CNVCD003 | 01.03.2011


Overdeveloped Pigeons

format: CD | packaging: digipack

duration: 50 minutes, 5 tracks

limited to 200 copies






music recorded at Castelmaurou (France) - April 20th, 2008 by Pierre-Olivier Boulant.


Alessandra Rombolá: flutes, tiles and cheramic objects.

Michel Doneda: soprano and sopranino sax, radio, objects.


When I listen to the music of Alessandra Rombolá and Michel Doneda, I wonder if it's really necessary to know how, where and when the music was made, and with which instruments. Was it improvised, was it composed?. The music on this cd shines from the very start and one can hear that this is a live recording because of the remarkable tension and presence of the artists. Endless amount of images passes by my eyes and the duo's sounds and interplay have a deep emotional effect on me. The music is harsh, raw and beautiful at the same time. There are no traces of the so-called dogmas in contemporary music here, just pure and joyfull musicmaking by two extraordinary artists. I hope they play at a venue near you some day. You shouldn't miss it!.


[ Ingar Zach - Madrid, February 2011 ]


Le Son Du Grisli


L'une et l'autre avaient signé jadis un solo sur le label Sillon. Aujourd'hui (en fait 20 avril 2008), ils se penchent ensemble sur le cas d'Overdeveloped Pigeons.


Alessandra Rombolá (flûtes et objets) et Michel Doneda (saxophones soprano et sopranino, radio, objets) partis donc à la découverte d'oiseaux rares dont le souffle fait l'élan : volatiles plaintifs, expressifs voire disant, ou gibier plus commun qui, s'il ne joue pas un peu les surdéveloppés bravaches, s'en fait oublier d'autant. En guise de chants, qui se succèdent semble-t-il selon le développement artificiel de ladite espèce (de fragments de pigeons en pigeons gonflés à bloc) : respirations en partage, sifflements hauts et râles confondants, notes enquillées par la flûte et déraillements du soprano, et même quelques coups de plumes portés à des objets – lorsque ceux-ci ne sont pas plutôt traînés à terre.


C'est d'ailleurs au son des plaintes de ces choses que le duo maltraite qu'il lui arrive de gagner en originalité : pour cela – condition sine qua none ? – il aura dû perdre en assurance.


[ Guillaume Belhomme ]



Paris Transatlantic


Overdeveloped Pigeons is a great name but doesn't begin to capture the sonic ground covered by this meeting between Doneda and Madrid-based Alessandra Rombolá. The flautist is a deft, classically trained improviser, who is rightfully starting to get some visibility, and she also uses "tiles and ceramic objects," extending the palette with scratches, scrapes, and clatter. Doneda's hissing overblowing and reedy buzzes perfectly complement her bent trills and smears. He's also credited with "radio and objects," adding percussive clicks, squeaks, and, on one piece, what sounds like a zither. The five pieces are full of conversational back-and-forth as the two weave together long strident tones and active flurries. Doneda has always had a keen ear for instrumental combinations, whether like-minded reed players, koto, or hurdy-gurdy, and with Rombolá he's found an especially fruitful partner; let's hope there's more in the works from these two.


[ Michael Rosenstein ]





Troisième disque paru sur le netlabel espagnol Con-v, Overdeveloped Pigeons rassemble deux artistes soufflants immenses et talentueux pour cinq improvisations spectaculaires. Un dialogue très intense entre des souffles, des objets, des sons indéterminés, des bruits, des notes, et des percussions.


Doneda et Rombolá (déjà présente sur Bricolage de MUTA) éjectent des sons et des idées à tour de rôle et ensemble, la communion se fait facilement, si facilement qu'il est parfois difficile de savoir qui fait quoi. Mais qu'importe, le plus important restant à mon avis le territoire musical exploré. Et durant ces cinq pièces, on voyage dans des contrées réellement inattendues et inexplorées, qui ne ressemblent pas à grand chose. En bref, un échange singulier, inventif et personnel. Bien sûr, le talent des deux artistes n'y est pas pour rien, on connaît Doneda pour être l'un des plus grands spécialistes actuels du soprano (et du sopranino), au cours des années il a appris à en exploiter toutes les ressources, toutes les possibilités, en sachant faire corps avec son instrument (contrairement à d'autres saxophonistes admirables comme Christine Sehnaoui Abdelnour ou Stéphane Rives qui ont une approche plus retirée, plus neutre). Et l'utilisation organique du saxophone est profondément soutenue par l'intensité de la flûte très personnelle, intense, originale et tout aussi organique de Rombolá.


Mais attention, ce n'est pas seulement un exercice de dialogue et de virtuosité entre bois, Overdeveloped Pigeons sait aussi utiliser le silence, l'espace, le bruit afin de constamment maintenir des tensions, des intentions et des langages différents et variés. De nombreux objets sont percutés, frottés, caressés, une radio s'allume et disparaît, les ondes laissant place au vide, des sons laissent place au vide, des souffles humains communiquent et communient avec des objets, des notes sont jouées avec des bruits. D'accord, l'immensité des techniques étendues est vertigineuse, et leur utilisation est toujours heureuse, mais ce dialogue ne peut pas se réduire à sa virtuosité, il y a aussi un quelque chose de très sensible et plein d'émotions, un quelque chose de profondément musical et chaleureux malgré l'omniprésence du bruit. Peut-être est-ce du à l'équilibre parfait entre les deux musiciens, ou entre la musique et le bruit, le concret et l'abstrait, ou je ne sais quoi encore de dualiste. En tout cas, je crois que Doneda et Rombolá ont vraiment su trouver un équilibre peut-être inconscient entre de nombreuses choses pas forcément identifiables ou formulables, ils ont su s'explorer l'un l'autre et explorer un nouveau territoire fantastique et créatif.


Un disque très fort émotivement, très varié et intense musicalement, cinq improvisations qui savent faire travailler l'imagination et qui ont du se servir de l'imagination. Deux talents hallucinants mis au service d'une musique très riche et profonde (j'insiste, car malgré l'utilisation fréquente d'instruments non-musicaux et de techniques étendues, ces improvisations ont quelque chose de profondément musical). En bref, un disque à écouter absolument!.


[ H.Julien ]



The Watchful Ear


Well, I'll try and write a review here tonight. I have spent the day in a continual state of sleepy, bemused indifference as I have tried (and failed) to write a piece for The Wire. I'm not sure why, but engaging the brain has been a bit of a struggle all day. I haven't felt all that well for much of the day, so there is one reason, but I suspect not the only one. My body, and probably also my brain certainly needed a break after a hectic couple of weeks. A late walk tonight with Julie and a beautifully clear sky full of stars has hopefully cleared some cobwebs enough for me to write something at least partly coherent about tonight's CD, but don't count on it…


The disc tonight anyway is a new release on the Con-V label by the Italian/French duo of Alessandra Rombolá and Michel Doneda called (rather brilliantly) Overdeveloped Pigeons. The disc is a set of five improvisations recorded some three years ago in a live concert situation in France. Rombolá plays flute primarily, but also utilises "tiles and other cheramic (sic?) objects" while Doneda works with soprano and sopranino saxophones, objects and a radio (though trying to spot where this last item appears isn't easy). The music then is a great example of a thoroughly joyful, and enjoyable set of music performed by two experienced musicians that know each other's music well and clearly enjoy playing together.


The mix of two wind instruments is an unusual one, with flute and sax being a particularly rare mix for a duo, but one of the strengths of this CD, of the duo's playing, is that they manage to compliment each other's sounds rather than mirror it. Both musicians mix fluttery, breathy sounds with tonal parts and percussive sections, but rarely do they do the same things at the same time, such is the apparent understanding between the two. The music fits somewhere around the middle ground of modern improvised music, all acoustic, expressive and certainly not full of silence, but its also slowly performed, without the sensation of adrenalin driving things along and with a lot of attention paid to textures and how they combine. Its just a nice CD to listen to and allow to roll past you, but if you spend the time picking apart the two musicians and listening closely to the interplay between the duo it becomes a fascinating set of music to follow closely. Sure, there is nothing groundbreaking here, nothing to rewrite the rules of improv, but its just a great pleasure to listen to. The final, fifth section of the disc, which sees Rombolá work mostly with her tiles is the fieriest here, the sounds of these and whatever the other ceramic objects are really working well with the sax, part percussive, part grainy textures, providing a nice alternative to the flute and somehow sounding reminiscent of laptop processed sounds, though exactly why I say that is hard to explain.


Good stuff anyway, one for the fans of improvisation at its purest for sure, but also a recording of two thoroughly talented and skilled musicians really enjoying playing together that should appeal to a much wider audience than is likely to track this CD down.


[ Richard Pinell ]



Just Outside


With Album Title of the Year neatly sewn up, we proceed to the music provided us by Rombolá (flutes, tiles, ceramic objects) and Doneda (soprano and sopranino saxophones, radio, objects), recorded in 2008. I've been familiar with Doneda's work for well over a decade but have only encountered Rombolá on a handful of occasions. Still, what expectations I had of the music turned out to fit pretty well, with some exceptions.


The pair concentrate on breath tones at the harsher end of that spectrum, whooshing through the space, augmented by valve pops, leavened by hummed multiphonics, all in a loose framework that maintains mood throughout each of the five pieces. Well handled, though the general approach isn't going to sound appreciably different than much of what we've heard from, at least, Doneda, for some time. Except for the non-woodwind parts, that is. By including Rombolá's ceramic work and whatever objects that Doneda is manhandling, especially on the first and last cuts, the pair manages to elevate the music into a new and exciting territory. There's something wonderfully chaotic about that clangor mixing with the long, reed-generated tones. Those tracks make the disc worth hearing and, I hope, bode well for future investigation. Oh, and lovely cover art by Alejandra Calabrese!


[ Brian Olewnick ]