One of my most revelatory musical experiences happened late last year during our first rehearsals with Academy Inégales. It happened during the first of our many « directed improvisation » encounters. What was curious about it was the learning process, the situation of “creative conditioning” we were exposed to, in which we would gradually develop a certain response to each stimulus provided by director Peter Wigold’s signals. It definitely contributed to shattering the different compartments, classifications and codes my brain would associate with a certain musical language or aesthetic.
Here we were directed, but not through a repertoire, neither in an orchestral setting nor in a concert hall. Here we were in an underground club, though it was nothing like a never-ending crowded jam session on a Saturday night. It was simply the discovery of an alternative approach to musical construction, through instant compositional reflexes and structural thinking. The codes were clear; Peter would conceive forms, phrases and textures; and we would handle their embroidery and detailing through ephemeral but functional idioms. Fluency indeed happens best when the title of the book and the length of every chapter are already defined.
That true pivot-moment happened when I have realized the parallels between this approach and the personal inner research I have been undertaking in the aim of building and developing a personal language. While I am aware that every venture I attempt at my level essentially focuses on a micro-platform, in the hope of developing that venture to the next level once it has matured, something suddenly came through to grasp and hold those endeavors on a macro-level; that of the musical collectivity, of the shared language, of the greater structure; and other aspects that I have always thought I would come to tackle “later on” in the process.
The revelation that these two levels operate on a similar, parallel path, nourishing and feeding off each other, triggers a whole new conception; one where conceptualizing would automatically happen on two inextricable grounds, both on idiom elaboration and form conception. The idea that one of those grounds always belongs on paper while the other depends on instrumental command simply sounds reductive, and might actually be one of the reasons why we always find ourselves coming back to prototypical and overused language, much to our consternation.
As all of those codes appear to be challenged, I cannot but notice and appreciate the insight, the innumerable possibilities of that freedom of thought and of craft. Unprejudiced methods allowing us to explore more unknown lands.