Insub Meta Orchestra


On the recording, from left to right,
Beatrice Graf, Teresa Hackel, Patricia Bosshard, Thomas Peter, Jacques Demierre, Cyril Bondi, Sébastien Branche, Heike Fiedler, Erik Ruffing, Daniel Tyrrell, Lea Danzeisen, Rodolphe Loubatière, Christophe Berthet, Bruno Crochet, Regula Gerber, Antoine Läng, Gregor Vidic, Simon Bolay, Christoph Schiller, Luc Müller, Dorothea Schürch, Thierry Simonot, Bertrand Gauguet, d’incise, Vinz Vonlanthen, Coralie Lonfat, Jamasp Jhabvala, Christian Müller & Filippo Provenzale.

Duration 87’28

Available as a digital download or as a printed edition w/ digital download.
The printed edition A3 insert contains a long historical text develloping the orchetra’s evolution since 2010.

The INSUB META ORCHETRA present here its third « Archive », recorded in the amazing acoustic of the Swiss Radio studio in Geneva during summer 2014. Four pieces, two relatively short and one very long, each of them placing the accent on a particular and reduced aspect, silences, uniformity, durations, unisson and contrast. This « Archive#3 » sees also the return of the orchestra to structured pieces after a couple of years focused on improvisation. 29 musicians, with a large variety of instruments, winds, strings, electronics, percussions, an harmonium, and a good amount of uncategorized objects, build delicate textures, appearing and returning to the silence, forcing the listening to extreme zones, with a radical position on durations and minimal variations.


An ambitious project involving some 29 musicians for this recording, mostly Swiss and only several of whom I’ve heard prior (D’Incise, Cyril Bondi, Sébastien Branche, Rodolphe Loubatière, Christoph Schiller and Bertrand Gauguet, perhaps others). As D’Incise and Bondi make clear in their conversation, which is enclosed with the packet, one of the obvious problems with such a large ensemble is overplaying, a potential snag the group avoids entirely. Each of the four pieces has clear parameters and none of these involve overt individual contributions. « 4GS », the shortest piece, is also the most varied with low, rubbery rumbles and scratches played against thin, high, keening sounds, very visceral and solid. This is followed by two 15-minute works (no composing credit is shared here but from the discussion, I’m getting it was a largely cooperative effort): « SLC », a kind of respiratory piece, the orchestra emerging for breath periodically, taking in some air in the form of rustles, low rubbing and other subtle, abstract noises, then lapsing into silence, repeated throughout, growing slightly more insistent toward the end, while « UNC is a study in soft, overlapping long tones, almost drones, gradually plunging in amplitude–both are lovely. « MNC » is, oddly, the most challenging work here, almost 50 minutes of one thing, though a complex thing. I’m reminded a bit of Feldman’s « For Samuel Beckett » in the sense of its monolithic aspect, a blurred mass, kind of like a ball of string, impossible to dissect but very present, seething and shifting. Hard to say exactly how the sounds are being produced–the effect is staticky but I imagine it’s from rubbing objects with soft items00but no matter. I find it very engrossing and immersive to listen to and can imagine doing so in a live situation but many will doubtless find it a tough, almost featureless go, like staring at a white noise TV screen for 50 minutes. I love that they stick to it for such a length, attempting, and arguably succeeding in creating an alternate frame of reference by dint of perseverance. Well worth hearing.
Brian Olewnick / Just Outside

Insub Meta Orchestra (IMO) is a key part of the Insubordinations set up. The INSUB curators, percussionist Cyril Bondi and laptoppist/percussionist D’incise, are both regular members of IMO, maybe even its leaders. On this album’s A3 insert, they tell the fascinating story of how they founded IMO, inspired by playing with the London Improvisers Orchestra (LIO) on a visit to London in 2009. They also outline the orchestra’s subsequent trials and tribulations including the collective search for its own identity and working methods. This quote from D’incise gives a flavour of that search, « We addressed sound analysis (in a somewhat Schaefferian way), what is a drone, a white noise, being able to make the difference between a click and a crack. Then learn how to generate and work with just one material over a long period, a search of texture, sound clouds, thinking of one’s instrument as an abstract source, find potentially common sounds to all. »
The music issued by IMO resulted from that search. As its title implies, Archive #3 is their third volume of recordings. (Incidentally, its predecessors remain available as free downloads.) Despite IMO originally being inspired by the LIO, it is clear from Archive #3 that it has diverged from the LIO musically. For instance, of the twenty-nine musicians here (down from thirty-five on Archive #2) six are percussionists and six use electronics or laptop—a very different balance to that in LIO. IMO music is far more electroacoustic improvisation (eai) than free improv, as a brief listen to the SoundCloud clip below will indicate. Of course, producing eai with twenty-nine musicians is fraught with the same difficulties as producing free improv with that number—it would be easy for the results to become cacophonous! IMO avoid that by opting to play structured pieces at a low volume, including occasional silences and avoiding individual virtuosity in favour of group refection and sound. The end results generally evolve slowly and gently, with no one player obviously taking the lead. They are most akin to drones that are rich in detail both on the surface and at a deeper level; IMO music stands up well to repeat listening, revealing more and more over time. .
John Eyles / All about jazz

„Archive#3“ veröffentlicht das INSUB META ORCHESTRA über den Schweizer Verlag INSUB RECORDS & NETLABEL, der das komplexe 4-Track Release im äußerst ungewöhnlichen, aber absolut ansprechenden Format Digital + Pappverpackung inklusive A3 Booklet herausgibt. Heißt, Konsument(-inn)en kaufen die physikalische Verpackung und erhalten dadurch den Downloadcode für die Tonkunst (MP3/ FLAC). PS: In meinen Augen eine äußerst geile Idee, um das Format Digital aufzuwerten.
Stringenzfanatiker(-innen) sollten von „Archive#3“ Abstand nehmen, dessen verquaste Strukturen teilweise in Richtung Noise tendieren, weshalb normale Ohren mit dieser Verschmelzung aus Organik & Synthetik defacto ihre Probleme haben werden. Vor allem der Einsatz von diversen Instrumenten wie Gitarre, Bass, Saxophone, Trompete, Percussion, Harmonium usw. erhebt „Archiv#3“ zu einem höchst spannenden Hörerlebnis, das besonders Geräuschfetischist(-inn)en ansprechen dürfte, die vielschichtige Gesamtkunstwerke schätzen, welche über unzählige Spannungsbögen verfügen. Auf den Einsatz von Stimmen verzichtet das INSUB META ORCHESTRA komplett, hingegen vereinzelte Tonsamples und Feldaufnahmen nutzen sie, um der Gesamtheit Tiefe bzw. Räumlichkeit zu geben. Gefallen mag, dass sich die Herrschaften auch in Bereiche wie Hochtonnoise & HNW vorwagen, weshalb „Archive#3“ eine äußerst gelungenes Beispiel für modernen Crossover ist. Anspieltipp? Experimentierfreudigen Wesen in Gänze ein Licht, dem Rest ein Graus!
Fazit: Individuen, die in jeglicher Hinsicht das Außergewöhnliche lieben, müssen „Archive#3″ des Mammutkünstlerkollektivs INSUB META ORCHESTRA ihr Eigen nennen, dessen Vielschichtigkeit & Intensität definitiv fasziniert – meine absolute EMPFEHLUNG! PS: Auch nach unzähligen Hörproben tauchen noch neue Details aus dem Nichts auf – Wahnsinn!