Exposé Online banner

Bi-Ki ? — Quelque Chose au Milieu
(Circum-Disc LX008, 2016, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2017-08-13

Quelque Chose au Milieu Cover art

Bi-Ki ? is the duo of two alto sax players, Sakina Abdou and Jean-Baptiste Rubin, and in concert situations they typically perform from within the audience, the two players following each other, mixing their sounds and avoiding collisions, in an explorative environment where all the sonic possibilities of the instruments can be opened and discovered in various sound spaces. There is a third factor in their sound, that of Jean-Luc Guionnet, who does live recording, mixing, editing, and sound manipulation. The fact that Guionnet is also (and primarily) a saxophone player – although he doesn’t play the instrument here – allows him the freedom to be able to put his ideas into the textural mix; his part is essential to the performances and recording. In fact these recordings took place in various locations in the town of Lomme, in the north of France, places known for their ambient sound qualities that can form, sculpt, and recreate the sounds of the players. The fold-apart booklet included in the disc gives some clues: we see the two players on opposite sides of what appear to be pews in a church, with Guionnet set up with his mixing table of tricks and treatments mid-way between them. We also see them performing in a large warehouse with high cielings and concrete wall, and at the side of a large indoor public swimming pool. Often we hear voices and other ambient sounds that accompany the on-location live recordings. Most of the pieces are slow moving textural pieces, or simple melodic chases, often with the two players in unison with slight variations between them, but occasionally one hears intense, almost chaotic, rapid-fire looping. One might be reading this review and thinking about a sound similar to Gilbert Artman’s Urban Sax, and in fact this has a similar feel at times: the use of saxophones exclusively in various ambient environments, yet Bi-Ki? is not so lush and billowy, instead being far more skeletal and purely explorative – after all we only have two saxophones producing all the sound, although Guionnet’s manipulations make the duo sound much larger than life. Definitely cool stuff for listeners looking for something outside the box.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Jean-Luc Guionnet, Bi-Ki ?

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Electrelane - Rock It to the Moon, The Power Out, & Axes – Contortions for dirigible apoplexy flex muscular curvatures in modern sound passing raiment unto itself, ballooning into monsoon walls with torque and cresting on a fine knacker. Galloping seesaw...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues