easy . exotica . library music . soundtracks


Genre pick of the week Cover of Electrode by Martial Solal Joue Michel Magne.

Martial Solal Joue Michel Magne


Bringing together two of Finders Keepers leading artists, longtime critical favourites and out-and-out pioneers of the French conceptual rock scene that we at FK HQ often refer to as the No-No years, Cacophonic are proud to present this rare collaboration between Jean-Claude Vannier and Michel Magne along with pianist Martial Solal for the pioneering 'Electrode' album from 1967. As the creators of the albums that launched both our Finders Keepers and Cacophonic labels respectively it is plain to see how this early LP represents a historic keystone in our precious roster. 'Electrode' also documents the first professional job as an album arranger for the young Vannier, working under two of his heroes, at the tender age of twenty four (some five years before he cemented his relationship with Serge Gainsbourg providing the music for the celebrated 'Histoire De Melody Nelson').

Marking the earliest example of Vannier’s evident penchant for ethnic influenced string arrangements (inspired by his early studio work with Algerian musicians) 'Electrode' elaborate introductions drawn comparisons to the orchestral elements in the Don Cherry / Ronald Frangipane score for Jodorowsky’s Holy Mountain - complete with its fervent anti-pop overtones. This one-off patchwork arrangement of brooding cinematic flair, anti-concrete soundscapes and free jazz piano flirtations represents each of these important artists in equal proportions and serves as a direct meeting of Vannier’s 'L’Enfant Assassin Des Mouches' (FKR001) and Magne’s 'Musique Tachiste' (1CACK) with the privileged inclusion of one of France’s most lauded jazz pianists – a mantle shared only, in our opinion, by Francois Tusques.

An essential prototypal release for our expanding Cacophonic label Electrode exposes yet another side of off kilter European free music continuing to prove to the die hard skronkophobiacs that jazz is not a four letter word.

Remember when we were all positive that Black Devil Disco Club was a contemporary producer pretending to be a forgotten king of Euro-disco, we backed the wrong horse. Antoni Maiovvi is not in fact the long lost heir of Italo-disco, but a native Bristolian with an eye-popping synth collection and an electro-disco obsession which borders on fetish. This four tracker on Bordello A Parigi finds the Giallo Disco boss in fine fettle, completely nailing the italo / synth pop crossover with all of those period features we love so dearly. "Trauma" gets you moving with it's staccato electro rhythm, synth vox and outstanding accented vocals. The result is something approaching an Arther Baker remix of Depeche Mode, as commissioned, arranged and mixed to be performed by the house band on a Dutch chat show in 1983. "Sacriledge" follows suit, this time introducing some fuzzy, short circuiting synth riffs to enhance the atmosphere. The EP closes with the zero gravity chug of "An Interface", a track which boasts the most Italo melody and bassline this side of '84. Shades of Rimini in the sunshine and obscure Japanese cd only compilations abound as you drift into the cosmos.

The 12-track longplayer sounds like a magical sound-alchemy made of Chanson, Electro and Dub. Realised with various musicians and producers including Thomas Wydler (drummer in Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds), Nackt (producer for Mute recording artist Apparat), Ben Lauber (producer, synthesizer), Ephrem Lüchinger (piano), Tobias Preisig (violine), Nicolas Rüttimann (guitar), and electropunk pioneer & producer T.Raumschmiere aka Marco Haas! The most exciting stories that happen to us are the ones that life itself seems to write the script to. You just need to put your hands onto them. If there's an expert on this matter, then it is certainly Swiss artist Dieter Meier, who now, at almost 69 years of age, is releasing his first solo album.

Be it performance art, his work with YELLO, or his winery: Dieter Meier dislikes the routine, which we ordinarily call day-to-day-life. To him it's spelled in capital letters: DAY-TO-DAY-LIFE. An instigation! He embraces challenge. Consistently, his solo debut is called "OUT OF CHAOS", a reference to chaos itself; to the possibility that, at least theoretically, everything is achievable anytime. On the other hand: the concept of chaos is probably nothing but a daring hypothesis in itself. Over the course of the last years, Dieter Meier's now ready to be released songs have undergone interesting transformations. One could say: They grew in time - and out of time. Meier has taken them on to his journeys and adventures, in constant change, out of the darkness and into the brightness of the spotlights: It all started on a reading tour accompanying the film "Touch Yello" - when Dieter Meier, inspired by his long term Berlin friend and colleague Marcus Herold, brought along a handful of newly written songs and performed them with Jazz-violinist Tobias Preisig and guitarist Nicolas Rüttimann. Meier, who (apart from two exceptions in London and New York) never performed live with YELLO at all, soon fancied the live situation and went on writing new pieces. Herold called Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds- drummer Thomas Wydler, pianist Ephrem Lüchinger joined up, and shortly after, newer versions of OUT OF CHAOS songs found their way to the stage, such as the well reputed Montreux Festival and the Volksbühne, Berlin.

In summer 2013, Meier eventually found an open minded, experimental producer trio in Berlin: Nackt (Warren Suicide, Apparat Band et al.), Ben Lauber (Apparat Band et al.), and electro pioneer T.Raumschmiere, all of them big fans of Meier's work, teamed up with the first generation Out-Of- Chaos-band at Chez Chérie Studios in Neukölln to arrange, re-arrange, discuss, discard, research, jam and eventually record in a series of sessions which are now an album. What a chaos! OUT OF CHAOS! The result is a grand record starring Dieter Meier, standing at the bar of his life and musing about the rivers of time. Sometimes his songs sound like electro-acoustic Yello tracks ("Lazy Night", "Paradise Game", "Jimmy"), sometimes like a tender ex-lovers-Blues from under the sea ("Loveblind", "Annabelle"), sometimes you’d find a post-punk nerve ("Fat Fly", "Buffoon") or an ode to a befriended artist, who wrestles through life as a night porter (“Night porter”). At any time, "OUT OF CHAOS" sounds like a magical sound-alchemy made of Chanson, Electro, and Dub. And like any other stage Dieter Meier walked onto before, be it as an artist of all genres, be it as the singer/songwriter of OUT OF CHAOS, he remains a discoverer sui generis, who invents himself and a new world.

Released on their own label ESL Music, "Saudade" borrows its title from a Portuguese word meaning “a longing for something or someone that is lost, a contented melancholy, or, simply, the presence of absence.” “Saudade is the essence or feeling of true bossa nova,” explains TC man Eric Hilton, who names “those warm, soulful, melancholic vocals” as one of the elements of bossa nova that’s most alluring to him. Drawing influence from classic Brazilian performers like Antonio Carlos Jobim, Gal Costa, and Luis Bonfá - along with Serge Gainsbourg, Ennio Morricone, and more modern artists like electro-samba pioneer Isabelle Antena - 'Saudade' achieves its delicate yet deeply sensuous sound with the help of more than a dozen guest musicians. With each track sung by one of five female vocalists (including longtime Thievery cohort LouLou Ghelichkhani, newcomer Elin Melgarejo, Nouvelle Vague singer Karina Zeviani, Argentine chanteuse Natalia Clavier, and former Bitter:Sweet singer/songwriter Shana Halligan), the endlessly mesmerizing album also features such guests as UNKLE drummer Michael Lowery, Argentine singer / songwriter Federico Aubele, and master Brazilian percussionist Roberto Santos.

Although Thievery Corporation stay true to traditional bossa nova’s elegant fusion of samba and jazz all throughout Saudade, the album is rich with strange and wonderful flourishes that revel in the duo’s hyper-inventive tendencies. Opening with the dusky “Décollage,” Saudade glides from the smoldering and string-drenched “Quem Me Leva” to the hushed and mysterious “Sola In Citta” (an Italian-sung nod to the legendary soundtracks of Ennio Morricone, featuring Wurlitzer electric piano by Enea Diotaiuti) to the sweetly ethereal “No More Disguise” (a dreamlike piece laced with orchestral strings and bolero rhythms). With the instrumental title track serving as its gently stunning centerpiece, "Saudade" also offers the sultry and spacey “Claridad” (a swaying Latin number propelled by analog organ beats) and the French lullaby of “Le Coeur” (featuring the sublime saxophone work of Frank Mitchell, Jr.). And on the final track “Depth of My Soul,” Halligan delivers a haunting vocal performance that merges with the song’s swirling symphonic soundscape to hypnotic effect.


LP Info: Deluxe vinyl edition in hard paste-on board sleeve.

Back to top