Posts Tagged ‘angil


In conversation with Mickaël Mottet of Angil & Hiddntracks : :

A few months ago I stumbled upon this lovely album by “Angil and Hiddntracks” called Oulipo Saliva. The album was put together (one gets the sense it was built instead of recorded) under a great deal of constraint—avoiding the use of the letter “e,” avoiding the musical key of E, a restriction to mostly woodwind instrumentation excepting, for instance, the use of an old untuned piano.

I would certainly recommend it, as it’s a carefully crafted piece at every level. If you are interested in hearing more samples, here is their myspace page.

With experiments like this, results can be either gimmicky or a wonderful surprise. They are, in this case, pretty dazzling. I wrote a small piece about it and Mickaël must have had a google alert set up for his name, because he dropped me a message and then graciously agreed to have an email conversation with me about his music.

Here’s the text: I think you’ll find that Mickaël is an uncommonly sharp, crafty, and friendly musician. I’ve let him know that I will be posting this here, and that you may be commenting on it. So, if you have anything to say, make sure to say it

Continue reading ‘In conversation with Mickaël Mottet of Angil & Hiddntracks : :’


A dispatch for our annals on constraint. On A VOIDing “E”.

This is a truly fascinating bit of music: Angil and Hiddntracks, during a post-gig discussion, thought about writing a bunch of songs for almost only woodwinds for want of focusing on that woodwind sound, also stipulating that all songs should avoid a grouping of chords particularly difficult for alto saxophonists to play. Angil runs with this–going two jumps out (changing (for this album only?) to “Angil,” and his supporting band to “Hiddn Tracks”), and shying from (mostly, ignoring his (frankly, sad) slipping on six or so grammatically-hard-to-avoid words) lyrics in violation of his organizing standards. So, this fun, this passing thought, quickly turns into a spry OuLiPo constraint, involving gaming both musical and linguistic. Lastly, as if this wouldn’t satisfy his compulsion to play, Angil bought a piano from a closing clothing shop (a liquidation) and, thinking that tuning it would probably ruin his fun, built all his songs on and around this bizarro-carnival thing (though his piano is commonly (and annoyingly) said to ring out with a “Tim Burton” sound), his band following suit, strictly and assiduously avoiding all violations.

So, in summary: a skillful dodging of constraint violations both musically and lyrically. Additional constraint and difficulty coming with his thrift shop bizarro-piano. A fascinating album, AND, might I add, a joy to own. Dazzling. A charming work of art with a sound of its own. Music for sad birds, an aviary symphony.
Worth looking into, I would say.
Angil and Hiddntracks – Oulipo Saliva

July 2020