Meloche / Archer / Robair / Hodnett
The Sincerity Of Light
Discus 68CD
Available formats: CD/DL


Convincing and full of creative ideas….. A psychedelic dream-like disk. – A G Bertinetto, Kathodik.

“At times disturbing, always hypnotic”. – MUSICA JAZZ

Trance-like minimal loops and drones from Canadian electronics composer Meloche orchestrated by Archer with improvised percussion and voices from Robair and Hodnett. A unique meeting of minimalism and improv,

Chris Meloche – guitar and electronics
Martin Archer – woodwind and electronics
Gino Robair – percussion and electronics
Lyn Hodnett – voice


Dynamite, nigh-on indescribable soundscapes by the eclectic quartet of Martin Archer, Chris Meloche, Gino Robair, and Lynn Hodnett. Crawling-eye tronix, insectile percussive nesting, stray woodwind warble. eerie eventides, and a gathering of additionally mysterious awry sonics recall Nurse With Wound’s early work in a blaze of sheer unbridled imagination. On Archer’s always-fascinating Discus imprint. – Darren Bergstein

Canadian guitarist Meloche is a regular visitor to the UK and often hooks up with Archer for gigs and musical experiments. For example, Meloche and Archer feature on the glorious 2006 Outward Sound Ensemble’s ‘Thunder in a clear sky’. In 2016, Meloche left a CD with some ethereal loops and drones that he had been developing and this forms the basis of the three pieces on this set. Archer contacted US percussionist Robair to see about a trio performance. Robair sent back a recording of electronics and percussion pieces of his own. From these, Archer assembled the background to the three parts on this CD. Knowing that the various noises were created artificially doesn’t prepare you for how lifelike the sounds are on the first and third tracks, much as if what you are listening to are recordings of birds, insects and animals in some tropical rainforest. This organic nature of the sounds is played with and emphasised by Archer’s woodwind and Hodnett’s high frequency vocal improvisations. The second track struck me as sounding very much like a slowed down version of dub Reggae, with echoey horns and a teeth-shaking bass line (although, here too, the electronics produced noises of an organic rather than artificial nature). Martin Archer’s press release provides a neat description of how he responded to the mix of Meloche’s sustained drones and Robair’s percussive electronics, and how he set up his equipment so that the sounds of the woodwind instruments are translated through a midi converter to trigger a ‘cloud’ of recordings of Hodnett’s vocals improvisations. If you’re still with me so far, then this is definitely a CD you’ll like as much as I do. There is, of course, a challenge in detecting the source of the various sounds that are merged together – but there is far more pleasure in simply letting the wash of sounds work their magic. Archer’s intention was to create a set of pieces that could be performed live – this would, I think, be spell-binding and definitely the sort of thing that would take centre stage at a festival like Supersonic. – Chris Baber – JAZZ VIEWS

The Sincerity Of Light (DISCUS 68CD) was done by the foursome of Martin Archer with visiting Canadian axeman Chris Meloche, San Francisco drumming veteran Gino Robair, and high-pitched vocalist Lyn Hodnett, and it’s a satisfying set of rich and droney electronic music with hardly any “jazz” components in the workings of it. Great to hear Archer blasting it up again in some sort of performing situation with Meloche – I haven’t heard them play together since Cloudburst, which they made as Outward Sound Ensemble, and that was 14 years ago. Given that at one level, this is a meeting between woodwinds, guitar, percussion and voice, you could almost be forgiven for expecting a typical “Company Week” improvising set-up from the late 1980s, but the three guys in the group also manipulate their electronic boxes and gizmos non-stop, and the combined effect (while not exactly cutting-edge contemporary) has that lovely distorted-blob taste where no instrument sounds like what you’d expect. The three parts of this sustained meditation are highly maximal and the foursome just keep pumping out the thick rich music like so much slurpee goop from a nourishing ice-cream maker, then they top everything off with chopped broccoli spears. If I’m reading the press notes correctly, then The Sincerity Of Light is a studio assemblage made by Archer from separate performances / recorded segments sent in the by the players, so it’s less of a document of free playing and more of a Teo Macero / Kurt Graupner thing. Archer has shown himself to be quite an adept at executing tasks like this, still retaining a spontaneity and warmth in the performances that might be at risk of being sacrificed on the altar of the cutting room devices. Recommended to fans of kosmische music as much as free jazz lovers. – Ed Pinsent, SOUND PROJECTOR

And then there are the latest endeavours of Martin Archer himself as Meloche/ Archer/ Robair/ Hodnett create three lengthy improvisations/ compositions on ‘The Sincerity of Light’ (Discus 68 CD). Electronics are used comprehensively, Archer’s woodwinds joining Chris Meloche’s guitar, Gino Robair’s percussion and Lyn Hodnett’s voice on some more ‘extra-terrestrial’ excursions. ’Part 1’ gives the impression of some ET zoo or rain forest perhaps and despite the ‘electronic’ production it all sounds impossibly organic. It turns out that the project originated in 2016 with a CD of loops and drones created by Meloche. ‘Part 2’ is equally hypnotic with regular repetitions of a ‘dub’ bassline and mellifluous sax. ‘Part 3’ is similar to ‘1’ but more percussive.  – Phil Jackson, ACID DRAGON

Imagine an enormous, lumbering airship emerging from thick black clouds in a howling tempest, with lightning flashing and hailstones pinging every which way. – Daniel Spicer, Wire

Convincing and full of creative ideas. Generate an atmosphere of suspension and repetitive soundscapes trance underpinned, in three different parts of this suite, from the various activities of the sax, percussion, guitar, voice and electronics. In this way you create a strange feeling of stillness in movement: the riffs and repetitive drones develop progressively, fueling a sound very layered and complex, but always brilliant. As bright as the light of which the album sings, in sounds, sincerity; a light hitting, flashes, thanks to intense insertions of the various elements of the group. A psychedelic dream-like disk. – A G Bertinetto, Kathodik.

An interesting project that is about combining minimalistic trance-induced loops and drones combined with (pre-recorded) improvisation. Archer turned it into three hypnotic and psychedelic soundscapes that work well. The electronics by Meloche and the free drumming by Robair make an interesting contrast that is bridged by Archer’s interventions. – VITAL WEEKLY

Archer still borders on discovering new soundscapes. La musica di questo inedito quartetto virtuale si origina da uno dei suoi periodici incontri con il canadese Meloche, sperimentatore elettro-acustico e artista multimediale dell’Ontario. The music of this new virtual quartet originates from one of his periodic meetings with the Canadian Meloche, an electro-acoustic experimenter and an Ontario multimedia artist. I due si sono ritrovati nel 2016 a Sheffield per un paio di concerti, e parte delle registrazioni è stata in seguito recapitata dal canadese ad Archer per capire se cavarne fuori qualcosa. The two found themselves in Sheffield in 2016 for a couple of concerts, and part of the recordings was later sent by the Canadian to Archer to figure out if to get something out of it. Costui a sua volta ha rilanciato, proponendo di inserirvi dell’altro materiale registrato da Robair, altra abituale frequentazione dell’inglese, al fine di ricomporre il tutto e ottenere qualcosa di più strutturato da poter eseguire dal vivo. He, in turn, has relaunched, proposing to include some other material recorded by Robair, another habitual frequentation of English, in order to recompose everything and get something more structured to perform live. A tal fine ha poi coinvolto anche Hodnett, abile improvvisatrice vocale. To this end he also involved Hodnett, a skilled vocal improviser. Insieme hanno registrato altra musica e, infine, Archer ha rimodellato il tutto. Together they recorded more music and finally, Archer reshaped it all. Il lungo brano eponimo che ne è saltato fuori è diviso in tre parti e mescola minimalismo, jazz e psichedelia. The long eponymous piece that has emerged is divided into three parts and mixes minimalism, jazz and psychedelic. La prima sezione ruota intorno all’intreccio tra il contralto di Archer e la voce di Hodnett, che appare quasi come evocata, in un rincorrersi di entrambi emergendo e fluttuando su una nuvola di suoni fabbricati da Meloche, vagamente imparentati con quelli cigolanti dei Nurse With Wound. The first section revolves around the intertwining of Archer’s contralto and the voice of Hodnett, which appears almost as evoked, in a succession of both emerging and floating on a cloud of sounds made by Meloche, vaguely related to those creaking Nurse With Wound. Nella seconda parte, Archer ha sovrainciso i suoi sassofoni su un tappeto sonoro di elettronico/percussivo e il risultato evoca le cose migliori di Terry Riley, quello di Poppy Noggod , per intenderci. In the second part, Archer has overwritten his saxophones on an electronic / percussive sound carpet and the result evokes the best things of Terry Riley, that of Poppy Noggod , so to speak. Nella sezione conclusiva tornano co-protagonisti gli acuti di Hodnett, in compagnia di rumori di origine radiofonica. In the concluding section, the high notes of Hodnett come back to co-star, in the company of noises of radio origin. A tratti inquietante, sempre ipnotico. At times disturbing, always hypnotic. – MUSICA JAZZ

It’s an unusual aesthetic that gives himself to hear in this album – an aesthetic that doesn’t have much to do with the jazz, is said by the way. The Sincerity of Light is an album of electronic music. But, regardless of the style, the four musicians – Chris Meloche, Martin Archer, Gino Robair, and Lyn Hodnett, all composers – at the initiative of this sound creation succeeded brilliantly their shot. The format is a lot since, if the disk is around the hour of music, there are only three tracks. Throughout these three pieces each lasting more than a quarter of an hour, we have plenty of time to soak up cosmic universe. In addition, the tempo is slow, thus giving the extraordinary sensation of being suspended. It is indeed, across this disc, in a great state of weightlessness and hallucination. The palette of sounds, very rich, no doubt contributes. It is so dense that the listener, if you accept this music off standard, without brake can let his imagination stray to countless images and as much stories and adventures. – Gilles Gaujarengues, CITIZEN JAZZ

Pas besoin ici de fausse modestie, la simple vérité suffit. MELOCHE, ARCHER, ROBAIR, HODNETT. On pourrait écrire un livre entier riche et dense sur chacun ou chacune de ces artistes. C’est juste vous dire le niveau exceptionnel de ce quartet, et la chance même de voir ces quatre noms associés en un seul quartet, chacun étant par ailleurs expert ou experte dans son domaine. La raison de ce quartet est en fait à chercher dans l’amitié qui liait déjà MELOCHE et ARCHER. Ils avaient en effet déjà joué ensemble en 2006 dans le OUTWARD SOUND ENSEMBLE pour le fantastique album Thunder in a Clear Sky. Depuis, Chris MELOCHE avait continué à faire des boucles hypnotiques avec ses guitares pour d’autres formations de très haut niveau et dans d’autres albums exceptionnels, leur liste est impressionnante, et Martin ARCHER avait continué sa fabuleuse carrière de multi-instrumentiste, notamment au sein de COMBAT ASTRONOMY et de l’ORCHESTRA OF THE UPPER ATMOSPHERE. Il est par ailleurs le fondateur du label Discus, celui-là même sur lequel sort The Sincerity of Light. Autant dire que MELOCHE et ARCHER se connaissent bien, s’apprécient et qu’ils auraient très pu monter un passionnant projet juste en duo. Mais ils ont décidé d’inviter deux autres artistes à les rejoindre. Il y a d’abord Gino ROBAIR, compositeur et improvisateur américain, batteur, percussionniste et spécialiste du traitement du son au travers de dispositifs électroniques, s’aidant en particulier pour cela de systèmes modulaires analogiques. Mais quand on a dit cela on n’a encore rien dit, car Gino ROBAIR navigue sans même y penser entre rock, jazz et musiques expérimentales, prépare allègrement pianos ou tout autre instrument à cordes et prend de simples plaques de métal ou même de pauvres bouts de polystyrène en guise de percussions. Le cas de Lyn HODNETT est encore plus étrange car, pour autant qu’elle prête sa voix à cet album, ce n’est même pas une “vraie” chanteuse. En revanche, c’est une dessinatrice et peintre mondialement reconnue. Elle a juste participé auparavant à l’anti-chœur de 30 membres JUXTAVOICES auteur de l’album Juxtanother Antichoir from Sheffield, opus figurant au catalogue Discus. Donc, pour en revenir à l’album The Sincerity of Light tel qu’en lui-même, il serait facile mais nettement trop rapide de le décrire comme des boucles de guitare composées par MELOCHE, arrangées par ARCHER, rythmées par ROBAIR et vocalisées par HODNETT. Cette impossibilité de résumer cet album d’une manière aussi simpliste tient autant aux musiciens qu’à sa structure. Avec trois musiciens aussi rompus à l’improvisation et une chanteuse plutôt amatrice de pinceaux, seul ne peut être prévisible que l’imprévisible. Dès les premières secondes, nous évoluons dans une atmosphère musicale aussi belle qu’irréelle, ne parcourant une ambiance étrange que pour en explorer une autre encore plus spectrale et magnifique quelques instants plus tard. La longueur dépassant toujours le quart d’heure des trois plages que contient l’album contribue aussi grandement à faire de The Sincerity of Light un océan large et profond d’immensités harmoniques où se plonger dans des sonorités délicates, émouvantes et inconnues. Si les voyage dans l’étrange, l’inouï et la beauté vous tentent, ne ratez surtout pas cette triple odyssée-là. Elle est menée de mains d’experts absolus en la matière ! – Frédéric Gerchambeau – RYTHMES CROISSES

Ovšem právě Archer si nedal ujít příležitost, aby opět i sám nepřekvapil něčím nečekaným. Album The Sincerity of Light, na kterém s postupným podílem participovali kytarista a elektronik Chris Meloche, perkusista a elektronik Gino Robair a vokalistka Lyn Hodnett a kterému průběžně Martin Archer (dechové a klávesové nástroje plus elektronika) dodával konečnou (doaranžovávanou) podobu, je skládanková, vypuzzleovaná záležitost. Je to tajfunově podšitý úplet, prokombinovaný a dodetailovaný do tří částí, vzájemně proposílaných a prokombinovaných ze statických i aktivních elementů. Archer zrekapituloval celé jeho utváření s historickou přesností včetně jednotlivých detailů a návazností; nám musí stačit, že jde o vzájemný konglomerát hudebních materiálů a technik, jehož výsledek, vzniklý posléze ze složitých machinací, bude prý předveden i naživo. Každopádně první část je vyreptávána s briskním nahromaďováním a s třeskutostními vrypy sesouvána do řezavostního drsnění. Všechno je zde náběhově vyrůzňované, promlátivě vyrumplovávané a samohybně výhybkové. Nová a nová vyjíždivost tohoto elaborátu je porozbíjená, plná průsmyků a výmyků; tato prodrnčovaná explozívnost se ani na mžik nezastaví, je to zapeklostně eruptivní závraťování, které nás zavaluje neustále pozměňovaným hlučením, skučením, ječením, třeštěním, zurčením, které až posléze (Part I čítá téměř osmnáct minut) zmatoví do probublávavého odrobustňování, náhalného závitnění, tušivého čepýření a osamělostního zabrouzdání. Obdobnost jednotlivých částí je naráně, přesto druhá část (prodychtěná zejména seskupením Archerových altek) se mi jeví jasnozřivější, rozbřeskovaně prozvoňovaná a vířivěji vytemperovávaná, její rozpumpovávání je protřepávaně zapikolovávané, propráskané, až vypráskané, vlastně spíše promrskutované, rozdivněné do minimalistické peřejovosti, třískovost se tu střetává s cinkavou zasklenkovaností, vyhřmívaná rozparáděnost se splašnou srážkovostí. Ustavičné rozvíjení a zapadání, protežované protahování, měnlivě spádné i nekonečně variované, a přitom stáleznovuzrozované rozruš(n)ění činí z těchto následných šestnácti minut nepřeberný anti-galimatyáš. Třetí část (šestnáctiminutová)se záhřmotně vykvedlává, je vyhmatávavě prohráběná, plná námluvností, truců, shybů, rolování, prochvívání a kolesňování, je to rozlicované výtržnictví, rozhojňované a rozpřevracované až do zádušniva a vymítava. Najdeme tu v kupodivné svornosti závěsně škeřivé střečkování, vyklíčené vykličkování, truchlé žabovřesknění, výličné odbojnění či smečkové zálisnění, vše obklopeno shlukovanou probíjivostí, a ani se nepodivíme, když vše zabrzdí v jednotónové konečnosti. Tedy další tvář mnohotvárného Martina Archera, který se jen málokdy. – ZDENEK SLABY, HISVOICE

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