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Anatomy of Etienne Jaumet

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To celebrate his solo album “La Visite” on our favorite label Versatile, we’ve had our friend Etienne Jaumet in our studio for a music selection from his rare vinyls collection – he’s not afraid to share the identity -, closely linked to his own multi instrumentalist universe. Bad word that “universe” expression, but since Etienne invites us to penetrate his body and soul in his new LP, as in eponymous track 2, it’s quite appropriate to use it this time. Here are a few answers to intimate and, well, psychoanalytic questions asked to him in order to try to know more about his inspiration and secret intentions.

We follow you since your last solo work, and you haven’t stopped collaborations. Has the desire of a new album arised from focusing on your own music?
– It has arised from desire to compose alone without hindrance. An experience about me. To see if I was able to achieve an LP starting from no composition ideas but only a desire of design.
Did you want some kind of musical introspection, as indicates the “La Visite” track?
– I consider my approach as more extra-corporal. I’ve standed as simple spectator of my actions.
Was it a way to show how your music had been influenced by your several collaborations?
– I don’t care about knowing if my music sounds like another one.
“La Visite” and “Anatomy of a Synthesizer” bring me the effect of antinomic tracks, as if one evokes the organic, and the other one, the synthetic. I suppose you don’t make any differences between your body and how a machine can be living, but do you see yourself as a man-machine, as Kraftwerk’s men, or don’t you take part of this idea; rightly through this album and the saxophone, untreated voice, which are not systematically mixed up with synthetic sounds?
– I’ve always thought it’s strange to consider electronic instruments as machines. Aren’t piano, guitar, saxophone, machines as well ? Man is also a machine, in a certain way. What interests me is to see the soul of a musician expressing itself through these instruments. No matter which one this musician uses.
There is something like a game played along the album between the saxophone, the electronic instruments, and you, which place do you think you take?
– Behind all this, in a player position!
I know you as someone very joyful and who has a lot of humour… Why these dark atmospheres when you compose?
– If I do mainly compose in “minor mode”, it’s because I find it expresses something calling for reflection… I don’t see necessarily something dark in it.
Only “Anatomy of a Synthesizer” is in major mode, all the rest of the album is in minor : do you think it’s unconsciously symbolic, as a slip ? Don’t you secretly give a fun quality to synthesizer, whereas you and your saxophone, keep staying in the obscurity?
– A slip? Yes, perhaps… I hadn’t thought about it in any case, and your interpretation amuses me a lot, I must confess !
How do you compose, since this album has been recorded during a short time, in a live spirit in Versatile’s studio? It’s a different kind of work as with Zombie Zombie, but how? Firstly considering the fact that you’re alone?
– Rapidity of composition is quite the same as with Zombie Zombie, but, when you are a duo, there is of course a lot of ideas and proposals. Then, even if I compose melodies, Neman’s influence for drums inspires me very much.
The alchemy between saxo sound and synthetic sounds as based on grains, shared textures, as if electro sounds where also wind sounds and vice-versa : how do you work on that? Do ones come before others, or something else?
– I don’t have any conscience of that. I only try to produce sounds which seem pretty to me (acoustic sounds can be very ugly sometimes).
So if there is a visit to make, how have you organized it ? How do you arrange tracks you have at your disposal? My feeling for instance, is that we have a very strong introduction, then something as a dilution, not less strong, but with a more diffuse emotional load… Would you agree with me, or was your intention completely different?
– I don’t have a conceptual vision of albums I compose on the moment. I only have instrumental desires and designs. Once the tracks are mixed, I do analyze the energy and ideas freeing from it. Then come titles… Well, the visit has organized itself in spite of myself (perhaps because “I have arrived late”).

Max Fraisier-Roux

Ice FM with Etienne Jaumet, November 13, 2014, 10.30PM. On Ice FM / Paris Campus Radio.

  1. Alain Kremski – Musique rituelle pour cloches et gong
  2. Mica Levy – Lonely Void
  3. This Heat – Twillight Furniture
  4. Aquaserge – Visions
  5. Métamorphoses – Puits sans fin
  6. Stéphane Laporte – Manufacture
  7. Craig Leon – She wears an hemispherical skull Cap
  8. Art Zoid – Rêve artificiel
  9. Charles Cohen – Shopping Cart Lady
  10. Piotr Kurek – Godess Eye
  11. Cachette à Branlette – Miroir
  12. Laaraji – Essence

Listen to the long version of the show with the interview (in French) here.