SONIC PIECES 035  02. February 2024

Sylvain Chauveau - ultra-minimal

Edition: 300x LTD LP, 150x LTD CD

Sylvain Chauveau has been releasing quiet and minimal compositions on various labels for more than two decades. “ultra-minimal” marks his debut for Sonic Pieces and takes the minimal approach even further, centring on reduction and limitation.

The album was recorded live at Café Oto, London in March 2022 – one of Sylvain’s rare solo concerts and the first time he performed publicly with only acoustic instruments; no machines, no recorded sounds have been used, only piano, guitar, harmonium and melodica, played one at the time. While some of the compositions are completely new, others are live versions of previously released pieces which have either been performed close to their original or stripped-down, reduced to a single instrument and partly rearranged. This reveals a predilection for repetitions and variations that Sylvain shares with Jim Jarmusch, and at the same time it is a personal attempt to avoid electronic devices as a tool for live music.

The artwork and track titles follow this reductionist idea and an aesthetic of miniaturization that Sylvain has developed for many years. They refer to the minimalist, concrete poetry that he writes regularly. In this context rewriting some of the original titles was a consistent implication to achieve a complete work, an album that perfectly represents Sonic Pieces’ aesthetics, both musically and visually.