September in Tomelilla

Sound artist and field recording specialist Éric La Casa has spent a lifetime exploring the relationship between sound and physical space. He’s taken his specialized equipment just about everywhere in this pursuit: the ocean, elevators, the homes of regular people, even going so far as to stick microphones into ventilation systems and beehives. By getting up close to the small, passing noises of everyday life that often go ignored, La Casa hopes to show that there’s exciting sound to be heard anywhere if you’ll just listen.
For Dancing in Tomelilla, La Casa finds himself at the Stora Hotellet in Sweden—a small but cozy hotel with a lounge and a bar—on a night when Nina Lyberg performs a run of jazz standards. She’s backed by Cool Quartet, a cool jazz ensemble made up of musicians that primarily play free improvisation and experimental music (Axel Dörner, Sven-Åke Johansson, Zoran Terzic, and Jan Roder). Right from the opening track, it’s clear we’re not in for a normal record of relaxing lounge jazz. The album begins with the band checking their sound; Dörner practices scales on his trumpet while La Casa ambles around, the wooden floor loudly creaking under his feet. The band starts to play on the second track, but you’re also hearing sounds that seem to be coming from outside the venue—wheels on pavement and car horns blaring. The mission of the album becomes clear: La Casa is there to explore the sonics of a place where a performance is happening, not to record a performance.
As La Casa slinks around the venue, the band comes in and out of focus in various ways. At times they sound muffled as he pokes around in the adjacent room or downstairs, the sound of heavy doors squeaking open and slamming shut taking the foreground; sometimes they’re at full blast as he gets up close, weaving around patrons and picking up snippets of Swedish chatter. The final five tracks do feature straight-ahead recordings of Cool Quartet and Nyberg with no tricks, and they are pleasant—but they’re ostensibly bonus scenes, peeling back the curtain as the reward for sticking with La Casa until the end of his half-hour journey. The music becomes incidental, being treated as found sound rather than what you’re intended to listen for. Cool Quartet might have top billing, but on Dancing in Tomelilla, Éric La Casa hands the mic over to the Stora Hotellet. "HIDDEN GEMS" - Live Jazz is Found Sound on “Dancing In Tomelilla” By Shy Thompson, BANDCAMP

On pourra voir dans ces chaises, tabourets, sofa et fauteuil vides de couverture, les meubles reprisés installés dans une salle de danse peu ordinaire : le groupe qu’on y attend a pour nom Cool Quartet (ses musiciens ceux d’Axel DörnerZoran Terzic, Jan Roderet Sven-Åke Johansson), qui accompagnera la chanteuse Lina Nyberg
Malgré les qualités des musiciens du quartette en question, le concert – que le disque retient sur ses quatre dernières plages – ne donne pas grand-chose : pire, déçoit beaucoup. Un lot de standards soumis aux chiches voire racoleuses vocalises de Nyberg – sirop de jazz pour tout souteneur. Si le swing vacille bien un peu sur un solo de Dörner ou une excentricité soudaine de la section rythmique, ce qui fait le sel de l’enregistrement est une présence qui rode : c’est qu’Eric La Casa promène là son micro : et les choses bougent enfin. 
Ainsi sur My Old Flame décide-t-il de jouer de la distance qui le sépare des musiciens, finit par leur échapper pour rejoindre le public, s’intéresser à ses conversations, mettre ses rires en boîte... La musique n’est plus qu’un élément de l’endroit dont La Casa enregistre la rumeur, et même l’existence. Pour remettre la chose (ou le concert) dans son contexte, il s’empare des trois premières pistes du disque et raconte ou réinvente une vie de coulisse (échauffement, frigo qui bourdonne, vieux disques de jazz qui tournent au loin…) et une vie de club (bruits de la rue à qui on ouvre la porte, craquements du plancher, premiers applaudissements…). 
Un concert en particulier, certes, mais plus encore toutes les choses qui tournent autour d’un concert comme un autre : voilà ce qu’a enregistré La Casa le 6 septembre 2008. Voilà la vérité qu’il révèle aujourd’hui sur référence Hibari. Guillaume Belhomme © Le son du grisli

The excellent new relese from Hibari features an atmospheric innovative recording style capturing the sounds of a lovely vocal jazz concert in Sweden towards the end of the last decade. The result is a very cinematic take on the jazz genre and a very interesting way of emphasizing the atmosphere around a piece that is so critical to the live music experience. T michael,

There are odd recordings, then there are odd recordings. This is one of the latter. So you have the "Cool Quartet" (sitting here, I'm unsure how tongue in cheek the music is but assume that at least the name is a joke; I hope so) which seems to have been in existence for at least seven years, with Axel Dorner, Zoran Terzic (piano), Jan Roder (bass) and Sven-Ake Johansson, augmented by singer Lina Nyberg, They apparently concentrate on jazz standards, how straightforwardly I'm not sure but perhaps we can analogize to Otomo's ONJQ. For this disc, however, the five musicians are simply a sound source, the major one to be sure, for Eric La Casa's manipulations. These appear to include both the initial recordings (done in Sweden in 2008) which I get the sense were done like many ambient field recordings, that is to say, with the mic in motion and, here, not always so close to the music, as well as subsequent and substantial editing and recomposition a couple years later.
Given the principal source, to my ears a rather desultory and not terribly interesting jazz band, it's hard not to get the sense that the whole project was done with something of a sneer on La Casa's face. Something on the order of, "Let's deconstruct this archaic, schmaltzy music, slice and dice it into something new." Well, that's one problem. Specifics aside, it's not so new. And then the question, "Why bother?" Had the music really been considered as one element out of many, who knows? But it's thrust up front, shards from different performances glued together, intruded upon by other sounds, presumably transfigured ones from the environment. So, in the first three tracks, you have "Tea for Two" abutting with warming-up music, patter, billowy sounds, "I only Have Eyes for You", Dorner's trumpet going a bit outside, the mic sometimes right with the group, sometimes a couple of rooms away, etc. Listened to purely sonically, there's an amount of cohesion but it's hard for this listener to abstract himself so much--the music just stands out and it's not great music. Sometimes I think there's a double layer of archness: one on the group level, one on La Casa's, as well as a feeling of one-trick-pony-ness. 
The last final tracks are straight ahead standards only tinted by club audience ambiance, chatter and applause. Were I in the audience, I might have been chattering as well. The difference between the group and a hotel lobby ensemble isn't all that great. Ah, I'm being unnecessarily mean, perhaps; the band is competent, just bland. My mom would like them. This set of songs sits in clear opposition to the first suite. It's almost as though La Casa presented a largely post-production-enhanced field recording then included several tracks to illustrate the source in its natural habitat. All well and good, though it's tough to suppress one's knowledge about discussions on the viability of jazz or lack thereof that we've all engaged in over the past couple of decades (at least), hence the tint of winking knowingness that gnaws at me. 

--------------Why are you reviewing conceptual music from a literal standpoint? This whole review emanates of misunderstanding of theoretical practice.. "Winking knowingness?" More-so indubitable innocuousness