Founded in 2017, Chaoctet is a variable ensemble led by Yves Marcotte, that strives to bridge the most adventurous jazz and contemporary music of the XXth century, while exploring the possibilities of microtonality. It first came to existence as a sextet consisting of a double rhythm section. Its second version adds to the rhythm section a horn section that opens up the group’s expressive range.
Thought as a continuation as well as a shift in the project’s first definition, this second version of the polymorphous Chaoctet questions its own premises.
Chaoctet II refers as much to this ensemble’s position in the multiple occurrences of the group, as to the number of musicians involved (11) and the number of compositions that constitute its repertoire (2). These compositions are in fact two suites entitled Bells and Spasms, for which the movements’ titles directly derive from graffitis that could be seen in Paris around May 68.
This affinity with May 68’s protests in France is born from an artistic approach willing to let loose of a certain approach of music writing, and a strong feeling of a connexion existing between creation and resistance (Deleuze put it simply : « Créer c’est resister »/« Creating is resisting »). This connexion was reinforced by the movements emerging in France in spring 2018. But the most important influence of the 68’s protests on this work is the poetic content of its slogans : sometimes direct, raw, harsh, sometimes picturesque, intriguing or even absurd.
Composition-wise, the exploration of different tunings has been continued in this project, but so as to comply to the possibilities of wind instruments which cannot be tuned in a lot of way like a synthesizer or a string instrument. The three modes of exploiting non-equal temperament with these instruments were : using quarter tones, using natural harmonics and using a different for each individual instrument in the horn section. The keyboard is the only instrument able to use other tunings, that moved from the equal division of the octave : H16 scale (the firs 16 partials of an harmonic sound fitted in an octave), Wendy Carlos’ « alpha-scale » (perfect fifth divided by 9) and 88cet (cent-equal temperament : each step is seperated by 88 percent of a half-tone).
The other main compositional focus was orchestration. The group’s orchestral potential is increased by the possibilities of doubling (clarinet/bass clarinet, trumpet/trombone, different saxes) and the sound variations enabled by electric and synthetic instruments.
The emphasis on harmony and orchestration led to the melody’s role to be lessened. Importance was rather put on either a textural or rythmic-motivic approach. This was transposed as much as possible from the written material to the improvised material.
For a May 68’s influence wouldn’t be as meaningful if there wasn’t any room for the interprets’ voices. But this room is thought out so as to stimulate the players’ imagination and the collective effort, more so than a standard relation of melody and harmony or soloist and a stale rhythm section.
Shems Bendali • trompette
Zacharie Ksyk • trombone, trompette
Clément Meunier • clarinette, clarinette basse
Micaël Vuataz • saxophone alto & soprano
Louis Billette • saxophone tenor & soprano
Theo Duboule • guitare
Andrew Audiger • claviers
Gaspard Colin • basse
Yves Marcotte • basse, trombone, direction
Nathan Vandenbulcke • batterie
Leo Juston • batterie
I. A bas le vieux monde
II. Ils pourront couper toutes les fleurs, ils n’empêcheront pas la venue du printemps
III. Le n’importe quoi érigé en système
IV. Le feu réalise !
Interlude : La forêt précède l’homme, le désert le suit
I. Un révolutionnaire est un danseur de cordes
II. Ici, bientôt, de charmantes ruines
III. Merde au bonheur (vivez)
IV. Pourvu qu’ils nous laissent le temps
All compositions and arrangements by Yves Marcotte