Recorded 19 to 22 April 2006 at Studio Gil Evans, Amiens.
Mixed 13 to 16 June 2006 at Studio Boxson.
Mastered at Dyam Music (Paris).
As if to prove that the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree, Henri Texier's Strada Sextet consists of bassist / leader / father Henri and his son Sebastien on clarinet and alto saxophone. Together with baritone saxophonist Francois Corneloup, trombonist Gueorgui Kornazov, guitarist Manu Codjia and percussionist Christophe Marguet, Texier's band plays audacious music, full of vigour and passion. The fact that delights me most about "Alerte a L'eau" [Water Alert] is not so much its social message [that humankind is screwed unless we preserve our most precious resource, water] but the subtlety of its delivery. Very few passages of outright anger are heard. Rather, the band chooses to deliver its message through restrained tones, such as Kornazov's carefully measured, quiet trombone blasts, or Codjia's light but twangy guitar phrases. Bassist's finger-picking is of rather understated quantity, which serves the core of the music perfectly. Wonderful record, full of nuances and hints of greater things to come in years ahead. For its first release in three years, Seattle-based Sol Disk imprint has issued a split album. The common denominator is guitarist/composer Chris Pugh, who appears on two tracks with percussionist Jack Gold as Penumbra. The last track was composed by Pugh and features Trio Recherche. Penumbra's music is angry - full of intense turns and scraping conflict. Best parts are the controlled feedback altercations that Pugh sets up, to which Gold responds with a fury of abandoned percussive rolls. It's not until "Talus" that we get a glimpse of the duo's less frantic side, as Pugh revels in edge-wise slides across the strings, while Gold responds with gentile tinkling on the cymbals. "Heqat" is an all-string piece which dates back to 1994. Performed by Trio Recherche - violinist Melise Mellinger, Barbara Maurer on viola and cellist Lucas Fels - the music is more jagged, more demanding than Pugh's work with Gold. Through its ups and downs, the trio of musicians takes on a lot of clashing passages, where conflict is born out of sheer necessity. Bearing witness to this musical clash first-hand is worth the price of admission alone.