Hi No Tori

Cyril Bondi: floortom, loudspeaker, small objects
Toma Gouband: stones, percussions

Duration 42’08

Download (FLAC & MP3) 7€
Printed edition, sold out.

Also available at Bandcamp (if you’re in hurry).

The printed edition A3 insert contains a serie of pictures of both musicians objects collections.

Hi No Tori is the Bird of Fire, and Cyril Bondi and Toma Gouband’s music has exactly this capacity of always rebirth from its own death, in an eternal motion. The duo play a mineral music, extracting sounds of different grain sizes. The percussions are merely the amplifications of natural virbrations and matters. It was somehow obvious these two talented and dedicated « drummers » would collaborate someday, they both developped the past years very specific sets of sonic matters. On Hi No Tori, these two voices occasionally fusion but generally tend to walk their own lines, in a perfect complementarity, becoming a music of textures and stochastic impacts, of rumbles and resonating stones.

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N°4 / February 2015

A very fine, infinitely subtle percussion duo with Bondi on floor tom, loudspeaker and small objects and Gouband wielding stones and other percussion.
Very difficult to do justice to the music in words–the pair present a single, 42-minute piece, improvised, with a multitude of rhythmic elements and tactile approaches but while the rhythms are almost always present, « rhythm » isn’t the first thing one hears. And while the range of attacks is immense, there’s no annoying grab bag feeling of trying this, then that, so common in this area. The music is entirely successful as a whole; it’s only when the listener chooses to attend to the individual elements that they are foregrounded. Those elements include objects rolled in metal pans, soft alarm bell-like sounds, hollow taps galore, dry rustles and knocks, deep (but quiet) rubbed thrums, countless others. A given element tends to employ repetition, sometimes quick, perhaps more often slow, leading to that implied rhythmic feel. There are pauses between sections, the pair turning to other options, but they somehow feel quite natural, a connected chapter rather than simply another item on the checklist. The music maintains a sober, steady presence throughout, an overall common feeling with tons of varying detail beneath–that old Feldman reference to Turkish carpets came into my head more than once. The recent Diatribes recording with Bondi and D’Incise (who mastered this session) is one of my early favorites of 2015–this is another.
Brian Olewnick / Just Outside

“Hi No Tori” is a transliteration of a Japanese term meaning ‘bird of fire’, and marks the first time that Cyril Bondi and Toma Gouband have worked together on record. Bondi I’m familiar with from his work as one half of diatribes (with d’incise); this is the first time I’ve come across Gouband, though he’s previously worked with the likes of Kim Myhr and Evan Parker. The duo tease a number of percussive textures from a variety of objects, most of which weren’t formed with musical purposes in mind; in this way “Hi No Tori” shares a family resemblance with recent work by Luciano Maggiore and Enrico Malatesta. There’s difference in the details, however, with Bondi and Gouband’s music coming across as perhaps more gestural — more audibly the result of scrapings, rattlings, tappings, whallopings — than that of the Italians.
For me, the appeal of “Hi No Tori” is a double one: first, there are some fantastic timbres of all shapes and colours scattered throughout the album, zinging and hissing and wumping and pattering; second, the rhythms that animate these timbres are ear-catchingly complex, not in the sense that they set out to overwhelm the listening brain with too much information, but rather that varying degrees of regularity are sifted through and tested. While many musicians are interested in playing very quietly in order to introduce a kind of instability or contingency into their music, Bondi and Gouband perhaps achieve something similar here on a rhythmic level, with things constantly shifting gently between pattern and noise. At the same time, though, there are those lovely sounds — having something in common with rain drumming on a roof, though not always timbre — that offer a different window onto the music, turning attention away just a little from questions of rhythm, allowing you the listener to stop counting, if you want.
It’s not as if there could ever be sound without rhythm, outside of time: that would be like speech without an accent (or an ‘eternal sound’, a sonified divine). Maybe splitting these qualities into two distinct concepts is ultimately unhelpful, distracting attention away from the experience of how music as a sensory, cognitive, and communal thing happens or becomes. Or doesn’t, as the case may be. With “Hi No Tori”, things definitely do happen, no grandiosity or emotional manipulation, just drummings, organised now more loosely, now more tightly, filling the ear-bowl with thoughtful sounds, trickling away again.
“Hi No Tori” is released conjointly with an album from the Insub Meta Orchestra, which features four structured pieces for an ensemble of 29 players — both releases are well worth checking out.
Nathan Thomas / Fluid Radio

Distant earthquake tremors. Inadequately stacked ceramic plates quiver against eachother. Steel pans shiver in a cupboard to my right. There is silence – thick and deceptive, a sinister temporal calm – before the rumbling begins again. Bigger this time, more urgent. Hi No Tori is a nervous stirring. Drummer limbs are puppeteered by immense low frequencies, channelling the subterranean conversations of tectonic plates that rub together miles beneath. What manifest as tiny tom rolls and strange rotary grinds are the early signs of the earth tearing apart; molecules of crust pulling away from eachother until fractures become crevices, become chasms, become voids.The 42-minute piece is entirely percussive: miniature impacts, vivid metallic chimes, resonances of sagging skins. Bondi and Gouband start by exploring what happens when the same action is placed on scuttling rapid fire, compressing dozens of instrument attacks into a singular ripping and rumbling, creating semi-fluid, motion capture cascades out of semi-automatic exposures. Elsewhere, I can hear their narrowed eyes of concentration as a slack tom drum ripples beneath a muffled beater, splicing into a secret chorus of tones and overtones. Even amidst the imminence of natural disaster the duo’s concentration is dense and unwavering, announcing itself through those intermittent hisses of nasal breath.
Jack Chuter / ATTN magazine

Compared to the complexities of IMO, the duo of percussionists Bondi and Toma Gouband is very different, but it shares the large ensemble’s sense of control and absence of ego. As well as Bondi’s use of floortom and loudspeaker, the pair extract percussive sounds from a range of objects. Rather than words, this release’s A3 insert pictures a selection of those items, including stones, fir cones, twigs, sticks, shells, a brush, foil trays plus other less easily identifiable objects. As he demonstrated on his 2012 album for Evan Parker’s label, Courant des Vents (Psi, 2012), Gouband specialises in using stones and branches to generate sounds that are so reminiscent of natural sounds, such as water dripping in caves, that they could easily be mistaken for field recordings.
Where Gouband played alone on that album, here he and Bondi interact and exchange sounds, blurring the boundary between the two of them and giving the impression of one multi-limbed, single-brained entity; there is no sense of call and response or leader and follower, the two seem to think and play together, the dynamics of their peaks and troughs matching perfectly. Throughout the single, forty-two minute piece, there is a deep, underlying pulse which comes from both players but is underpinned by the constant rumble of the floortom over which both add embellishments and further rhythms. A fine example of duo improvisation and a very satisfying listening experience.
John Eyles / All about jazz

Pour cette pièce d’un seul tenant mais organisée en séquences, les deux percussionnistes ont opté pour une simplicité lisible tant au niveau de la forme que du contenu. Ce dernier se divise en deux catégories : d’une part des matériaux granuleux et constants et d’autre part des ponctuations voire des scansions. C’est donc un monde binaire où se superposent l’horizontal et le vertical, et où alternent l’activité et le silence que l’auditeur est convié à observer. Aucune note d’intention dans le livret sinon un ensemble de photographies détaillant ce qui est sans doute le matériel utilisé : pierres et végétaux d’un côté ; graines, tiges, barquettes d’aluminium, coquillages, etc. de l’autre côté. Les uns, frottés, raclés, frappés, les autres subissant les vibrations directes ou indirectes produites par un haut-parleur. Ce qui est visible, c’est aussi le balancement ou l’antagonisme entre le retard pris par les matériaux agis par ce haut-parleur et le clair cheminement de la main qui frappe ou qui racle. Sont ainsi réunies comme deux visions du travail : le travail assisté et le travail manuel avec le sentiment que l’homme assisté par l’outil prend du retard sur l’instant, le laissant paradoxalement appauvri devant la vélocité du geste direct. Plus qu’un dialogue entre les deux musiciens, on peut y voir un conflit, non pas conflit esthétique mais conflit politique où le choix et la manipulation des outils/instruments font apparaître deux visions distinctes mais qu’heureusement, ici, rien n’empêche de se superposer.
Baku / Revue & Corigée

Перкуссионисты: швейцарец Сирил Бонди (Cyril Bondi) и француз Тома Губан (Toma Gouband). Бонди известен по дуэту Diatribes и трио Plaistow, имя же Губана можно встретить не так часто, но, к примеру, его сольный релиз на лейбле Psi был просто замечателен. Не могу сказать, что я намеренно проверял его страницу ради новых альбомов, но имя не вылетало из головы. Тем приятнее было получить на рецензию представленную запись. И сразу же она напомнила мне продукцию норвежцев с лейбла SOFA. Камерная акустическая импровизационная музыка, которой присущ академический саунд. Это означает крайне аккуратное отношение к издаваемым звукам, филигранную работу с динамикой и некое целостное ощущение “композиционности” материала.
Основной инструмент Сирила – напольный том, который он препариует при помощи различных объектов, так же использует миниатюрный динамик для резонансов. Тома играет на камнях и какой-то перкуссии. Описывать музыку дело нелегкое. У этого дуэта она просто течёт из одного состояния в другое, ненавязчиво и вроде как “между делом”. Бесспорно, есть разная динамика и скорость этого течения, но важнее то, что это есть целое. И за этим интересно следить не только музыкантам, но и слушателю. Я сомневаюсь, что у Бонди и Губана была инструкция для исполнения, и по этой причине как раз ощущается, что и самим музыкантам создающиеся формы интересны, они их увлекают, не отвлекая внимания от пьесы в целом.
Ilia Belorukov / CM mag