Bobun is a duo of French-Japanese viola-player Frantz Loriot, whom we know from the excellent “Baloni”, and French cellist Hugues Vincent. The line-up is rare and we have so far only reviewed two other albums on this blog (Stefano Pastor & Kash Killion, and Vincent Royer & Séverine Ballon). Both musicians have played together for ten years, as a duo, but also with lots of Japanese and French musicians, including the great Joëlle Léandre, who was a teacher to both of them.
By their very nature, string duets bring us away from jazz as we know it, and Loriot and Vincent take us even a step further away from the known. Their open-ended minimalist music is built around either a drone-like tonal center as on the first track, or around silence like zen drawings or zen gardens. The strings carve out the space around the silence. With little touches, soft movements of surprise and wonder. But like Japanese art, the approach is equally direct and in-the-moment, intimate, recognisable yet at the same time shocking, revealing, pushing the listener (and the players?) out of their comfort zone, challenging his or her perceptions until you give up and just go with the sounds. And this is rewarding, because by the time you’ve completely let go, the approach changes slightly in the ear-piercing last-but-one track and then into the last track which miraculously opens like a flower.
A strange compelling aesthetic.