Euro-Improv MP3 Set

Vortex is the name of a French duo whose take on European free improv is so fragile that it approaches the quality of aural background happenstance. All its choppy breathing and clanky, purposefully awkward playing rarely registers above a certain baseline of low level, everyday aggitation. Sebastien Cirotteau‘s trumpet and Heddy Boubaker‘s alto saxophone are barely recognizable as such on the self-titled set they released late last year on the Stasisfield netlabel. The record’s appearance on Stasisfield, a label more generally associated with electronic, computer-generated or -mediated sound, focuses your ear on Vortex’s place in that realm. The fourth track in particular (all six cuts on Vortex are simply numbered, “Vortex 1” through “Vortex 6”) has a slurry embouchure that to listeners more familiar with, oh, DJ Kid Koala’s scratching than with percussionist Han Bennink’s makeshift drum kits might suggest the delicate static of lo-fi electronic music, and the chance errors of haphazard field recordings (MP3). Check out the full release at

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