Tag Archives: Album

Sylvain Luc: Sylvain Luc by Renaud Letang

Sylvain Luc by Renaud Letang

Today’s album comes from French guitarist Sylvain Luc, one of my favorite guitar players. The last few albums he released were all in duo setup, one with Richard Galliano on accordion, another with Marylise Florid on guitar and the last album with Stéphane Belmondo on trumpet. This time Sylvain Luc teams up with producer Renaud Letang in a studio duo setup.

Sylvain plays all the instruments mainly different guitars, bass (he is also an excellent bass player) and some keyboards. The album contains new original material composed by Sylvain Luc and Renaud Letang.

Renaud has some more details on the production process:
“The production of this album was carried out in several stages.
I first asked Sylvain to compose themes specifically for this project, giving great importance to the simplicity and effectiveness of the melody.
Secondly, we jointly chose the compositions that could suit the style of production that I imagined. The next step was to record demos only with Sylvain in order to get the best of himself without the intervention of other musicians.
This approach led us to glimpse what the identity of the album could be. At this stage it seemed obvious to us not to use drums or percussions in order to keep the intimate side of the production. The limited choice of instruments and sounds was ultimately decisive (electric guitar, midi guitar, acoustic guitar, electric bass, Roland Juno 60 and a multitude of old and modern effects pedals)”.

And Sylvain adds:
“Apart from an acoustic piano, a few old synthesizers that Renaud owned, and a handful of bass parts, there is only guitar. But I arrived with a whole arsenal of pedals with singular sounds, in particular octavers, the idea being to “derive” the guitar from its usual sound palette”.

The result is a fantastic album with Sylvain’s distinctive guitar style combined with rich sounds and textures.

The album starts with “La source des castors” where Sylvain Luc already pulls out all the stops of his guitar and bass effects with a little bit of synthesizer background setting the stage for the things to come.

“B-Beach” is the next song and this song is one of my favorites on the album. Great guitar groove, nice harmonic and rhythmic surprises and a cool bass solo.

The album continues with “Ne vois-tu rien venir”, another beautiful melody and a great guitar solo with a few kicks with octavers added.

The next song “80 vs 2000″ is the hidden motto of this album, the combination of analog sounds and effects of the ’80s combined with the listening habits and expectations from digitally created music. In the middle an easy floating guitar melody. This is definitely the highlight of the album.

“Bolero langoureux” comes in strict opposite with an acoustic guitar opening and guitar and bass in dialog in this gorgeous ballad.

The next song “Funny Blues” is not a blues as we would expect it, however is another example of Sylvain Luc’s skills to compose beautiful melodies. “What was surprising was that I have positioned myself as a singer, ultimately”, summarizes Sylvain Luc.

“Vue du septième” comes more like a children’s song, very easy going and harmonic with a nice and steady groove.

“Indie souvenirs” is an evocation of an Indian tour of 2009, offering a kaleidoscope of syncopated rhythms with string glissandos. The theme is dubbed with a bottleneck guitar and the steel-drum solo is played on a guitar-synth.

“Pensée nomade” is in contrast acoustic, played on a classical nylon string guitar.

The album closes with a last dance “Transe 18″. A hypnotic motive is the base for this song, an obvious melody does not exist, only a sparse bass pattern and some synthesizer harmonies added with a long fade out. A perfect ending for this album.

Overall this album is outstanding, it breathes the extraordinary guitar playing of Sylvain Luc but also the current “Zeitgeist” where you are thrown back to yourself with all those limitations during the pandemic. The collaboration between Sylvain Luc and Renaud Letang worked perfectly and I can highly recommend this album.

More information about Sylvain Luc, upcoming concerts and links to his albums and videos are found on his website:
https://www.sylvain-luc.com/

And finally the Spotify playlist with the complete album:

Florian Arbenz – Two New Albums

Swiss drummer Florian Arbenz has released two very interesting  albums in the last few months.

The first album “Convergence” was released in June and presents a handpicked sextet of contemporary jazz musicians from Cuba, Brazil, Switzerland, Australia and the UK.

convergence

At the heart of this project is Florians collaboration with the Cuban Vistel brothers: trumpeter Jorge and tenor saxophonist Maikel. They are joined by Brazilian guitarist Nelson Veras, English vibraphonist Jim Hart and Australian bassist Rafael Jerjen.

Florian explains:  “Despite the difficult themes and complicated forms that needed to be mastered for this Convergence project, the music has a very playful and almost party-like aspect. You can really hear and feel the fun we had together in the studio.”

An excellent album with a lot of positive energy, interesting melodies and motifs, a pushing rhythm section and great improvisations. A fine contemporary jazz album.

Florian produced a nice video of ‘Little Idea’ which is the first song on the album:

 


The second album “Reflections of the Eternal Line” was released this month and features saxophonist Greg Osby on soprano & alto sax and Florian on a classic jazz drum kit with a huge balinese gong, some tuned kalimbas and other custom-designed percussion instruments which add a sense of bass lines and even harmony.

Reflections_Cover-1

The album was inspired by a series of paintings by Swiss artist Stephan Spicher, whose workshop was the location of the recording sessions.

Florian has some more details: “I met Stephan around 2004 through a common friend and immediately felt drawn to his art. Stephan’s main themes in his paintings are lines and nature and he has followed those ideas very consistently for many years now, working on different aspects and diving extremely deep in those subjects. I visited Stephan in his workshop and he showed me a new series he was working on with the theme of the interaction of a red and a black line.
Seeing those paintings it was obviously clear to me that this must be my subject, because what Greg and I do is exactly the same: We search for a communication and interaction of our two lines, leaving the freedom to each other, but also clearly inspiring each other.
So I organized a recording session with Greg in Stephan’s workshop and we immediately felt a great vibe.”

Florian and Greg work together now for more than 20 years and their collaboration on this album is outstanding and shows the deep relation and understanding these two musicians have.

A beautiful video is available to see what happened during the recording of the song “Wooden Lines” :

And I have two playlists from Spotify for you for each album. Please enjoy: