alto & soprano saxophones

01 | 00.08:25
02 | 00.06:19
03 | 00.04:04
04 | 00.04:10
05 | 00.06:52
06 | 00.06:30
07 | 00.05:36

total time | 00.41:56  |  Creative Sources . CS021, 2005 | Buy now

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There are no tricks here, first and foremost ; Gauguet has simply developed a weird array of techniques for his alto and soprano, which he exploits via close-miking. There are seven untitled tracks in 42-minutes, each one relentlessly exploring a different technical area : the restrained breath noises of the opening track, the superb low-end growl of the fourth, the chasm-like whooshing of the third, or the very high overtone range of the second. After multiple listens, a slight repetitiveness creeps in ; but overall it’s tight and focused stuff. Can we now speak of post-Butcher, post-Doneda saxophone ? Who knows. This is lovely, state of the art stuff, regardless. The kind of thing to play softly on your own, late at night, or blaring in the middle of the day, with the windows open and noises blending in.  >> Jason Bivins (Signal to Noise #38 – summer 2005)

The solo saxophone improvisations on Etwa sounded more like a duet between a man and the French chapels that these pieces were recorded in. The most finite details of the saxophone were fully exposed as though microphones had been placed inside the horn, yet Gauguet’s tone was saturated in reverb, as though we were listening from the back of the chapel. Subtleties like the simple sound of wind blowing through a pipe didn’t sound like a lack of decision, but more like room breathing and a style of playing that reflected the speed of reality rather than music tailored for a recording. Gauguet was also capable of making some of the most uniquely violent sounds of any sax player I’ve ever heard. Through an endless display of non-traditional techniques, Gauguet’s playing usually sounded more like guitar feedback and industrial machinery than a saxophone. Whatever he was doing, it was unrecognizable as a saxophone and he philosophically treated sound as vibrations that dissipate into the atmosphere. Okay, so that’s literally the definition of sound, and it makes for a truly unforgettable listen (whether you like it or not) that’s both primal and glorious.  >> Seth Kasselman (

[…] L’admirable poème des colonnes d’air de Bertrand Gauguet dans Etwa (CS 021) est la matière vivante et réfléchie du souffle à l’état pur, sublimé par la prise de son de Pierre Olivier Boulant.  >> Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg (Improjazz)