“L’ocelle Mare” is Thomas Bonvalet surrounded by objects wrapped in embroidered napkins, a bell, a metronome, microphones taped to a board, all cuddled up to a banjo and it to him.
The point of all this stuff is not to create some kind of stage set or image. It all – loudspeakers included – was found in a suitcase in a cabin in the middle of the woods, where Bonvalet spent four years living a lonely, secluded life without electricity, his only instruments the noises that the wind brought in through an empty window frame and through gaps in the walls, with no other ears to hear him but his. When he touched his banjo to play the first note, he jumped, and so the audience jumped in turn; his movements were all so random and convulsive. But the next note changed everything – his music was so real, so physical, and he threw such a large mass of collected, spasmodic, intertwined, ruptured, drowned, revived, bodily, jingling, stringed energy and who-knows-what-else in our faces that I still haven’t quite figured what to do with it all.