FEATURE: The Yolk Label and Alban Darche L’Orphicube: Perception instantanée

Peter Slavid writes about the record label Yolk, based in Nantes in Western France, and about a recent release:


Yolk is a collective of musicians. It was formed in Nantes around the same time as the F-IRE collective was getting going in London – and the two organisations drew inspiration from each other as well as from earlier efforts including ARFI, ICP and Loose Tubes. Both then provided the impetus for groups such as Loop and more recently Chaos, Efpi and lots of other similar formal and informal groups all over Europe. Arguably the collectives movement has been one of the key drivers in European creative jazz over the past 15 years.

Yolk was started by musicians Alban Darche, Jean-Louis Pommier, and Sebastien Boisseau who were later joined by Daniel Casimir and Matthieu Donarier. All of them were creative musicians with links to many different musical styles. They have always felt strongly about the need to establish contact between different parts of the jazz scene.

There’s no single musical style from Yolk, but I do see a general approach that sometimes blurs the boundaries between composition and improvisation – perhaps more so than we are used to in the UK. Both the albums by Jazzarium and Brass Danse are good examples of this, albeit in very different styles.

But the collective has its share of fierce improvisers as well, and the albums from JASS and Jozef Dumoulin are good examples of that.

A HIGHLIGHT AMONG RECENT RELEASES – Alban Darche L’Orphicube: Perception instantanée

The last year has seen a huge burst of creativity, including several recent new releases well worth exploring., listed below.

My favourite album from this batch, released half way through 2014, comes from Yolk Collective founder Alban Darche and L’Orphicube. Called Perception Instantanée it was inspired by cubist painter Robert Delaunay (1885-1941). Darche has picked up from him a compositional tool for an improvising ensemble. The L’OrphiCube ensemble operates with shifting variable geometry—six permanent musicians maintaining the structural rigidity accompanied by a choice of three voices, each inclined to colour the edifice in its own way.

None of that is really obvious – what you hear is the variety that runs from a playful version of the Paso Doble, tributes to Hermeto Pascoal and Tim Burton, French Chanson, some reggae, a children’s alphabet chant, and much more.

Nantes based Darche himself is a fine composer and saxophonist – leader of a big band Le Gros Cube, and a long-time participant in the Orchestre National de Jazz as well as a committed experimenter with other artforms including dance and the visual arts. The band includes some of France’s most creative improvisers, many of them Yolk regulars.

Its always good to support artist-led organisations, and Yolk is one of the finest examples. This batch of releases shows that the creativity is still going strong, and represents a tremendous display of the quality and variety of modern French jazz.


 * Alban Darche & L’Orphicube / Perception Instantanée

* Jozef Dumoulin & The Red Hill Orchestra / Trust
* Brass Danse Orchestra / La Danse du Souffle
* Wood feat Sebastien Boisseau & Matthieu Donarier
* Jazzarium & Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne /
* Quiet feat Cedric Piromalli, Olivier Themines & Antoine Polin
* Jass feat Alban Darche, Samuel Blaser, Sebastien Boisseau & John Hollenbeck


Categories: miscellaneous

Leave a Reply