Jose Luis Redondo: La Reponse Est Aux Pieds

Jose Luis Redondo sounds hell-bent on coaxing every imaginable sound from his string arsenal (dobro, a.c baritone guitar, bizarre piccolo bass, electric guitar and banjo) on La reponse est aux pieds, an often amazing fifty-five minute live set (no overdubs). Here's that rare case where a video presentation actually would prove illuminating in revealing the techniques the Barcelona musician's using to generate his instruments' sounds. Redondo is a fearless experimentalist who's less interested in lyricism than exploration, the kind of player who approaches his instrument from every possible angle except the conventional one. When not generating glissandi effects in “282,” he's seemingly caught up in both a wrestling and sawing match, while “Earth Brain” pushes the mutilation theme to the extreme. By contrast, “Crazy Stamp” parades a hyper-rapid banjo attack, and “Ending” simmers with ear-aching feedback fire. Breaking up the flow, short tracks—one just eighteen seconds long—alternate with fully-developed ones on this slightly over-long set. “The Airport” offers some welcome moments of pensive restraint as Redondo's rising and falling tones suggests a plane's movements over open spaces. The bluesy closer “Devine a qui je pense?” offers a refreshingly straightforward account of Redondo's virtuosic ability. La reponse est aux pieds may be hardly musical in the normal sense of the word but it certainly is audacious.

March 2008