Baroque Tardif: Soli
Largely working alone, French composer Florent Ghys packs a wealth of musical sounds and inspired ideas into the twenty-four minutes of Baroque Tardif: Soli, the first in a series of EPs scheduled to be followed in 2010 by Baroque Tardif: Rococo and Baroque Tardif: 21. After earning traditional French diplomas in music, Ghys spent the summer of 2007 at Bang on a Can's Summer Festival after which, upon returning home to Bordeaux, he asked himself how, as a single player, he might create music for an ensemble. Not wishing to record solo upright bass material, he decided on multi-track recording so that he could supplement his bass playing with guitars (acoustic and electric), home-made percussion, and voice (the sound palette expands when he uses his upright bass's upper register to simulate a bowed violin).
At certain moments, aspects of his music—melodic patterns and pulsating rhythms that interweave and overlap intricately, to be precise—suggest ties to compositional strategies used by American composers Philip Glass and Steve Reich. In the kind of experiment one could picture Reich tackling, “Simplement” finds Ghys using electric guitars, bass, and percussion to cleverly mirror French conversations between him and Aline Brunet. Using a pianino (a small six-octave piano), he generates sparkling raindrop-like clusters in “Coma Carus” and in “Clignotants” augments vocal material drawn from solfège syllables (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti) with strings, guitars, and bass. Each piece is arresting in its own unique way, and other composers certainly could take inspiration from Ghys in the fecund imagination he brings to the EP's five settings.