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VERSATILE

Etienne Jaumet

8 Regards Obliques

    In a time when Jazz music is entering a contemporary renaissance and exciting the ears and minds of new audiences, Zombie Zombie's Étienne Jaumet offers us his unique, idiosyncratic take on the sound with the sprawling “8 Regards Obliques”, his 3rd solo album with the Versatile label.

    Jazz requires a certain freedom of technique, interpretation and improvisation that already matches Jaumet’s own production style and sonic aesthetic as well as his playful approach towards music. The eight pieces that make up the new LP were very quickly recorded; Jaumet let himself be carried away by the atmosphere without focusing too much on fine details or the laborious aspects of the composition process. The finished article is a spontaneous collection that stands out, a true mirror image of the creative process adopted by the artist. Not surprisingly, spontaneity is one of the characteristics already present in his music, in both his recorded output and his live happenings, where he leaves much room for freedom and improvisation.

    “8 Regards Obliques” was recorded at the Versatile studio in less than 3 weeks with quite a basic set up: TR 808, selected synthesizers, vocals and of course the saxophone, which is a constant presence also in his previous albums. For the mix Etienne has again appealed to the maestro I:Cube, a central figure of the Versatile story and a prdigious engineer and artist in his own right. He immediately understood that it was necessary to keep the spontaneous side alive and to not over-produce the pieces or over-edit them, being constantly mindful to retain the power in the sound and in the frequencies. From Sun Ra with “Nuclear war”, Miles Davis in “Shhh / Peaceful” or “Theme from a symphony” by Ornette Coleman to “Caravan” (already quoted by many jazzmen), Etienne enjoyed revisiting classic masterpieces and paying tribute to his inspirations. He allowed himself only one personal and original composition, “Ma révélation mystique”.


    Winning this week's Ronseal award, Versatile display their famed flexibility this week, taking a step back from the dancefloor to give us a soft focus pop masterpiece from Mr Antoine Kogut. The result of nine months composition, recording and production "Sphere Of Existence" is a lot like the "Sexuality" follow up Sebastien Tellier never quite made. Laidback, sensual and dripping with a sleazy sophistication, each of the seven songs on offer buys you a drink, throws an arm round your waist and leads you to the balcony, copping the odd feel on the way. Updating, appropriating and celebrating his inspirations, Antoine plays with the jazz fusion of Soft Machine, the krautrock of the wizards of Can, the irresistible languor of Italian crooners (Toto Cutugno and Lucio Battisti in the lead) as the soundtracks, so sensual, composed by Pino Donnagio for Brian de Palma. But rather than rehashing familiar themes into an informed but uninspired set of 'tracks', Antoine instead offers up 'songs', shining bright with glorious melodies and the deep croon of his voice. Unexpectedly excellent, this could be a strong contender for the year's best Balearic record. 

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: Antoine Kogut strolls across the sand to deliver seven songs of Balearic pop perfection. Calm and coastal, smooth and seductive, "Sphere Of Existence" trades dating tips with Sebastien Tellier's "Sexuality" before ultimately choosing to play it a little cooler, casually heading to the upper echelons of my end of year chart in the process.

    'It was Vladimir Ivkovic who introduced me to the world of Rex Ilusivii. A world where the spirit of a genius holds sway. I remember spending an entire night at Vladimir's house in Germany, listening to all those recovered pieces, and feeling like I had entered another space-time.

    Mitar tragically left us, one November night in 1999 in Brazil, leaving behind an extensive body of work consisting of more than 500 pieces, for the most part never released. Being submerged in such a unique universe, so singular, brought me happiness. It also filled me with hope, because I tell myself that today there must be many other outstanding musicians who produce in the shadow of the traditional circuit, just for the pleasure of making music.

    Listening to the music of Mitar Subotić makes you part of his world. He did not stop producing from 1983 to 1999, in different styles, but with an instantly recognizable touch. His music also marries the evolution of recording techniques with new instruments that have appeared over this time, from the TR808 to the digital samplers. It took me more than two years to select the music for this record, as each time I listened to the material it revealed other details and other possibilities.

    I am extremely happy and honored to present this record to you, in which I try to do justice to the different, versatile facets of Suba.' - I:Cube.


    Versatile come in hot on a remix tip here, serving the stems of Zombie Zombie LP cut "Hippocampe" to Dusseldorf drum king Jan Schulte and French house head Gilb'R. Adopting his Wolf Müller alias, Jan delivers two different mixes of the kosmische original, both predictably heavy on the percussion. On the A1, Jan's regular remix turns out Can-style drumming, a hefty B-boy vibe, and all manner of wiggy synth fx. Somewhere under all the lysergic goo there appear to be samples of Sylvia Striplin's " You Can't Turn Me Away", alongside a ring modulated sequence and the odd blast of garbled melody - heady stuff. On the B-side, Schulte's "Healthy Mix" hits us with a less intense breakbeat, allowing the mind expanding JMJ  style synth refrain to take centre stage. Pulsating sequences wrap their way around Jan's favoured jews harp and suddenly we're at a strangely crusty rave somewhere in the outer reaches of the galaxy. Never one to be bettered, Versatile boss Gilb'R ties the game with the minimalistic "Triangle Dub", a serious blend of subwise frequencies and sonar bleeps which gradually morphs into a ketty voyage into head-shredding sound design.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Matt says: More trypatmine-infused shamanic business from two market leaders of wacked out lysergia.

    It's already been 5 years since the last Zombie Zombie album "Rituels d’un Nouveau Monde", after which the group explored other territories by signing 2 film scores, namely "Loubia Hamra" by Narimane Mari and "Irréprochable" by Sébastien Marnier, as well as creating the music accompanying a contemporary circus show called 'Slow Futur' created by Martin Palisse and Elsa Guérin. Wouldn't these beautiful parentheses make you want to return to the sources? After 10 years at Versatile Records, 2017 also marks the decade anniversary of the release of their first album 'A Land for Renegades' in 2007. "Livity" - Zombie Zombie's latest opus seems to plunge us deep into science fiction, with a cover designed by the mythic cartoonist Philippe Druillet, who is also the founder of the cult Métal Hurlant comic series. The title of the album is somewhat misleading, as one could mistakenly think of a certain dub record made at the famous Island Records Compass Point studio in the Bahamas. For the uninitiated 'Livity' or 'Life force' is actually a Rastafarian spiritual concept based on the idea that an energy exists within, and flows through, all people and all living things. The record was recorded last winter in Paris, in a very short time frame. 7 tracks played live in 7 days, by Etienne Jaumet (synthesizers / rhythm box / metallophone / sax), Cosmic Neman (drums / vocals / sound effects), and Dr. Schonberg (percussion / electronics / trumpet), recorded at the Red Bull Studios by Thibaut Javoy and Jerome Caron, 2 very competent engineers. To keep it in the family, the album was then mixed by another member of the Versatile stable, the mysterious and legendary DJ/producer I:Cube, done in the label's Victor Studio.
    On this album the principles that are dear to the group rest being respected, still as far away as always from the standards of 'radio play', A living kind of music, composed of long instrumental moments recorded with analog synthesizers and drum machines, accompanied by drums and percussion. But I:Cube's touch may bring the unique energy that one may find at Zombie Zombie's concerts; on certain cuts like title track 'Livity' that the group recorded in Laos, a wild combination of 808 kick drums and bewitching jungle sounds that sound quite unlike anything else out there, and especially on 'Hippocampe', which gives the impression of hearing an old school hip hop rhythm with the power of a metal band who have replaced their guitars with an army of synthesizers: we recommend you listen to this particular track in a convertible while speeding down the highway.
    As with all of Zombie Zombie's music the cinematic component is still strong, on titles like 'Ils existent..' 'Acera' which was originally composed for ciné-concerts accompanying the films of Jean Painlevé et Maurice Pialat. The energy of the beginning is still very present, as is - of course - the kraut inspiration. But it's also an album that takes new directions and sonic risks, like on “Looose”, which brings to mind the Art Ensemble of Chicago, or the groove of James Chance in New York in the early 1980's, featuring the free sax solos of Etienne Jaumet and Dr. Schonberg on the trumpet. The group also offers some slower and calmer titles, like 'Heavy Meditation' as well as exploring more experimental tracks in the line of French 70's groups such as Lard Free or Richard Pinhas, for example on the bonus track 'Black Moon'.
    Please - Take your time, and enjoy listening!

    I discovered Benoit B through his own label - Banlieue records. He’s part of a new breed of young French producers who make music without any hang-ups and that are inspired by the entire history of house and techno and everything in-between. I liked the combination of club beats with a deep, super melodic approach. The 6 tracks featured here almost make up an entire album that reflects Benoit’s skills and sense of production. Everything is here - from ambient experiments to heavyweight club tracks and beyond; all executed with genuine excitement and character. Here, bear witness to the new sound of France (even though he lives in Berlin!).

    A few months ago France synth obsessives Zombie Zombie put out a four track LP originally composed to score a juggling related performance art piece (bloody Frenchies eh?). To the surprise of our Zombies, "Slow Futur" sold out in a matter of days, so they decided to give it a longer lease of life via this red hot remix disc. Opening the set in total darkness is Piccadilly favourite, Kriedler mainstay and Salon Des Amateurs co-founder Tolouse Low Trax. The Dusseldorf man follows up killer releases on Themes For Great Cities and Antinote with a slowly unfolding piece of machine voodoo. Weaving black magic through bleeping keys, African rhythms and industrial toughness, Detlef does his thing, locking us into a hypnotic, glue-sniffing groove from start to finish. Over the other side, I:Cube lends "Hyperspace" a lilting dub flavour via thick bass notes, system twisting fx and lush soundscapes. Fresher than a cool summer evening, this dubby synth redux should play very nicely with anything from the Peaking Lights corner of your collection. Lastly, the legendary Gilb'r provides a percussive reprise, retaining some of that wall shaking dub bass, but adding a whole load of polyrhythmia for a humid, tropical delight.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: Three production heavyweights step up on a remix tip here, offering very different flips of Zombie Zombie's driving "Hyperspace". Tolouse Low Trax slows things right down for a mindbending exercise in machine voodoo, I:Cube gets deeply dubby and Gilb'r goes round the globe with a totally tropical take on matters.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    12" Info: *one copy found!**


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