Julie Campiche Quartet


Out Feb 21, 2020!

After 8 years of performing with the critically acclaimed ensemble Orioxy it was in 2016 that Julie Campiche invited a new generation of Swiss musicians to join her eponymous quartet. Three years and 40 concerts later she now presents their first album Onkalo. These gifted musicians are not afraid to explore and experiment as they sculpt the notes, tone and texture of their work. The progressive jazz and multifaceted ambiance of this initial album is in step with those who mix synthetic music and natural sound, such as Norway’s Nils Petter Molvaer, England’s Portico Quartet, as well as the American Makaya McCraven or the Canadian group Godspeed You Black Emperor!. However, surprisingly enough none of the above directly influenced Julie Campiche’s work. Although she recalls listening to Northern European musicians as well as traditional music on ECM (including Kayhan Kalhor and Erdal Erzincan’s The Wind) she actually immersed herself in the work of musicians outside of her own universe, such as Lhasa, Cocorosie, Tom Waits, Portishead, Keith jarret, Joe Henry, Ahmad Jaml and Arvo Pärt. Such musicians are unparalleled in the art of creating unique instantaneous ambiances while they also brazenly interact with silence. Onkalo is as minimalist as that! Each piece takes its time to develop and bloom. As Julie Campiche tells us, “If we go too fast the suppleness, the central thread, will be broken.” The quartet’s four instrumentalists definitely leave themselves space. They never go overboard as sometimes occurs with groups that get in each other’s way. “I need space to breathe in order to feel the music. In Cradle Songs for instance I told the saxophonist that if he heard three distinct musical phrases he must play only one but with the energy of all three. I need to hear what is not said. And I want the audience to be involved. I want to grab their attention”. Onkalo captures the audience’s attention through its story line like music from a film. “I listened to the music from Almodóvar’s Hable con ella thousands of times.” Julie Campiche loves telling stories that infuse the musical score with meaning: from her cosmic lullaby Cradle Songs to Flash Info with its zapping effect similar to televised news and onto the eponymous piece Onkalo (“cave” in Finnish), a title inspired by an underground Finnish reservoir for radioactive waste. It is the world’s first permanent high-level radioactive waste repository. This fascinating albeit disturbing situation so captured author Henning Mankell and director Michael Madsen’s imagination that it became the catalyst for their documentary film Into Eternity. Yet Julie does not think of the quartet’s first album as a political statement. No. If the current world situation is somehow present in the work the music itself tends to have a calming effect. One could say it is a form of “spiritual jazz”, e.g., chiaroscuro. « It is an invitation to take time to dream, to momentarily leave today’s rational world on which we spend too much time reflecting or that simply frightens us. » Victor Hugo said that “music is sound that thinks”. However with Onkalo it would be better to say that music is a beautiful sound that thinks! (Mathieu Durand)


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