François Carrier / Michel Lambert - Out of Silence

Label: NoBusiness Records, 2018

Personnel - François Carrier: alto saxophone, Chinese oboe; Michel Lambert: drums.


Canadian saxophonist François Carrier, a dauntless improviser, has been associated mostly with his country fellow drummer Michel Lambert, whether in duo or trio formats. His discography is rich in valuable collaborations with likes such as Paul Bley, Bobo Stenson, Dewey Redman, Tomasz Stanko, and many others. In the case of Lambert, the idiosyncratic percussive style he follows led him to recordings with David Torn, Dominic Duval, Ellery Eskelin, and Barre Phillips.

Even if the rapport between the two musicians is undeniable, Out of Silence, their new outing on NoBusiness Records, doesn't reach the immediacy of the commendable Freedom Is Space For The Spirit (FMR, 2016), an album released last year with pianist Alexey Lapin.

The stretching free-form improvisations begin with the title track, where multiple interrogations and exclamations are thrown in at different speeds and with varied tones. Despite the imperturbable percussive flow, they evolve naturally to denser textures with Carrier’s angular phrases ranging from fierce and tribal to casually conversational. In contrast, during the brief moments he switches to the Chinese oboe, a weeping intonation takes care of providing an alternative mood. 

A Thousand Birds” starts with high-pitched whistles swirling around the edges, rapidly slipping into deep multiphonic howls and growls. Lambert’s dry thumps and cymbal arrhythmias fluctuate according to the desired dynamics, and the Coltrane influence is perceptive in some fragments of Carrier’s manifestations. 

With ascendant melodic movements that reminded me the repetitive organ anthem played at certain key points of the NBA games, “For No Reason” feels like an unorthodox march containing asymmetric heartbeats. It unfolds and progresses toward a faster, busy finale.

Carrier tosses discernible melody at both extremities of “Soul Play”, while on “When the Hearts Starts Singing” he introduces some patterned phrasing while advancing at the sound of multi-timbral percussion. By the end, the tune takes a fanfare-like shape with the Chinese oboe sounding almost like a Scottish bagpipe.

To close the album, the duo reserved us “Happy To You”, a fragmented version of the worldly recognized song "Happy Birthday to You".

Even lacking groove in its kinetic dynamics, there’s a palpable energy on Out Of Silence, an intermittently amusing record by two inveterate explorers.

       Grade  B-

       Grade B-

Favorite Records:
01 - Out Of Silence ► 02 - A Thousand Birds ► 05 - When the Hearts Starts Singing