Of all the projects I have been part of The definitions has been from the start the most problematic for me. It has obliged me to profoundly revise my artistic conceptions. We are gathering in October 2004 in Eguzon with the project to improvise, supported by the enthusiasm we already share among the Hiddentracks grouped around Angil and where I distill larsens of free electrons. Mickael and I are coming back from a concert in Nantes and we are about to record a tittle (?) of Teaser for matter’s side B: My time waiting. This session will be the occasion of much red wine drinking and of enjoying the house’s isolation from neighbors. From the start, Francis feels free to flood the living room with a strident and wild logorrhea, which will give this prolific weekend’s tone. If I was evoking earlier my circumspection, that’s because we could feel the artistic growth characteristic of these moments was escaping us: Flavien Girard allows himself more and more things and that moment will see him go beyond his simple use of bands in the Hiddentracks. Mickael seeks to set rules as Brian Eno sometimes does in his producer’s role, but we use them to better bypass them. Francis will not recognize, in the choice of bands I made the following Christmas, the atmosphere he remembered. As for me, it is the use of those improvisations that leaves me more than dubious.
When, a few months later, Flavien plays the beatbox on top of the mix I sent and Mickael newly practices hip hop besides what he already does on Matter, I am dismayed. This approach is meaningless to me. What I was omitting then was that this project does not follow the same direction my solo projects with Thomas Boudineau or J. L. Prades do. Rather, it’s a base for something else. But what?
The definitions is the name Mickael rapidly attributes to our formation. Years latter, I find it utterly pertinent. Back then, it was a snook-cocking to the overabundant use of the article THE in rock groups’ names as if this nominalization added quality. But if definition there is, it develops itself mostly through its protean and paradoxical character. It is also the result of our individualities’ convergence to start afresh and create our own cultural territory so as to make our own samples. I would not say it is a post-modern creation, but rather a pre-modern or pre-contemporary elaboration, a kind of reversal of the musical path we had been traveling those years. For all that, Tell me how it begins is not an a-cultural sound construction, but rather a confluence of jazz with a kind of free-rock in a musical language I believe is our own. Thus playing on this nostalgia of the future, the sleeve shows a record player about to play a vinyl. The tape recorder registers all the informations essential to identify the record.
The orientation these original bands were to be given has been much discussed, but it is high time we admitted that this oeuvre never belonged to us. Much in the same way, I have tried here to write an a posteriori description of my appraisal of the project, but even so, I can’t explain what happened at that time, a kind of “dream narrative” in reference to the dynamic of these improvisations.
Tell me how it begins originates as a real archive, turbulent and vivid, the first chapter of a volume yet to be “written”.
released January 10, 2011