Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Jacques Berrocal, MUSIQ MUSIK

Futura, 1973; reissued by Fractal; out of print

4 tracks, 30:03

This album possibly holds the record for amount of instruments used being in disproportion to the amount of musicians (or it at least ties with a few). The trio of Berrocal (who later shortened his first name to Jac), Dominique Coster, and Roger Ferlet play no less than twenty separate instruments, ranging from common ones such as flutes and drums to the exotic shenai and "horn of Ramadan", all the way to balloons, ropes and explosives! The sounds contained on this short-but-perfect album are divided into composed pieces and improvised ones. Good luck differentiating between the two! The shorter pieces are the most intense, with screaming horns and furious percussion. Occasional human voices come in, always wordless. The explosives can be clearly heard, as can the balloons. It's free improv of a very high octane sort, with all players set on "stun". Then there's album closer "Cryptea", a ten-minute comedown after the preceding intensity. It's still not easy listening, but it's much calmer than what came before it. Not a single of these thirty minutes is wasted, and repeat listens only deepen the mysteries contained within. Any serious fan of improvisational and experimental music needs this in their collection. Unfortunately the reissue is already out of print and extremely hard to find, but make the effort anyway.

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