Wednesday, September 12, 2012

PETER KOWALD and WILLIAM PARKER – The Victoriaville Tape (2003)

Label: Les Disques Victo – VICTO CD 088
Format: CD, Album; Country: Canada
Released: 10 Jun 2003
Style: Free Improvisation
Recorded on 19 May 2002 live at Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville


On May 19, 2002, Peter Kowald and William Parker played a duo set at the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville .

JazzTimes (11/03, p.104) — "There is no doubt that Kowald and Parker generate an expansive sound together....The two men create a slowly shifting field of pure sound, sometimes out of which emerge small moments of furious walking bass or fragments of melody."


Both bassists had made regular appearances in Victo over the past two decades, but no one in the audience could have guessed that it would be Kowald's last. The German improviser died in New York City four months later. The French-Canadian radio was not recording this concert, but the mixing desk engineer kept a tape rolling, just in case, and negotiations toward the release of this performance were already in progress when fate struck. Now, as the listener, you can decide whether or not to "hear" this album as a normal performance or as a farewell, but it's suggested you choose the latter. Why? Because, all in all, The Victoriaville Tape is a rather ordinary offering from extraordinary musicians. There are moments in "Arrival" and "Conversation" when the sound of the two basses becomes overwhelmingly claustrophobic, each player trapped in his own world without stepping into the other guy's sphere. When Kowald starts singing 24 minutes into the 41-minute "Conversation," it sounds unnecessary. That said, there is magic on this record, especially in the last minutes. The two shorter tracks ending the set are nothing less than fabulous. "Departure" drones in a rapturing way, soothingly beautiful after the monolithically hyperactive monster that came before it. This refreshing dip opened new doors of communication between the bassists for the encore "Farewell." One wishes the concert had started just then, but as it is, The Victoriaville Tape makes a decent album and, circumstances considered, a worthy document.

~ François Couture, All Music Guide

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  1. PETER KOWALD and WILLIAM PARKER – The Victoriaville Tape (2003)

  2. This is a very long shot but, do you have a 1982 FMP album entitled "Paintings" by Peter Kowald & Barry Guy? I picked up a copy a month before my turntable died, six years ago. I've been searching for it ever since. Any help finding it would be appreciated. Many thanks.


  3. The album is available via: