Music Reviews
Trevor Dunn’s Trio-Convulsant avec Folie À Quatre

Trevor Dunn’s Trio-Convulsant avec Folie À Quatre

Séances

Pyroclastic Records

The Convulsionnaires of Saint-Médard are a footnote in French history. They were a heretical group of Christians devoted to a much-loved deacon of the church of Saint Medard. The group gathered at the deacon’s tomb and claimed to witness miracles. Devotees were often overcome by the Holy Spirit and would go into convulsive fits.

The Convulsionnaires became something of a sideshow. People would flock to the cemetery to watch the believers flail around and talk in tongues. It all got to be too much for the Catholic Church, which declared the group heretics and closed the church and graveyard in 1732. That’s when things got really weird. Driven underground, the group began practicing extreme sadomasochistic rituals, corpophagia, and levitation.

Why all this history in a record review? Trevor Dunn’s album, Séances, is devoted to the Convulsionnaires. The composition for his Trio Convulsant, (Dunn on bass, Mary Halvorson on guitar, and Ches Smith on drums) with the Folie À Quatre (Carla Kihlstedt on violin, Oscar Noriega on clarinets, Mariel Roberts on cello, and Anna Webber on flutes) takes the dusty pages of history and translates them into musical impressionism on Séances.

“Secours Meurtriers” (murderous relief) acts as an overture for the album as a whole. The piece has an off -balance cadence suggestive of the believers’ convulsions. The soloists stagger through the pieces like they are playing fragments of different songs competing for the listener’s attention.

Each piece is inspired by an aspect of the Convulsionnaires’ story. The essay in the liner notes goes into great detail about how the solos and meters of the songs relate to ideas from French history. I think I’ve already gone on a bit long with that here. Let’s just say that Séances is a journey down the rabbit hole that is well worth taking.

http://pyroclasticrecords.com


Recently on Ink 19...

New Music Now 009: Sleepyhead

New Music Now 009: Sleepyhead

Features

Join us for a new edition of New Music Now, with our special musical guest, Sleepyhead. All three members of the band are school teachers, so you didn’t hear it from us, but there might be a pop quiz about their album New Alchemy after the show.

Joana Pimenta

Joana Pimenta

Interviews

Back in 2018, Lily and Generoso selected Adirley Queirós’s Once There Was Brasilia as a top ten film. That feature’s cinematographer, Joana Pimenta, has now co-directed with Queirós one of the most expansive political films we’ve seen this year, Dry Ground Burning. Lily and Generoso interviewed Pimenta at AFI Fest earlier this month.

ATLive 2022 with Billy Joel

ATLive 2022 with Billy Joel

Event Reviews

Country/rock mashup series ATLive brings Roi J. Tamkin to Atlanta’s Mercedez Benz Stadium for a night of standing ovations starring The Piano Man, Billy Joel.

%d bloggers like this: