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BRESCHAND, HELENE - Les Incarnes

Format: LP
Label & Cat.Number: D'Autres Cordes DAC20141
Release Year: 2014
Note: solo album by this interesting French harp player, this is her first LP with two suspenseful side-long pieces using acoustic and electric harp and her voice in a very experimental way, creating tones and intensity you would never expect normally from a harp...."The way in which Breschand makes the harp resonate like a cello or violin is exceptional, and as it buzzes and shimmers into tightly-controlled flurries of feedback and reverb..." [FREQ]
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"New solo recorded in Paris, December 2013. Harp, acoustic and electric, voice. 'Hlne Breschand demonstrating her readiness to deconstruct her instrument's identity...'." [Julian Cowley THE WIRE]

www.dautrescordes.com


"Hlne Breschand plays her harp in as wide a variety of ways as is possible to imagine (and some which might be less obvious), at times sounding like she is letting rip in an electric guitar, prepared piano, zither and effects pedals all simultaneously. What it doesnt really sound like is the limpid waftings of angels serenading the hosts of heaven, unless said host happens to be in a very avant-garde state of mind at the time. As side A draws to a melancholic close, it plinks, bends and twangs with softly swerving resonances and reverberations, plus the occasional whack of the harps frame for good measure.

Side B opens with notes held in soft tension, Breschands breath becoming more audible among slow accretions of metal strings swept and slung in a slow progress while she brings forth a long drawn-out song composed more of emotional intonations than of individually discernible words. The whole is delivered initially with echoes of the stately grace of a koto-accompanied Noh, though the piece eventually dissolves into reflective sweeps of panning delay and the arrival of harsher effects and discordances.. The way in which Breschand makes the harp resonate like a cello or violin is exceptional, and as it buzzes and shimmers into tightly-controlled flurries of feedback and reverb, the booming finale of Les Incarns is delivered in gathering clusters of remarkable intensity.

This is meditative music, but not the kind full of new age vapidity; rather it is the sound of a musician exploring and stretching the boundaries of her instrument with a deep concentration. Her (presumably) furrowed brow and the evident rapt attention paid to the sounds she is making is audibly transmitted directly to the listener; and is a joy to be swept up by and absorbed into."
[Richard Fontenoy/FREQ]



"The harp is not an instrument we hear on a daily basis, here at the weekly HQ, but of course there are some players in this field, Rhodri Davies for instance is quite active. I never heard of Helene Breschand, who works from contemporary music to jazz, both solo as well as a chamber musician, including improvisation, musical theatre and visual arts. She has performed works by Luciano Berio, Emmanuel Nunes, Yoshihisa Taira, David Toop and Christian Marclay and has founded the group Laborintus. Both pieces on this new record are called 'Les Incarnes'. These pieces have hardly anything to do with jazz or contemporary music, unless of course radically sparse improvisation is what you call contemporary and/or jazz. She plays electric and acoustic harp and uses her voice and both pieces are excellent in a way that these are very intense, quiet most of the times but with a lot tension underneath. She uses a delay pedal occasionally and strums her instrument, bows it, plucks it and uses her voice in pretty much the same way. Not to accompany her, but to create something that fits her unworldly playing of the harp. On the B-side she bends the harp to go a bit more extreme levels and even mildly distorted, but here too it remains to have a certain austerity. Excellent record!" [FdW/Vital Weekly]