The Toulouse based duo Nibul proves that France is still producing the most challenging underground transcendentalism and minimalism up to date. With saxophone and percussion they create tribal, open jams in which they take holy tradition of minimalism from the city to the countryside, the lakes and the mountains. We suspect there must be something channeling in artisanal cheese and wine.

— by Niels Latomme

NL: Hey Bertrand, what does your bandname means, and why did you choose it?

Bertrand Fraysse: Nibul means cloud in old french language Occitan. I found it while reading a nice book about this language, it directly was an important word for me and it naturally became the name for our duo.

NL: You’re living in Toulouse, I wondered how the scene is over there?

BF: The underground scene in Toulouse, to me, is mostly related to Les Pavillons Sauvages. A place that exists for more than 10 years and programmed all kinds of extreme music. I was able to meet and play with a lot of different musicians. There’s a guy called Heddy Boubaker who organised concerts at his house, La Maison Peinte, mostly free improvisation. A had great moments over there, I met and played with many musicians from this scene too. We come from Villefranche de Rouergue in the country-side, where I spent some great time with Igor, an important figure of experimental stuff in this town. Over there is a nice place for extreme music near too, where I discovered grind-core. Some art-brut musicians too, like Papillons and François Bessac…

The saxophonist Florian Nastorg has been an important figure too. I know him for years, and we play as a trio called PIAK.

NL: I read that you’d like to bring people together with your music. Are you looking for a new way of ritualism to transcend individual isolation? Do you think that the contemporary way of communicating makes that people don’t connect to each other

BF: Yes, maybe the coldness of rationalism and individualism and its partial fail may lead people toward warmness and relate to feelings. The development of loneliness in our society makes that finding ways to escape normality of relations towards other people, and to the world seem important. Transcendentalism is somehow a way to achieve this. By distorting our physical senses to transform our relation to space and time, and helping each other to relate to everything… Something like that.

NL: What’s up for nibul, any releases planned, new projects?

BL: Yes, we recorded the show in gent, and plan to release it, but don’t know exactly how. Maybe with a record label, or maybe by ourselves for this one. We keep on meeting and playing fairly regularly to enjoy and expand our vocabulary.

NL: What’s your daily live like?

BL: I’ll speak for myself. I don’t sell my time to anyone on a daily basis, so I have time to play music, develop music software, taking pictures, walk around, meeting friends. I don’t make any separation between all these activities, it’s all part of the same journey.

NL: Do you like to hike in the mountains? 

BL: Yes, I love hiking in the mountains, unfortunately I don’t do it often enough. There are beautiful mountains near Toulouse, in Ariège, and I have some wonderful memories there, especially one with Julien. We played with Nibul and had 2 days off, in between two concerts. We decided to go to the mountains, to a point that I think it was 2500 m high. We spent the night on top, in one of the little houses for the shepherds. I did not bring a blanket, so it was awfully cold, and I was unabe to sleep. The night felt very very long, and in the morning, it was totally cloudy but in 15 minutes, it all cleared out. Everything was bright and clear, with the 180° view high on the mountains, the little water bubbles on the grass because of the dew, some little bit of snow on the top, and then, very slow, came the mist back from the valley. It was beautiful.

I really like that every now and then everything change in the mountains. If you walk 15 minutes and it seems your are in a totally different place, so imagine what happens if you walk 3 hours… It makes me want to go in the mountains !

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