A FRENCH cellist who sees no genre boundary, having worked with artists as fine and disparate as Sufjan Stevens, The National, Jim O’Rourke, Third Eye Foundation, Efterklang, Pedro Soler (his father), Electronic, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Keiji Haino and Barbara Carlotti – and that’s just a thumbnail summary – Gaspar Claus is finally stepping out under his own banner with a debut album of experimental cello works for the excellent InFiné label in early autumn, entitled Tancade.
Gaspar has been working in and around the InFiné family for quite a while, having first performed with his father, Pedro Soler, at InFiné workshops in Poitiers in 2008. The label has released a brace of albums by the father and son duo: 2011’s Barlande and Al Viento in 2016. He’s also very much part of the creative force on Arandel’s forthcoming categorisation-defying reinterpretations, InBach vol.2.
Tancade, we’re promised, evokes “chamber music suspended in the fourth dimension or the folk music of an undiscovered tribe”. He’s dropped a first single this morning to accompany the announcement, “Une Foule”; we’ve got that embedded for you.
Chamber music spinning in a fourth dimension sounds accurate, as the tune comes in on a chuntering bass rhythm that’s part Mingus, part Steve Hanley – a growling motorik undertow. It then flowers with a misty tonal serenade, bowed, plucked, eventually flies free with grace, mutes, gains new energy and rhythmic strength with a high, singing tone – Gaspar says it’s an evocation of the beach at the hidden cove of Tancade, with the daytime crowds moving through dusk into the revelry of evening.
The album is premised on this concept: an imaginary journey to a remote beach where a group of like-minded individuals retreat to find themselves.
It results from a creative process that began in 2017, when Gaspar spent a few days in the Luberon massif in central Provence. He warded off his fear of emptiness and solitude by making musical flesh of memories; a dozen pieces resulted in sketch form.
Tancade is an 11-track journey that’s (almost) entirely instrumental; from the offshore opener “Une île”, Tancade is our tour guide across the shores of “Un Rivage”, through a day into night (“2359”) ending with “Mer des Mystères Amoureux”, which features a soft female voice – the only human voice on the album – reciting a poem in Arabic.
Gaspar Claus’s Tancade will be released by InFiné digitally, on CD and on vinyl on September 10th; you can order your copy now, here.