion possible.."
INACTUELLES, MUSIQUES SINGULIÈRES september 2022 Dionys Della Luce
"..a truly sublime release!..a constant reinvention of the piano..the classic notion of melody is transformed into a fascinating filigree of eruptions, heavy blows that hold the attention, every unexpected note falling into place in a dangerous stream. In the "Replis" the piano sinks into the thick atmosphere of the brimming field recordings to find there a sketch of a sublime melody of a crushing melancholy. The piano is almost derelict, its dream forgotten, permeated with resonating shudders, insecure but nevertheless following its intimate vision. A desolate and fragile beauty, the echo maybe of a paradise lost, but scaled back to a radiant simplicity.. gradually the atmosphere darkens, the piano becomes a grave...The last "Lettre" is the most telling, compelling, agressive almost before it relaxes again into the possibility of a hymn...upside down, pursued by the bottom, sabotaged by trapdoors..then finally an inner dialogue with dramatic charge between the extremes registers of the piano, like a meditative elegy..Two of the greatest contemporary artists make one of the most beautiful works of our time. A sublime release!."
BEST OF BANDCAMP december 2019 Peter Margasak
"..one of the best releases of 2019.. A gorgeously meditative yet vividly-present project—a kind of musical correspondence..marked by a sublime touch, a Satie-esque delicateness—tracing elliptical, ruminative melodies of remarkable tenderness, rich in overtones and ambient noise..exquisitely and subtly pushing his responses to the letter scores toward an exterior space, as lapping water, distantly passing boats, and muffled fauna gently commingle with patiently decaying notes."
FREEJAZZ BLOG september 2019 Eyal Hareuveni
"..Deceptively simple and utterly beautiful..van Houdt’s playing is mesmerizing. He alternates between soft and hard strikes, and reconciles dissonance and sonority in a dreamy musical ether. At its most mellifluous, it is just shy of saccharine, in part because of the added dissonance and the pulsing layers of sound. At its most discordant, it is listless, though still quite tender.. this mysterious, contemplative and delicately nuanced piano solo is performed majestically by van Houdt. He lets the translucent overtones and rich resonances offer a melancholy and nostalgic colors and shades, and at times he adds a fragile dramatic undercurrent to to the quiet exchange of cryptic thoughts and ideas. The words are morphed into a highly personal, suggestive language where “destruction and meaninglessness precede all possible worlds”.You can trust van Houdt. He sure does know how to draw you into his fascinating musical world. Five stars."
DUSTED MAGAZINE september 2019 Bill Meyer
"..while the combinations here are many and unusual, the yield music that is not dense; you could fly through its spaces like a bird. The 'Replis' seem to be reactions comprising thoughts and feelings that are influenced by an awareness of what is happening and not happening in one’s time; in other words, knowing everything we know about what people willingly ignore in this era of accelerated change and destruction, we fold like poker players who have run out of chips and just don’t want to know what’s being dealt in the next hand.Such dark thoughts certainly correspond to the brooding, ruminative quality of each “Replis,” Phrases from the “Lettres” reappear in each “Replis,” creating a feeling of connectedness that holds its sprawl music together and gives each playthrough the feeling of inhabiting a bounded zone of sound and time. There’s wordless poetry in the distance, both temporal and pitch-wise, between the notes, and a rich blend of familiarity and not-knowing in the hints of traffic and nature that course through each “Replis.” ..the sound of this music is so gorgeous that it holds up just fine without any foreknowledge.."
ONDAROCK 2019 Michele Palozzo
"..we should always watch the margins of the avant-garde, because there the greatest challenges in music are met without much publicity by artists like Reinier van Houdt.. This is a radical score, where Reinier van Houdt reads the letters as 'piano phonemes', lining them up in ever more enigmatic melodies that seem to evade meaning as they develop. The replies on the other hand deal with reality in a 'baroque' sense: a layered surface cut by space-time-diagonals, a field of sounds, a crossroads of inflections, of philosophy, history, art. They seem like dramatic nocturnal meditations, growing more obscure towards the end.. Conceptual art is often seen as austere, removed from any emotion. Here we have the luck to experience the contrary: Duplant and Van Houdt meet in a sonic and spiritual harmony.."
MUSIQUE MACHINE july 2019 Roger Batty
"..this is very much an album of intense colliding sonic contrasts. The juxtaposition of these is what makes the whole thing so fascinating and rewarding..To start proceedings we get a slow, lulling & fragile piano melody, but slowly but surly we get the addition of angular shifts, then later stabbing tinklings, sudden darting mid-range motion.. a fascinating counterbalance that was jarring at first, but as you get slowly get into the concept of the tracks you get sucked more and more into the contrasts..
then the combination of persistent and violent piano glunks and softer playful clusters create a jerking groove. the last tracks stands one of the most disturbing and unpredictable moments here..we get a blend of doomed and slowed low end note hits, hight pitch picks and darts as well as more harmonic mids..it ends in darkness and a faraway steam whistle.."
ALL ABOUT JAZZ july 2019 John Eyles
"..van Houdt allows plenty of space for the music to breath and notes to resonate, imbuing the piece with an impressive sense of drama..The three Lettres are hanging together beautifully, with their sense of space and drama.. As with the "Lettres" the three "Replis" have a consistent sound and style, largely down to the field recordings, which colour each of them. The closer "Replis III" opens with the sounds of an outdoor field recording, it soon adds deep rich bottom-end piano which creates an atmosphere that persists throughout the piece, one that will conjure up different emotions for different listeners, all of them dark, melancholy and persistent. All in all, a haunting piece that brings this excellent album to a fittingly fine conclusion."