Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pataphonie, PATAPHONIE

Pôle, 1975; out of print

2 tracks, 41:12

Pôle Records, in addition to the excellent LPs by Pôle the collective, released several intriguingly unique albums. The debut LP by Pataphonie is one of the best known, as well as being one of the best releases on Pôle. Technically consisting of live recordings from 1972 to 1975 (some sources say 1976, but since the album was released in 1975, this is HIGHLY doubtful), the two side-long pieces come across more as sound collages than a concert. Guitarist André Viaud, percussionist Gilles Rousseau, bassist Pierre Demouron, and keyboardist Bernard Audureau were essentially a prog-rock outfit, and that certainly does show in the music. But these live bits of sound are given a Can treatment, seamlessly meshed into long dronescapes and improvisational-sounding maelstroms. Long keyboard drones give way to percussive storms or distorted guitar freakouts. At times reminiscent of TAGO MAGO's "Aumgn" or Flying Saucer Attack's drastic Tele:Funken remix/remake, Pataphonie's debut works more as an avant-garde album than a prog one. The band probably wasn't too thrilled with the results, considering that their LE MATIN BLANC album sounds not a jot like this, but the self-titled debut is the better of the two due to its experimental nature.
Note: It may just be me, but this cover is extraordinarily similar to the covers of both Ivan T. Sanderson's "THINGS" (an excellent book, by the way!) and AMP's ASTRALMOONBEAMPROJECTIONS. While I'm sure the Sanderson comparison is coincidental, despite it coming out ten years before PATAPHONIE, could the AMP art be a sly nod?

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