The inspiration for Renard came from a video that Alessandro Bosetti saw at the ethnological museum quai Branly in Paris. The video was showing an african woman divining the future by mean of throwing handfuls of objects on a table and reading their configuration in a relentless sequence of questions and answers to herself. Fascinated by the ritualized simplicity of this practice Bosetti and designer Annette Stahmer, selected a new pool of objects, devised an interpretation code and recorded several divination sessions with a few invited participants. Participants had been instructed on how to “read” the objects and they were able to elaborate answers to each other questions on matters as love, health, family, money, travels and whatever else they may have wished to receive advice on.
Distilled fragments of those intimate and emotional exchanges are recollected each time the ensemble plays and portrayed in this series of pieces for voice, guitar and clarinet. Individual divination sessions are offered to the audience at each time in the hours preceding each show.
All material is derived from the spoken interactions – as it is common practice in Bosetti’s work – although this time speech is often not heard as such but rather used as root material for the creation of geometric melodic patterns that eventually proliferate into thematic constructions. The ephemeral and conversational nature of the original recordings eventually transformed into its opposite and got frozen into stylized music compositions.
While Alessandro Bosetti is used to incorporate fragments du reel in his compositions – in the tradition of composer and radio makers like Luc Ferrari and Yann Paranthoen – the particularity of his method this time resides in his avoidance of sampling and recorded reproduction while creating life size casts of the portrayed scenes for voice and instruments in a sort of hand made hyperrealism.
The instrumentalists – all adopted Berliners by now – are New Yorker Seth Josel – one of the most in demand new music interpreters on the guitar that has been closely collaborating with composers as Tristan Murail, Helmut Lachenmann, Richard Barret and Phill Niblock, Laurent Bruttin from Lausanne, mostly know for his work with the Ensemble Contrechamps in Geneva and Hilary Jeffrey, british trombone player known for his work with the ensemble Zeitkratzer and with C. Christer Hennix.
The music – thoroughly notated – is naked, cristalline, highly formal and stripped down to the bone with instruments and voice completely exposed in both fragility and virtuosistic precision. The focus is shifted away from noise and extended techniques and pointed towards the unfolding of melodic and prosodic possibilities as if a speech-melody section would have been added to Nichlas Slonimsky’s thesaurus of scales and melodic patterns.
The name of the project, Renard, reminds of another african divination technique, that of the Dogon people, where the white fox, Renard pale in French, is interrogated overnight by tracing coded drawings on the sand and reading it’s tracks in the following morning.
Renard is a production of the by the regional fond for contemporary art FRAC Franche-comté.
Alessandro Bosetti – voice/oscillators
Seth Josel – classical guitar
Laurent Bruttin – clarinets
Hilary Jeffrey – trombone
Claire Willemann – videography
Annette Stahmer – typography