The Artificial Intelligence of Jean-Luc Guionnet


Sunik Kim’s Zoom-conducted interview with French improviser Jean-Luc Guionnet for the Tone Glow blog is close to amateur. But it does get across how the musician who studied musique concrète and artificial intelligence applies those concepts to his solo saxophone playing and improvisations on church organ. Discussing his newer conceptions for spoken words and for the large ONCIEM orchestra, directed by his Hubbub associate pianist Frédéric Blondy, his idea is to transform electronic concepts to acoustic ones and to reach an arbitrary sonic position. Although he’s concerned with philosophy and politics, Guionnet states he dislikes music that is subservient to its message, political or personal. Instead he’d like to work with the capabilities of various microscopes and in the studio creating artificial electronic music. While the Q+A sometimes gets bogged down in overlong abstract theorizing, Guionnet notes he still has a connection with Jazz – and an admiration for American alto saxophonist Arthur Blythe – and these influences often come out, especially when playing saxophone with someone with similar interests like Australian percussionist Will Guthrie.