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Java Street Bagatelles (2006)

by James Beaudreau

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One 01:57
Two 01:38
Three 00:57
Four 02:02
Five 01:14
Six 02:04
Seven 01:21
Eight 01:12
Nine 01:14
Ten 02:36
Eleven 02:15
Twelve 01:34
Thirteen 01:43
Fourteen 02:00
Fifteen 02:03
Sixteen 01:58
Seventeen 02:43
Eighteen 01:20
Nineteen 01:28
Twenty 02:29
Twenty One 03:07
Twenty Two 00:58
Twenty Three 01:46
Twenty Four 01:27


There's no adequate single tag in Bandcamp for this music. The three albums* are DIY folk art, album-length compositional statements; mosaics made of fractured pieces of classical etudes, Fahey-esque compositional folk, blues, rock, jazz, field recordings, jazz, dub, and a tape-splice aesthetic along the lines of Teo Macero and Hoger Czukay.

Sounding at times like the work of Derek Bailey, the connection is only superficial -- Bailey strove for a new language of idiom-free music, whereas this music is a reconfiguration and celebration of multiple idioms.

A closer comparison is the music of Captain Beefheart though that music reconfigures fewer idioms than these albums do.

"These improvisations are played in an idiosyncratic style, incorporating terse, epigrammatic phrases - which can't help but evoke the spectre of Derek Bailey - and more lyrical folky stylings. Like Hans Reichel's pieces, they pivot in unusual places, so that "Hare" ["Four"], for instance, takes on a structural slipperiness. The music is enigmatic, to say the least. Beaudreau often chases a mood that recedes into the distance just as he starts to capture it, as on the brief "The Unexpected Guest" ["Seven"], where, fittingly, the whole piece has the feel of an announcement." - Mike Barnes (WIRE 270, August 2006)

"A collection of 24 brief, homespun instrumental acoustic & electric guitar improvisations, with elements of folk, the knottiness of The Old Bailey, and nice occasional touches of Brazilian rhythmic weightlessness. There's a reflective, almost questing tone to many of these pieces; one gets the impression that as he's playing, Beaudreau isn't necessarily thinking about the music as object, per se, but instead on outside elements of a personal nature which in turn drive the music TOWARD something - a frame of mind, a place once visited, a fading memory, or simply a conclusion." - Mikey IQ Jones (Downtown Music Gallery, May 2006)

"Beaudreau shows an impressive inventiveness, with beautifully shaped notes and interesting chordal choices. The tunes are wonderfully lyrical, but moments of dissonance and unexpected endings keep the listener on their toes. The brief, haiku-like titles - “Walnut Star” ["Eighteen"], “Plum” ["Five"], “Maple Moon” ["Thirteen"] - point to the music’s delicious ephemeral quality. Although each song is unique, the gentle, lace-like melodies weave into a cohesive whole. Beaudreau plays with a refined delicacy that creates its own unique world. There’s no frills or pretense in this music, but that doesn’t mean it’s not rich." - Flo Wetzel (All About Jazz, October 2006)

"There is a rustling and bustling of noises in the air, cars driving by, people talking, doors being slammed and birds chirping. Some of these sounds can be heard on Java St. Bagatelles, not as a kind of post-production gag, but as the natural backdrop to these open-window sessions. And in this intense scenery, Beaudreau allows all of these elements to flow through him and to express themselves in his music. These are short pieces, some of them barely a minute long and they are full of an incredible freshness, richness and 'realness,' of a directness and frankness which comes to you like a sympathetic stranger. - Tobias Fischer (Tokafi, September 2006)

"I would suppose that for James Beaudreau, as for Brecht, the intention is to focus the audience’s critical attention on the work, to make them aware of the act of listening, rather than taking for granted the automatic processes by which certain sounds reference certain socially constituted assumptions. Where he and Brecht part company, to my mind, is in Brecht’s intention to privilege an intellectual response over an emotional one. While Beaudreau encourages us to listen closely, with conscious attention, to listen critically to the entirety of the recorded sound, the end point of that process is still a musical meaning, which in my view can never be wholly, or even predominantly intellectual." - Oliver Arditi

"There is an odd charm at work here where different themes overlap, connect and/or intersect. Each piece present a different theme, idea or a handful of related fragments that somehow fit together just right. Some of these fragments are elegant and some are slightly twisted, yet they all seem related to one another. What I dig most about this is the occasionally delicate sections that are both soothing and a bit perplexing at the same time. A few of these tracks have that Frith-like skewered pop sound that was apparent on "Gravity" or "Speechless". You never know where some of these pieces will end up, yet with some time & perspective, they all fit into a certain magical place." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

* Three albums: Java Street Bagatelles (2006), Fresh Twigs (2008), Astral Law (2011)


released May 23, 2006

James Beaudreau: solo acoustic and electric guitar, recording, editing, mixing.




James Beaudreau New York, New York

Guitarist, recordist, songwriter and composer in NYC. Releasing music on Workbench Recordings since 2006. Former Billy Nayer Show guitarist. Latest project is Bell Helium.

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