Take Oakland, California’s MaryClare Brzytwa — an acclaimed flutist whose music often blends her preferred instrument with a sack full of odd electronics to create haunting soundscapes. Her songs are warped journeys through twisted pathways of noise that explore and test boundaries on a whim. The flute, as played by Brzytwa, is an instrument that can quickly jump from a tortured nightmare to softly drifting lullaby. The California artist adds another layer of surrealism to her work with the help of strange sound effects that tease out the otherworldly aura of her music. It is an unnerving cocktail of beauty and dreamlike melody.
— 2009 Philadelphia Northeast Times: Master Artist Rental Car
Flutist, vocalist, electronic musician, now based in Switzerland, via Oakland, via Cleveland. She’s a pretty scary/awesome artist and improviser in her own right. I was really sold after hearing her perform solo torch-noise behind a microphone, keyboard and computer screen with the most colorful Max layout I’d ever seen. Later, I learned of her association with folks like Fred Frith, Zeena Parkins and Joelle Leandre, but here’s a list of people I think should seek her out ASAP: Kate Bush, Maja Ratkje, Meredith Monk, Mike Patton, John Zorn, Britney.
— 2008 Dusted Magazine, features 737: Live Performance
Unusually intriguing improv. Avant garde improv that sometimes utilizes traditional dramaturgy. Motorized, hypnotic rhythms and vibrating, pulsating quadrants. Spatial electronics interwoven with lines of melodies seeped in mysterious micro and macro sounds and surprisingly coarse and prepared textures. mysterious, magical tension, abstract paintings concretizing themselves in our suspenseful emotions and passions. Liturgical, melancholy arrest in unusual colors.
— 2007 Informator “Ars” (Poland): Bebe Donkey
Ambient , Nervous, and Scattered. MC rocks!
— 2007 All about Jazz (Italy): Bebe Donkey
Berthiaume out of Montréal and MaryClare Brzytwa from Mills College create a garden of delights for listeners looking to be challenged and soothed in the same spectrum. A first-order recording of flute, guitar and laptop voyages that could lead to an out of body experience. The space between drone and experimental soundscapes is the galaxy these partners in para-normal sounds traverse. A quiet revolution unfolds from the abandoned forms of composition, exploratory in purpose yet quite sensible in texture. Many laptop layer cakes collapse like soufflé but Berthiaume and Brzytwa make it happen like master chefs having a chat while prepping decadent delicacies. Even the space between sounds takes on significant meaning and function, truly a magnificent and important contribution to the undomesticated sounds of experimentation.
— 2007 KFJC On-Line Reviews: Bebe Donkey
MaryClare Brzytwa makes noises spanning electronic blips to manipulated flute solos to sparse piano/vocal pieces that sound like the show tunes of the damned, conceived by someone chained up in Sondheim’s basement.
— 2008 Philadelphia City Paper: Master Artist Rental Car
The guitarist Antoine Berthiaume and the flautist MaryClare Brzytwa (also on electronic instruments) present a disc of improvisation and sampling not at all idiomatic and on the contrary, very eccentric and diverse: If Bebe Donkey and Was Named do not wander too far from the norm of the field, After is a surprising mute ballad, Who Is Really a digression of out-rock, Girl from Philadelphia an exercise techno-microwave, By the Name of a splendid mutation of rock-blues and She Also caresses the field. The idea – and the realization – of a ‘container’ capable of collecting very diverse ideas redirecting them in the language of improv is applaudable.
— 2008 Blow Up ,116, Italy: Bebe Donkey
Here’s an interesting paradox. Music by Antoine Berthiaume (Montreal, guitar effects) and MaryClare Brzytwa (Cleveland, Ohio, flutist and manipulative computer effects) is generally composed of artificial elements. It rarely heard of the strings or blowing into the flute. Rather, it is a sound magma moving in front of our ears on this album.
Yet this music is surprisingly alive! It breathes, it moves, it is organic! The series of improvisations that have delivered the two musicians unfolds as clouds atmosphere that could be compared visually to the movement of a magic bench fish or a swarm of insects: it teems in all meaning, you can hear lots of small details, but it is this mass movement that is exciting and captivating to listen.
We can only concentrate on the mechanical aspect of the sequences used and the beauty of sound (After), but it is taking a step back and letting himself be carried by all of those elements that really takes his foot. One piece is more sound. Berthiaume Brzytwa and reveal them more natural réverbérée flute and guitar chords dry effects. The only exception that transports us into a world mid-new age, mid-Sigur Ros, Baby on the Donkey. Otherwise, it’s a space that transports us. Great success!
— 2008 Emoragei Magazine: Bebe Donkey
Le jeune guitariste canadien élargit son spectre sonore dans ce partenariat avec la Californienne MaryClare Brzytwa. Après les approches expérimentales de sa guitare en compagnie de ses confrères Fred Frith ou Derek Bailey ou de son trio avec Quentin Sirjacq et Norman Teale, plus traditionnelles avec Ellen’s Bar, voici qu’il approfondit son travail sur les effets – à l’instar de Ernesto Diaz Infante, Pascal Battus ou Pierre Redon (avant que celui-ci ne développe davantage son travail sur l’environnement – accompagné par la flûtiste-laptopiste. Cette démarche est actuellement adoptée par de nombreux instrumentistes, usant des bruits et interférences électroniques diverses comme d’un nouveau langage musical. Associée à une réflexion aboutie, elle peut déboucher, et c’est le cas pour ce Bebe Donkey, à des résultats enthousiasmants: par le son lui-même (telle la guitare et son résonateur ou la flûte sifflant tel un oiseau dans Girl from Philadelphia), par la variété des constructions et des scénarii envoûtants, optant tour à tour pour des séquences bruitistes, voire grinçantes et des pièces traversées par des nappes sonores plus uniformes, drones à base de guitare, sans tomber dans le répétitif stérile grâce à un renouvellement constant de l’alchimie entre les deux protagonistes.
— 2007 Revue & Corrigée (France): Bebe Donkey
The flute is one of the actors in From The Tale of Pigling Bland, a disc of radical improv which is an ensemble of four elements involved in some combinations ranging from duo to quartet, flute, sax-flute-cello-sax -piano.You should already know the four musketeers, plus there are Maryclare Brzytwa, Guazzaloca Nicola, Marraffa Edoardo and Francesco Guerri, names that are in themselves a guaranteed certificate. And, needless to say, From The Tale of Pigling Bland is a quite interesting disc. There seems little, since in one area, such as radical dell’impro played on traditional instruments, and in which much more has been said, it is extremely unlikely to be able to go beyond the boundaries of a lot interesting. Unique in, if they consider such, some concessions too virtuosity.
— 2010 Sands-zine (Italy): From the Tale of Pigling Bland
Descent into the uterus of female creativity, child birth’s appropriate to say. Two female protagonists of the avant-Italian, Patrizia Oliva and IOIOI and MaryClare of California, School Mills College. The matrix and industrial-electronic and psychedelic ritual contaminates for you, while the vocal approach moves between form-song experimental
electro-acoustic and contemporary music, metabolizing and also ethnic. Sensual magic, suffered and carnal behind all kinds of conception (7)
— 2009 Blow Up (Italy): Gravida
Maybe electrified female angst and all the beautiful things that spring from it floats youre kayak. Then Oakland local MaryClare Brzytwa (‘brist wahh’, Polish) will transport you to netherworlds containing dark and twisty dimensions using a looped flute and custom computer programs that turn her devices into automaton improvisers, with a twist.
— 2007 San Francisco Weekly: Live performance review
This is Montreal-based guitarist, Antoine Berthiaume’s third disc for the AM label and each one has been great and completely different. His first was a duos disc with Fred Frith and Derek Bailey, which showed him to be a strong improviser to match wits with two older and legendary figures and guitar icons. His next was a trio with Quentin SirJacq on piano and Norman Teale on electronics and again it showed another side of intense improv. For his third AM CD, he employed a jazz guitar trio, which showed how well Antoine could play modern jazz guitar. Bebe Donkey is once more, another departure, as it features a fine duo with MaryClare Brzytwa on flute and electronics. The title track begins with the samples of scratchy records and some eerie, floating drones. In a blindfold test, one would be hard-pressed to figure out who is playing which instrument as most of the sounds are electronic sounding, static-like and filled with glitches and other odd sound effects. There is a great attention to detail here which reminds me of discs on the Erstwhile label, quieter, electronic based improv carefully created. The twelve song titles really make up just a few sentences of text and I get the feeling that this duo is creating a series of short stories that unfold one section at a time, yet somehow feel linked by an underlying thread or subtext. A marvelous collection of sonic manipulations
— 2007 Downtown Music Gallery: Bebe Donkey
Meeting Derek Bailey in 2002 was a key experience for guitarist Antoine Berthiaume, but a semester at Mills College with Fred Frith and Joëlle Léandre shifted his perspective once again. In Oakland he met flautist and laptop electronic player MaryClare Brzywta, who seems to have metamorphosed out of a wormhole in Riot Grrrls in Wonderland. Born in 1981 in Youngstown, Ohio of very strict Polish Catholics, MC is razor sharp Queen of the B-Bands: in Bolivar Zoar with Ava Mendoza and Theresa Wong halfway between apes and angels, or as Mendoza would put it, between Bo Diddley and Hildegard von Bingen; as Byznich she sets up alone on stage as Mysti Marie Theater (?); and in Slow, Children she improvises Electronics with kotoist Kanoko Nishi and drummer Shayna Dunkelmann. From which it should be clear why Carla Kihlstedt has invited her to Music Unlimited 21 in Wels. Meanwhile the MySpace wormhole let me slide over to the Norman Conquest, a trio of NT with QS and AB (see Bad Alchemy 47). Rapidly shaken through the MySpace centrifuge, I finally end up landing on Bebe Donkey, named after the Donkey Punch Who is Really A Roller Derby Girl from Philadelphia. B and B here appear to be putting in their application for one of those acousmatic grants that you only get when you take noise seriously. Any suspicion of quirky pop, women power, or anti-Bush politics, ubiquitous in the Oakland scene, is here polished away by shimmering guitar drones or sound squirted out by a laptop as if splattering an abstract painting. Gnarled clicks, spotty interference, and peevish distorted waves swoosh by, once in a while with a breath of flute or a wheezy voice, until ‘Punch’, with elegiac delicacy and plucked guitar, looks us unexpectedly in the eye. And minutes later ‘She also’ provides the only grating and elegant moment with organ-like melodrama. As a finale ‘Alitron’ closes with an intoxicating homage to Derek Bailey.
— 2007 Bad Alchemy #55 (Germany): Bebe Donkey
Patrizia Oliva introduce la performance delle Gravida che vedrà Kanoko Nishi al koto, Mary Clare Brzytwa al flauto e Stefano Giust agli oggetti e alle percussioni; oltre a Ioioi (chitarra) e Patrizia Oliva medesima alle voci. È il flauto ad aprire le danze… mentre sotto sembra ci sia un fuoco in combustione (è Giust?), il fiato è come un treno lento in lontananza, una vaporiera. È un progetto fatto di distanze, viaggi e spostamenti questo qui. Percussioni e sfregamenti sotto un lento sibilo… corde e fiato parlano linguaggi lontani, primitivi… ma intanto qualcosa continua a macinare tappeti schizofrenici del tutto moderni. Queste due tendenze si scontrano palesemente, finché in mezzo non si erge la voce (anzi Le voci) a fare da paciere. Resta un ronzio di insetto dentro a un bicchiere di vetro, cresce, ricompare il fischio. Psichedelia leggera leggera, con le percussioni a mettere disordine. Mani che applaudono in mezzo a questa indefinitezza, respiri pesanti, è gioco di scontri… session che va su&giù. Perdo il segnale, voci sepolte da serie di suoni “inqualificabili”, quello caramelloso del flauto sembra stonare in tutto ciò, ma sono proprio i contrasti a fare vivere questa musica pentacefala. È colonna sonora per un balletto fatto a testa in giù (il segnale ora va e viene). La chitarra acustica (?) pizzica armonici mentre sotto continua a macinare il fuoco percussivo e a lamentarsi il koto… uno zoo sonoro vero e proprio; parte poi una specie di baccanale fatto di menadi danzanti, urla animalesche e battere di mani. Potrebbero ricordare la NoNeckBluesBand / Embryo o gli episodi più out di Ummagumma (figlioccio semi-ripudiato dagli stessi Floyd). Ancora più spontanee, se possibile; sì sono 3 minuti di rito bacchico e rumori lanciati verso la luna… si scarica però. Il flauto incalza stavolta e pare ridare corpo ad un ritmo condannato a morte, Patrizia lascia la voce ad attendere finché una sorta di rinascita non avviene… è un movimento che si avvita su sé stesso, si contorce, muore, rinasce… poi spunta un’altra voce da maestro orientale non proprio a posto (o semplicemente in pace col suo mondo), si eleva a mettere ordine tra i vari suoni di strumenti: ne esce fuori una specie di mantra-rap (giuro!) col koto, il flauto, la chitarra… tutti a ricamare la colonna sonora del balletto di prima. A testa in giù, ovviamente. Finisce con un applauso self made, proprio come una comunità che suona solo per sé stessa in un giorno di festa. Quindi, tra le frequenze della radio, si inserisce una musica “normale” (cover dei Talking Heads) che risulta quasi inascoltabile. Trenta minuti di altro. Grazie.
— 2009 LHOOQ’s blog: Gravida
Maryclare Brzytwa is a shaman, but I’m not sure if what she sees and passes on is something that will save, doom, or merely shake the listener. Actually, being shaken is rarely a mere event, and “Stairwells” is no comfortable way for armchair gloomies to get any morose fuel for their despair. The four tracks, or Steps, of the EP are harrowing and uncompromising. We don’t really know why she has taken us to a place of horror, but it is hard to stop listening, just in case there is solid ground. There is none. From the distorted flute instrumental “Step 1,” through the next two steps’ focus on Brzytwa’s chanting and howling interaction with that flute, to the twelve-minute or so “Step 4,” the closer that weaves together voice, industrial pulse (courtesy of guest Travis Johns) finally chaotic noise, the improvisations of “Stairwells” do not so much provide access to anything more than that dark, haunted room we never leave throughout. These are powerful steps to nowhere but deeper into a landscape that calls for catharsis. Obviously the signposts here are Diamanda Galas, Suicide and Carla Bozulich, but Maryclare Brzytwa carves her own niche in the experimental search for relief from suffering through pure sound. “Stairwells” is not an easy listen, but most good medicine goes down rough, and this is sonic purge if there ever was one.
— 2011 Foxy Digitalis: Stairwells
An album featuring an acoustic free improvisation session between three Italians (Guazzaloca on piano, Marraffa on sax, Guerri on cello) and MaryClare Brzytwa on flute and vocals. Ambient sound recording, no bells or whistles, for a captivating performance dominated by Brzytwa’s presence, especially her striking screams. Nice playing, nice intensity, music that is visceral despite its abstract gestures.
— 2010 François Couture: From the Tale of Pigling Bland
The technical data on the disc stresses that the recording was made within an afternoon, with a digital field recorder, and without the aid of any electronic device. Observation particularly appropriate because from the first notes of the soundscape. From The Tale of Pigling Bland seems populated by electronic unidentified objects, which roam undisturbed through the sound space. But they are nothing but vibrations from the strings of the cello case and of Francesco Guerri, nebulous escape from Edward Marraffa saxophones, cascades of crystal Guazzaloca erupted from the piano, impossible frequencies emitted by the vocal Maryclare Brzytwa. The landscape that is created is something surreal, indefinite, and sometimes disturbing, the musicians show great knowledge about the tools and ability to react / interact with the stimuli that produce sounds in real time. But, at the end of listening, one can not change the subject from a questionnaire vexata decisive. It makes sense to fix on a hard radical improvisational performance so tied to real-time, instant execution, visual appearance, bodily gestures of his characters and their interaction with the public? Question that is difficult to answer but there is no doubt that the music presented on disc by four musicians lose some of its explosive power and, perhaps, its very raisond’etre.
— 2010 All About Jazz: From the Tale of Pigling Bland
MaryClare Brzytwa est une flûtiste et chanteuse américaine établie à Bologne, une ville universitaire avec un fort contingent d’improvisateurs radicaux et avec qui très peu de villes européennes de taille équivalente peuvent rivaliser. Cette musicienne a invité pour cette rencontre enregistrée deux incontournables, le pianiste Nicola Guazzaloca et le saxophoniste ténor Edoardo Maraffa, ici aussi au sopranino, et l’excellent violoncelliste Francesco Guerri qu’on entend sur trois des 7 plages. Si ce n’est pas à proprement parler d’un chef-d’œuvre ou d’un « groupe », cette rencontre réunit le tandem Guazzaloca – Marraffa. Le jeu de flûte de Brzytwa, s’il est très compatible avec le pianiste, contraste trop par son esprit avec le style de Maraffa, un souffleur rare et véritablement original. Ses vocalises, par contre, exacerbent l’expressionnisme de ce dernier. Ces remarques mises à part, cet enregistrement est l’occasion de souligner le talent des protagonistes et de constater leur potentiel indéniable. Et aussi, bien sûr, de prendre un grand plaisir à l’écoute de moments superbes, fous, intimes, surprenants… et de toute leur intelligence musicale. Derek Bailey nous avait fourgué en son temps un paquet de Company en vinyle où s’amoncelaient des rencontres «voyons voir ce qui se passe, on va essayer quelque-chose». Ce qu’un Paul Lovens décrit comme une séance «ad-hoc». From the Tale of Pigling Bland est à cet égard une réussite que, personnellement, j’écoute avec autant d’attention que ces albums mythiques. Comme ces musiciens de grand talent n’ont pas une discographie encombrante, c’est vraiment une très bonne opportunité de tâter un autre univers que ceux que l’on connaît déjà et de goûter une excellent surprise. MaryClare est une flûtiste de haut niveau et son travail vocal a des potentialités évidentes. On lui souhaite de continuer à piocher dans cette direction, elle a tout à y gagner. MaryClare se transforme en harpie, en pleureuse déjantée, en bébé farceur ou en cochonnet facétieux (cfr dessin pochette). Trois plages ne suffisent pas pour pouvoir mettre le travail de Francesco Guerri en perspective, mais ce violoncelliste y est tout à fait à sa place. Nicolà est un pianiste superlatif que j’ajoute à ma liste des pianistes «jeunes talents trentenaires à suivre absolument» (avec Marjolaine Charbin et Philipp Zoubek) qui succèdent à la deuxième génération européenne des Veryan Weston, Sten Sandell, Sophie Agnel, Agusti Fernandez, Jacques Demierre, Christine Wodrazcka etc… Son trio avec Hannah Marshall et Gianni Mimmo est magnifique (même s’ils l’ont enregistré dans une église : the Shoreditch Concert, amirani records). Son acolyte, Edorado Marraffa, avant tout un sax ténor, est un soufflant qui prolonge avec bonheur la lignée des Brötzmann, Evan Parker, Wim Breuker, Rudiger Carl, Gustafsson et compagnie. Chacun d’eux ont joué durant leur heure de gloire un pianiste de référence. Respectivement, Van Hove, Schlippenbach, Leo Cuypers, Schweizer, Sten Sandell. Et Lol Coxhill avec Veryan Weston! Donc, vous avez tout à attendre de Guazzaloca et Maraffa. Un bon disque avec d’excellents moments.”
— 2010 Improjazz: From the Tale of Pigling Bland
“(…) In linea con il catalogo setolare è il secondo disco delle Gravida che vede il terzetto base addizionato dal setol-fact-totum Stefano Giust e dalla kotoista Kanoko Nishi. Un unico brano – o meglio un’unica lunga impro a base di flauto, chitarra acustica, koto, voci, piccole percussioni e oggettistica varia – registrato in diretta a Radio Kairos di Bologna, per una musica libera e liberata, alla maniera dei Red Crayola della ‘parabola’, ma con più logica e cognizione di causa. Musica per non musicisti suonata da musicisti. Ottima l’intesa e la compartecipazione dei cinque, per un suono percussivo e selvaggio, dai forti connotati sciamanici, che finisce per simboleggiare una specie di saga dionisiaca scomposta e sfrenata. Un rito pagano e psichedelico, ma di un onirismo molto fisico e poco spirituale, che lascia l’amaro in bocca per il (probabile) prematuro split di questo ensemble (MaryClare Brzytwa è rientrata negli Stati Uniti).” “(…) A fronte di qualche strumentale (take 6, For Karen e For Kerry) è soprattutto un disco di canzoni, e la musicista americana dimostra di sapere il fatto suo anche in questo terreno minato che, a quanto ne so, attraversa per la prima volta. Se pure riesce sempre a dare un’impronta personale, a spizzichi e bocconi vengono comunque fuori ascolti e influenze (magari acquisite attraverso terzi), come per esempio l’impro radicale (Grandiose e Whatever), il noise rock (Crackhead), il pop blasfemo di Kate Bush (Narcotic Superstar) e il folk sciamanico (Distracting). Ma è possibile immaginare anche strani connubi, come i Pink Floyd di alcuni quadretti acustici del dopo Barrett che sembrano supportati dagli Oval (Out Of Tune, Dictator e This Mourning Is Not A Beginning). La Brzytwa, che possiede una voce dalle discrete possibilità, dà soprattutto dimostrazione di essere una grande polistrumentista, anche se il suo strumento principe rimane quel flauto che contribuisce a riqualificare dalla decadenza successiva all’utilizzo in alcune delle peggiori pagine del progressive. Per dirla in una parola siamo di fronte a un autentico keijino.”
— 2010: Sands-zine (Italy): Byznich
“... From the Tale of Pigling Bland “is the title of the first albums that the quartet formed by Edoardo Marraffa, Guazzaloca Nicola Francesco Guerri and Maryclare Brzytwa recorded at the School of Popular Music Ivan Illich,where the singer and flautist U.S. has on several occasions made known its performance. Since 2008, Bologna became a stage that will lead to regularmeetings with different formations extended to other important representativesof the improvisational scene hinterland, as with the cellist Tristan Honsinger.Marraffa, and Guerri Guazzaloca long collaborated in teaching the SPM IvanIllich, improvisation and are members of an environment that naturallytranscends national boundaries. The quartet’s music is primarily improvised, full of narrative inventions and solutions unusual timbre, created without compromise. “
— 2010 Radio Città Fujico, Pierantonio Pezzinga, “Intersezioni”: From the Tale of Pigling Bland
(…) L’inceppamento siderurgico dell’iniziale Real Things To Talk About un tantino in inganno trae. Verrebbe voglia di gettarlo via questo cd, nel mucchio insieme a tanti altri. Poi, se la pazienza ti assiste, trascorsi pochi minuti (+ o – 3…) avrai una bella sorpresa. Farai conoscenza ufficiale con la signorina MaryClare Brzytwa. E l’universo noise, come unico punto di riferimento possibile, scompare rapidamente. Flauto, piano, elettronica e voce, un’opera di depistaggio continua che ti porta in luoghi incantevoli che, un minuto dopo, dispettosamente, si tramutano in calvario cubista. E l’arte impro praticata genera un territorio trasversale, dove è possibile reperire notevoli ben di Dio. Una sfilata sciancata di botti, strambamente imparentati sia con Xenaxis che con il noise più accartocciato. Ma forse, in realtà, queste sono soltanto desiderabili e scompigliate power ballads. Noise, accenni blues, frammenti intimi e dolenti, spoken word, un pianoforte pestato a sangue mentre la nave affonda, cabaret fumoso, la Diamanda e la Dagmar, un field recordings e poi via annegando in un passaggio compositivo di stampo contemporaneo. Just Be Alone, che potrebbe esser tanto Patty Waters quanto la nostra inimitabile Madame P (alla quale, personalmente ritengo non sia mai stata concessa la giusta attenzione…). Ma, MaryClare, a pensarci bene, avrai occasione di ammirarla prossimamente dal vivo proprio in compagnia di Madame P (il trio Gravida che include anche Ioioi). The Descent Of Alette (con Alice Notley), visione flautistica contemporanea, indecisa se tramutarsi in morso o drone avvolgente. Stupefacente, imperfetta, fra bellezze struggenti e mal di stomaco caspici. Splendidamente vitale e stimolante più di molti blasonati ometti/ovetti. E mi piacerebbe, nel futuro, immaginarla incrociar i propri strumenti, con l’altra streghetta a stelle e strisce Emily Hay. Il mastro setolare Giust è nuovamente da ringraziare. “Master Artist Rental Car” è un gran disco.
— 2009 Kathodik (Italy): Master Artist Rental Car
Lindstrøm hits the ground running, clipping a short phrase into an insistent riff, slowly adding layers both original and inherent to the mounting sonic stew until any number of unexpected melodies collide and divide. About halfway in, the song vamps out into a flamboyant retro-strut, and later – when Leone and Brzytwa’s vocals, flutes and trumpets enter for the climatic two minute send-off – the song completely lays itself open, sounding unlike anything to ever grace a Boredoms disc.
— 2009 In Review Online : Boredoms, Super Roots 10
Another CD in the series ‘the many sides of Antoine Berthiaume’. In 2003 Berthiaume debuted with ‘Soshin’ a cd of duets with Fred Frith and – just on time – with Derek Bailey. Followed by ‘Leaves and Snows’, a trio with Quentin SirJacq on piano and Norman Teale on electronics, showing again improvisation from another angle. With Michel Donato and Pierre Tanguay, Berthiaume released a jazz album: ‘Ellen’s Bar’. For his newest collaboration Bertiaume takes again another route, combining improvisation with soundscaping. He is joined now by MaryClare Brzytwa on flute and electronics, making use of electronic and sampled sounds. She is a new name for me. Brzytwa studied improvisation with Joelle Leandre, composition with Fred Frith, etc. She is member of the all female free improvisation outfit Slow Children. Berthiaume plays guitar and effects, in a way that is often difficult to trace the guitar in the soundscapes they paint. Together they produce an album of quiet electronic based improvisations. At times even very ambient, like in the track ‘Punch’. In a track like ‘By the Name’ they came close to the songformat. In the last track ‘Alltron’ Berthiaume plays in Bailey-like way, accompanied by environmental sounds coming from Brzytwa. In all the pieces the input of both is blended carefully and successfully into one whole of organic soundmanipulations. I would say this is a very interesting and engaging work that should interest those who are into crossovers between improvisation and sound manipulation.
— 2007 Vital Weekly (The Netherlands): Bebe Donkey