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cyber@musique by Herve Provini

Herve Provini is a Swiss drummer-percussionist who grew up listening to progressive rock and jazz and started to play the drums as a teenager. He learned about computer programming while initially studying engineering and architecture before studying music at the Geneva Conservatoire Populaire de Musique. Known now for his work in both jazz, as a drummer who has played with Elliott Sharp - among others, and electric music composition. On this CD he combines those two loves.

While Provini’s first three recordings (Biological And Chaotic Music, Nuclear Music and Music In Love), all on the Unit label, dealt with playing against and with a computer program set up to provide, in real time, unexpected musical challenges, this recording is a little different.. In the liner notes Provini describes this new DVD recording in the following manner, "This new project is a hybrid which combines improvisation (performed by a musician), composing (real time partitions of the software) and live electronics (the processing by the computer of the musician’s sound in real time)."

The product of such a concept can best be described as a marriage between straight electronic music, which was a huge movement within the classical composer circles of the 1960s and 70s, and improvisational jazz drumming.

Fair warning, you must have big ears to listen to this music. If you are not familiar with the history of electronic music the sounds captured on this disc can be as upsetting as approaching Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew without understanding Miles’ historical progression and the influences he was working on melding at the time.

Each track on cyber@musique is a collection of live-time created computer electronic sounds, with all the bells and whistles and diode inspired sounds this music entails, augmented by Provini’s trap set work. It is interesting how he sets up grooves and incorporates time signatures into the sounds being shot at him by the software. Giving the aleatoric sounds a context relevant to common time concepts is unique and a new manner within which to explore the concept of sound versus noise. That being said, Provini works to instill in each track a different rhythmic bed and timbral construct from his drums so as to negate complacency and the tediousness which is many times associated with electronic music composition.

Judging whether it succeeds is another matter. It’s impossible to deny that Provini has chops. He is skilled and competent and absolutely searching, for this he must be applauded. The free form supplied to him by the computer, and to which he makes many free form responses, does, however, wear thin after a while to this reviewer’s ears. A whole disc of this is perhaps too much - 10 to 15 minutes, within a grander and more varied construct, however, would have been, to this reviewer’s ears, more palatable.

In the end kudos must be given for Provini’s search of new musical vistas. For this he is to be applauded most heartily. If you are an explorer who looks to find Third-Stream consciousness within electronic and cyber manipulations, then this disc is for you.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Herve Provini
  • CD Title: cyber@musique
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Provinescu Production
  • Rating: Two Stars
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