Boomkat Product Review:
"Akchoté is best known as an improvising guitarist heard solo or in memorable collaborations with Derek Bailey, Sam Rivers, Lol Coxhill, Fred Frith, Evan Parker, Han Bennink and many others. He has also contributed his distinctive talent to recordings by, among others, Luc Ferrari, David Grubbs, JG Thirlwell and Jean-François Pauvros. In recent years Akchoté has immersed himself in the study of medieval and Renaissance music, resulting in a mind-bogglingly prolific series of digital releases of the complete works of Carlo Gesualdo and Guillaume de Machaut, as well as arrangements for guitar of works by Monteverdi, Palestrina and Orlando di Lasso. By all means lend an ear to Noël’s strange and marvellously obsessive project - these hours and hours of home recordings of overdubbed guitars playing polyphonic music. 'Gesualdo: Madrigals For Five Guitars’, by contrast, shows what happens when Akchoté puts together a band of five guitarists to tackle this music in a live setting. Gesualdo’s madrigals are scored for five voices and Akchoté was intrigued to discover that the pitch range of the Fifth Book of Madrigals exactly matches the range of the Renaissance lute - an instrument that Gesualdo himself played. Under Akchoté’s direction, the five equal voices of these madrigals are transformed into five equal electric guitars in what in theory would seem a crazily heterogeneous ensemble, featuring Julien Desprez (Acapulco), David Grubbs (Gastr del Sol, Belfi / Grubbs / Pilia), Adam Levy (Norah Jones, Tracy Chapman) and Doug Wamble (Wynton Marsalis, Cassandra Wilson) and yet ‘Gesualdo: Madrigals For Five Guitars’ is nothing if not a coherent massing of five otherwise distinctive approaches to the guitar, just as Akchoté envisioned it. ‘Gesualdo: Madrigals For Five Guitars’ is suffused with the extraordinary ambience of the library at the 13th Century Abbaye de Royaumont, where these spontaneous, resolutely alive performances of selections from Gesualdo’s Fifth Book were documented. The group kicks up its heels at the end of the day to end on the high note of Guillaume de Machaut’s ‘De Fortune me doy pleindre’, a little ditty dreamed up almost four centuries prior to the Gesualdo pieces."