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T / Sextet / Bien Sur / S

by Ian Mann

November 13, 2011

/ EP

There is plenty of light and shade in music that combines the beautiful and the brutal.


“T/Sextet/Bien Sur/T”

IReNE is a young quartet of French musicians consisting of Yoann Durant and Clement Edouard on saxophones, with the latter also contributing a substantial degree of electronic manipulation to the group sound, plus Julien Desprez on guitar and Sebastien Brun at the drums. The group are members of the Coax Collectif, an aggregation of young French musicians with similarities to and links with the British Loop and F-ire Collectives.

This four track EP is a taster for the band’s début album which is set to be recorded in January 2012 with a view to a late spring release. Currently on tour in Europe the group are due to appear at The Vortex on November 19th as part of a Coax Collectif showcase alongside the groups Metal-O-Phone and Pipeline. This event forms part of the 2011 London Jazz Festival. 

IReNE won the awards for both best group and best composition at the 2010 La Defense National Jazz Festival and this EP is represents a handy snapshot of their talents. Superficially the sax/guitar/drums line up bears a resemblance to the UK’s own trioVD but IReNe’s overall approach is less intense with a greater emphasis on nuance and texture.

Opener “T” combines long, baleful sax lines with a rock influenced guitar backdrop and sturdy drumming. It’s approximately in the same sonic area as Led Bib and Acoustic Ladyland.

The second piece, “Sextet” is more impressionistic with Edouard’s electronics providing a swirling backdrop to the counterpoint of saxophone and pointillistic guitar. The drums sound programmed and glitchy but a relatively straightahead saxophone solo eventually emerges. There are some highly interesting juxtapositions here and the piece acquires a kind of anthemic beauty as it gradually gathers intensity. Impressive.

“Bien Sur” is a foray into trioVd / Led Bib style skronk with bellicose saxes, thrashy guitar and pummelling drums. The piece combines rock riffage with a freer second section in which the group push their instruments to the edge.

The intensity of “Bien Sur” is a total contrast to the chilled out trip hop vibe of the closing “S”. Shimmering,drifting and ethereal this reveals the group at their most lyrical but there’s a brooding quality about the fragile beauty on display here.

This brief snapshot of IReNE’s music suggests that they are a very interesting band with a lot of good ideas and with considerable potential. There is plenty of light and shade in music that combines the beautiful and the brutal. The impending full length album should be well worth waiting for. In the meantime the group’s London Jazz Festival appearance promises to be an exciting and intriguing event. The Vortex should prove to be the ideal venue for IReNE and their Coax Collectif colleagues.

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