Mixed live session between Vanessa Wagner and Labelle

Vanessa Wagner presents the album Study Of The Invisible (InFined).

If there is a constant in Vanessa Wagner, it is its versatility, in the sense understood by the Anglo-Saxons. Alongside her career as a musician performing the great soloist, chamber musician and concert repertoire on stages around the world (and recording it for the La Dolce Volta label), the one whom Le Monde describes as “the most deliciously singular pianist of her generation”. and whom Liberation describes as “one of the most curious and captivating pianists in France – surveys, with the complicity of the InFiné label, paths that are just as personal, but perhaps more intimate”.

After Statea in 2016, in duet with the electronic musician Murcofshe comes today to continue with Study Of The Invisible the journey started on his solo album Inland (2019). A journey that sees her clearing this repertoire that she is in France, even in Europe, practically the only “classical” pianist to approach. A contemporary and timeless repertoire that we will qualify, to go quickly, as “minimalist”, but which actually covers a multitude of singular universes and often extraordinary musical personalities, all generations combined.

To compose this program, Vanessa Wagner dug into her exciting discovery work started with Inland, assembling rare pieces that weave together a mysterious story. Among the 15 resorts that make up this thrilling journey, the United States takes the lion’s share.

Under the sponsorship of Moondog, the blind and visionary Viking, including the very “bachian”. Prelude in A major from 1961 is the oldest piece on the disc, the icons of minimalism rub shoulders – the essential Philip Glass, the unclassifiable Harold Budd, pope of ambient music -, the representatives of the first generation of “postminimalists ” –Peter Garland, David Lang or Julia Wolfe, born in the 1950s – and the young guard: Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, Timo Andres, born between 1976 and 1985. But also a few choice outsiders: Suzanne Cianibest known (everything is relative) as a pioneer of electronic music or the amazing Caroline Shaw, who was in 2013, at 31, the youngest winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and whose universe comes and goes freely between “learned” and “popular” music. Just as unclassifiable, also appear the works and careers of the Italian Ezio BossoFrench Melaine Dalibert or, of course, brothers Brian and Roger Enoother musicians from between the worlds.

© Caroline Doutre

Vanessa Wagner.

These scores, which at first glance may seem technically simple – although the Etudes of Philip Glass or Nico Muhly require extravagant velocity – in reality demand much more from the performer than simple virtuosity: an interiority, an authentic disposition of the soul. Like the music of Erik Satie, it is music that everyone should inhabit, taking care not to distort it. Thus the exploration in which Vanessa Wagner engages is also a quest: “Searching for one’s interiority: this is what I like more and more in music.”

after playing Scriabin, Rachmaninoff Where Ravel, exploring the intensity without deluge of notes, stripping as a mode of expression fascinates me. It is for the interpreter to bring out a real atmosphere, a breath of the tempo, a sensuality of the sound, to put an intensity in each intention, and to make the spaces live and vibrate between each note. “It’s not light music, it’s emotionally intense music, which goes deep, in which you put a part of your story…” Marrying this degree of intensity with control – that of touch, of sound – and abandonment is not within the reach of all instrumentalists.

This is the meaning of Study Of The Invisible : seek out this mysterious world that lives behind the score, the imperceptible links that unite these silences and these harmonies, but also these inner resources that this music is capable of bringing to light. With this record and this trip, Vanessa Wagner, whose apparent melancholy turns out to be powerfully comforting in the end, continues to give her letters of nobility to a music which, better than brilliant, reveals itself above all to be radiant and luminous.

1654515730 399 Mixed live session between Vanessa Wagner and Labelle

© Soti / Kid Kreol Boogz

And The beautiful present Glow (InFiné/ Eumolpe), his new album for string quartet and electro-maloya with the participation of Metaverse quartet.

With Glow – unique moment of spark of creation – Labelle continues his exploration of the infinite possibility of composition started in 2019 with Universe Orchestra. His fourth studio album, centered around a string quartet, was born during a rehearsal attended by Labelle: seated next to the strings, he watches them communicate with each other in a wordless, almost telepathic language, made of contacts visuals, nods and bows.

Since his beginnings, the composer likes to free himself from traditional orchestral rules to experiment, innovate and “creolize” his art. “I wrote for them as if I were writing for a rock band”. Jeremy clarifies: “you have your rhythm section, your two lead guitars and only one musician plays bass”.

In classical music, the language between musicians is key – the conversation between lines and musicians creates something organic and alive. Thus, Labelle also writes the electronic parts so that they have a double function: musical element on the one hand, key to understanding the work on the other, thus becoming part of the language between the musicians.

Together they explore a unique sound where classical orchestration meets Maloya, modern electronics meets organic instruments, Africa meets Europe, earth meets space. Labelle seeks inspiration everywhere: ‘Mes Mondes’ has been raised by a quarter tone to match the range of Gnaoua music from Morocco, a very rhythmic and hypnotic piece closely linked to the Maloya of Reunion, country of origin of the artist. The next track, ‘Dann Ron Maloya’, is a build up to ‘RON’, the only time on the record where all four musicians play the same line, a musical account of the trance state that music and dance Maloya can achieve. They rise and rise until they’re drowned out in distortion, sounding more like a rock guitar solo than a string quartet.

The eponymous title Glow is perhaps the one that is most directly in line with the artist’s previous album, Universe Orchestra, evoking a cosmic sound, like an orchestra suspended in weightlessness. Many songs were first recorded during a series of concerts, before the pandemic hit in 2020, then re-recorded, edited and layered over a year of lockdown. On the finished disc, thanks to exceptional mixing and production, it is impossible to distinguish what was recorded live from what was recorded in the studio: a testament to the astonishing level of detail brought to this album.

To immortalize and add the final touch to this experiment, the disc was sent to Hector Plimmer for additional mixing. The jazz and experimental touch of the English producer deconstructs the string quartet even more, bringing it to an even more beautiful and singular result.

Labelle has created a record capable of uniting elements of rock, jazz, electronics and classical music without ever losing the listener, it attracts them by slowly introducing them to a world where music frees itself from all its barriers. It is definitely no longer classical music that he composes.

1654515730 399 Mixed live session between Vanessa Wagner and Labelle

© Eric Lafargue

The beautiful.

About Label:

Jeremy Labelle is at the forefront of a young generation of Reunionese musicians representing and developing the Maloya sound around the world. After recording his first orchestral work Universe Orchestra during four sold-out concerts in Reunion, Glow continues this series of research around classical composition and traditional sounds of his island.

Titles performed at the Grand studio at RFI

– Study n°16 [Philip Glass] Live RFI Vanessa Wagner see the clip

– Study Live RFI Labelle

– Prelude No. 1 In A Minor [Moondog] Live RFI Vanessa Wagner

– My Worlds chained with Dann Ron Maloya Live RFI Labelle (4’15” in total)

– Explore! Live joint RFI Vanessa Wagner and Labelle (Ennéade).

His : Benoît Letirant, Fabien Mugneret, Mathias Taylor.

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Mixed live session between Vanessa Wagner and Labelle