An excellent debut Album JoJoNi, by the ENSEMBLE O, the French Trio , which had been around for over a decade now, hits the world on April, the 28th via famous Belgian Crammed Discs Label. The stables which are famous and well recognised for bringing to the World and promoting the best of what had happened in an Avant Garde music since middle of the 80ies. If you asked usual guy what he knows that the Belgium is famous for the ultimate answer would be: The Belgian Waffles & The Crammed Discs Made 2 Measure recordings. Period 😉
In 2010, three friends (Stéphane Garin, Joël Mérah & Sylvain Chauveau) were dreaming of playing concerts in Japan, so they decided to write a series of instrumental, acoustic pieces for small instruments, with the following, self-imposed rule: each of the three friends’ equipment must fit into a suitcase which will comply to airline regulations. With the sole use of guitars and small metal percussion, they spent two years writing and recording an album, entitled Soñando, which came out in 2013 and defined the identity of the trio. Their dream came true: they did play in Japan & Taiwan, and toured in several European countries.
After these tours, and amidst Ensemble 0’s burgeoning activities and collaborations (see below), it took them four years to write Jojoni, the follow-up to that first album of original music. Jojoni means “gradually”, “slowly” in Japanese, and refers to the pace of their compositional work, which is part- ly due to the fact that the trio’s members reside in three different countries (France, Spain, Belgium). But, beyond that, the title reflects Ensemble 0’s attitude towards time, a precious commodity within their creative process: they place care, meticulousness and organic evolution above the reigning injections to ‘perform’ and obtain short-term results.
In Jojoni, the trio refine and expand their style. The seven pieces are built on rhythmic and melodic elements which keep joyfully blending, shifting, moving apart and coming back together again. With a new element this time: a minimalistic drum machine which enters into a dialogue with the percussion and the guitars on a few tracks. This is music which doesn’t copy anyone else’s, and mostly sounds like… Ensemble 0.
Given the environmental crisis, Ensemble 0 decided in 2018 to concretely reduce the impact of their touring. They are avoiding flights and are experimenting a low-carbon combo: train+ bicycle. They arrange to play several dates per region, reach the initial destination by train and, from there on, travel on rented bikes, equipped with carts in which their instruments are placed. The itinerary is planned accordingly, with distances between concert locations comprised between 25 and 50 km (which requires a good level of coordination between the organisers). Audiences are also invited to come to the shows by using low-impact means: walking, cycling or using public transportation.
Ensemble 0 [ã.̃ sãbl ‘ziro] is a contemporary music ensemble founded in 2004 and directed by Stéphane Garin and Sylvain Chauveau. It mostly performs works by modern composers, as well as compositions by its members. The size of the ensemble varies according to the projects.
In cartography, zero is the level of reference, in relation to which all altitudes are calculated. Depending on the chosen directions, compositions and instrumentation, Ensemble 0 plays with an astonishing variety of topographies. First and foremost with its own compositions and with the trio, which is like the beating heart of the collective: Sylvain Chauveau (acoustic guitar, glockenspiel), Stéphane Garin (metal percussion) and Joël Mérah (acoustic guitar). And also with contemporary repertoire, for which the ensemble expands at will. They’ve played and are playing music by Moondog, Arthur Russell and Ligeti and have a real inclination for currently active composers such as Tristan Perich, Michael Pisaro and Rachel Grimes.
*** BIOs ***
crédit: Guillaume Fauveau
Joël Mérah – guitar
A composer, guitarist, and professor of musical culture, his interests include the current transformation of the arts. His compositions encompass works for solo instruments and for full orchestra. He’s a co-founder of Ensemble 0, and the director of publishing house Tabula Compositoria.
Stéphane Garin – percussion, drum machine
He has played and collaborated with Carl Craig, Pascal Comelade, Jürg Frey, Phill Niblock, Tristan Perich, Ryoji Ikeda and many more. He is the co-founder and joint artistic director of Ensemble 0, and a member of the Dedalus ensemble (directed by Didier Aschour). He’s the founder and curator of nuit#couchée, the festival for radiophonic creation.
Sylvain Chauveau – guitar, glockenspiel
He has released 14 albums of his own, ultra-minimalist music, has performed in Europe, Asia and North America, has written a composition which lasts 7 years, has started a label which releases single-copy records, and appears on the XVI Reflections on Classical Music compilation (Decca), alongside Philip Glass, Alvo Noto, Gavin Bryars. He’s the co-founder and joint artistic director of Ensemble 0.
1. Jojoni 1
2. Jojoni 2
3. Jojoni 3
4. Jojoni 7
5. Jojoni 4
6. Jojoni 5
7. Jojoni 6
ENSEMBLE 0 — JOJONI 徐々に CD+digital – Made To Measure Vol.49 out 28 April 2023